In the classic fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack’s magic bean turns his world around. In the case of the Blue Oval, the Figo changed its status from an interesting niche player to a major volumes player. Here’s how the Figo did it for Ford… Does the phrase value-for-money necessarily mean cheap? Or does it mean something entirely different for the discerning Indian car consumer? These two rather basic questions were asked by the Ford product team when it first started penning the lines of what is now an all too familiar shape on the Indian roadscape – the Ford Figo. Over months of painstakingly conducted consumer research done with real people who related their real experiences, Ford India realized that the Indian consumer does not mean “cheap” when he uses the phrase “value-for-money.” Rather, what he really means is how much value he is getting in terms of features, equipment, technology, space and comfort, for a certain amount of money.
A phenomenon that can be summed up in another question, something the Indian consumer almost always asks the car seller – “How much do I get for what I pay?” And this is the very question that Ford answered when it introduced the Figo to the Indian automotive scene in 2010. The Figo is Ford’s first attempt to get into the small car segment, which essentially forms 70 per cent of the Indian automobile market. With the Figo having celebrated its second birthday in March 2012 with over 150,000 happy customers it would be safe to say that Ford scripted a superb success story with the Figo. So what made this not-so-little yet conveniently compact hatchback tick with the Indian buyer?
Even before the arrival of the All-New Global Fiesta, it was the Figo that gave Indians a taste of Ford’s kinetic design philosophy that makes the car look as if it’s in motion even when it is actually standing still. The use of the global kinetic design elements also helps the Figo’s exterior styling harmonize the car with other models in the Ford global lineup. The tri-plane front end elements like the split line on the bonnet line up well with the top of the headlamps and combine well to give the car a sporty and aggressive stance. The front fenders with muscular wheel arches come with side turn indicators that blend into the starting point of the comet tail side treatment that goes through both the doors and into the quarter panel. From the rear, the Figo continues with its kinetic design. The rear tailgate with the subtle hint of a spoiler gives the car a dynamic and muscular look.
On the inside too, the Figo is a design marvel. For its compact hatchback proportions, which will make it easy to drive and easy to park in the city, the Figo boasts a lot of space for passengers. Five adults can sit very comfortably without any squeeze at all. It’s also got a big 284 litre boot for all the occupants’ luggage. In fact, the Figo boasts 80 extra litres of boot space over the market leader in that segment, the Maruti Suzuki Swift. For the tech-savvy man on the move, the Figo is also equipped with class leading technology. So you have the benefit of a USB compatible stereo system that also offers the benefit of hands free telephony via its Bluetooth function, which allows the driver to pair his phone with the music system.
Thanks to this Bluetooth feature the driver can access his full phone book, hold calls, swap calls, mute calls and even stream audio from his mobile phone. This not only makes the Figo a Smart car to own but also a Safe car to drive since it means that the driver never has to fiddle with his phone while on the move. In addition, the Figo also gets first in segment features such as lane change indicator, rapid deceleration warning alongside intelligent features like distance to empty reading and 6-speed smart wipers. Under the bonnet the Figo gets a choice between two engines – the highly efficient 1.4 litre TDCi Duratorq common rail diesel engine and the 1.2 litre Duratec petrol engine. While the diesel engine delivers 69 PS of power and 160 Nm of torque, the petrol engine offers 71 PS and 102 Nm of torque.
In both cases there is more than sufficient power for any kind of driving, be it inside the city or cruising on highways. Both engines are mated to slick shifting short throw 5-speed gearboxes that are a joy to use and make driving a truly pleasurable experience. On the move, the Figo’s classic Ford DNA is instantly evident, courtesy its superior ride quality and its enhanced dynamic abilities. On twisty roads the steering feel and response is top class. It actually wants you to drive and enjoy your stint at the steering. The suspension is tuned such that the Figo aces in the handling department displaying minimal pitch or body roll as you drive at some pace around bends. But at the same time Ford has managed to keep things pliant enough for occupants to be isolated from the shocks and jars of the road beneath. Finally, with the Figo you can’t go wrong. It more than lives up to its promise of “more for less” to the Indian buyer on the lookout for “value-for-money.”