Ford Figo Aspire Expert Review

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Introduction

Ford Figo Aspire
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Following up on the success of the EcoSport, Ford has decided to take a stab at the fast-moving compact sedan segment with the Figo Aspire. While it borrows its name from the old Figo hatchback which was a dream for those who love to drive, make no mistake, this is an India-specific model. It’s been designed to match the needs of efficiency, affordability, features and looks. It brings a lot of segment firsts and offers a lot for a variety of customers.

Pros
  • Safety - dual airbags standard, 6 airbags on the top-spec.
  • 100PS diesel engine is frugal as well as fun to drive.
  • Styling – very well designed for a sub-4 metre sedan.
Cons
  • Interior quality could have been better.
  • Automatic not offered in the top-spec variant, thus misses out on some good-to-have features.
  • Petrol motor lacks punch. Weak highway performance.

Stand Out Features

  • 6 airbags is a segment benchmark. Not offered in some cars from price segments above.

    6 airbags is a segment benchmark. Not offered in some cars from price segments above.

  • Ford MyKey: Programmable second key to set a speed limit; volume limit. Unique to the Aspire in its segment. Useful when you want to hand the car over to someone who’s just learnt how to drive.

    Ford MyKey: Programmable second key to set a speed limit; volume limit. Unique to the Aspire in its segment. Useful when you want to hand the car over to someone who’s just learnt how to drive.

CarDekho Verdict

The Ford Figo Aspire makes for a nice city commuter in its petrol guise and a great all-rounder in its diesel avatar. There are certain inconsistencies in quality both on the inside and out; but it isn’t a deal breaker in any manner. It’s a rare compact sedan that’s easy on the eyes and while it’s not a traditional Ford in terms of handling, it should be easy on the pocket in the real world too.

"Overall, the Figo offers good driveability, a long list of features, a good set of USPs and in many ways, undercuts cars that cost a lot more."

The petrol engines are refined and will lap up the city commutes with ease. If ‘fun to drive’ is a must-have on your checklist for the next car, the diesel is the one for you. Overall, the Figo offers good driveability, a long list of features, a good set of USPs and in many ways, undercuts cars that cost a lot more.

Exterior

Awkward or out of proportion – terms you’d usually use to describe a compact sedan, but that’s not the case with the Figo Aspire. The front gets large swept-back headlamps and a gaping grille that might remind you of certain Aston Martins. The foglamps are tucked away on the lower half of the bumper, but they look a size smaller than what would have suited the car. However, this is arguably the best looking car in its segment.

The side sees a distinct shoulder line running across the length of the car and a large window area. The window line swoops up as it passes the rear door and ends at the stubby boot. The only aspect that lets the design of the car down, has to be the puny 14-inch alloy wheels. The car could’ve definitely done with a bigger set of wheels.

A large chrome strip highlights the rear. It’s a bit flashy for our liking, but isn’t excessive. The reverse lamps and rear fog lights are integrated into the tail-light assembly itself which ends up freeing a lot of space on the rear end. That said, the rear end does appear a bit bulky and though there is a black section to cut the bulk, integrated reflectors would slim it down further.

Dimension wise, the Figo Aspire has the largest wheelbase in its class. The ground clearance stands at a healthy 174mm.

Exterior Comparison

Ford Aspire Maruti Swift Dzire Tata Zest Honda Amaze
Length (mm) 3995 3995 3995 3990
Width (mm) 1695 1735 1706 1680
Height (mm) 1525 1515 1570 1505
Ground Clearance (mm) 174 163 165 165
Wheel Base (mm) 2491 2450 2470 2405
Kerb Weight (kg) 1023-1048 955Kg 1155 1065

Boot Space Comparison

Ford Aspire Tata Zest Honda Amaze
Volume 359-litres 390-litres 400-litres

Interior

Amongst the first things you notice is how the low the car is when you get into the driver’s seat. Elderly folks will most definitely have a problem getting used to the low slung seating of the Figo Aspire. The interior is a very familiar place to be, especially if you’ve been in the EcoSport or Fiesta.

The Figo Aspire goes with a traditional beige-black interior palette. There’s a piano black surround on the centre console and some chrome around the AC vents to add a premium touch. The seats are upholstered in leather, but the quality could have been better.

The front seats are a nice place to be and they’re quite supportive. That said, a little more cushioning wouldn’t have hurt. The driver’s seat is height-adjustable, while the steering is tilt-adjustable. Inspite of the lack of reach adjust on the steering wheel, getting into a comfortable driving position isn’t too much of a task.

The rear bench is flat, and could certainly do with a little more cushioning as well. The seats will accommodate 2 people at best, a 3rd passenger will be a bit of a squeeze, mainly because of the intrusive floor hump. Lastly, unlike the Xcent, the Ford misses out on rear AC vents, but it isn’t a major deal-breaker as the AC is very effective.

The top-spec Titanium+ variant of the Figo comes all that you could ask for in a car of this segment. It gets automatic climate control, including a button that marked MAX A/C that chills the cabin down very quickly. Talking of entertainment, the car gets an integrated music system with Bluetooth, AUX and USB connectivity as well. It also gets Ford’s SYNC system that lets you use voice commands to place a call or play music.

The steering is borrowed from the EcoSport and houses buttons for the telephony and entertainment functions. It has a grainy texture which lets the driver have a firm grip. However, the steering is a bit too light by Ford standards - more on that later.

If you opt for the Titanium variant; you will miss out on the screen for the system and Ford’s SYNC system. In place, you get a dock for your phone instead. The arrangement, dubbed ‘MyDock’ is a super-convenient place to dock the phone while playing music or using navigation on the device.

The Figo Aspire is definitely one of the most well-packaged offerings in India today. It has enough space for four to five adults, a lot of cubby holes around the cabin for knick knacks and gets a fairly large 359-litre boot for luggage. The only flaw has to be the build quality, which isn’t on par with what we traditionally expect from Ford.

Performance

The Ford Figo Aspire is available with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel. While the large petrol engine is available only with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the other two other engines come mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.

1.2 litre Ti-VCT

The 1.2-litre petrol engine is best suited for the city. Out on the highways it definitely lacks punch. The motor needs to be revved really hard since the meat of the power is at the top of the rev range. When driven sedately, it does return a decent fuel economy. It is nothing more than a commuter class engine that does its urban duty well. If a peppy petrol is what you want, the Swift Dzire is a better option.

1.5 litre Ti-VCT

This engine is available only with the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in the Titanium variant. While it might give the Aspire an upper hand on paper, the 1.5 Ti-VCT fails to deliver on counts of performance. There just isn’t enough torque for the gearbox to exploit and deliver. Where the engine and gearbox combo do score however, is in terms of sheer convenience. When driven with a light foot, the automatic keeps the wallet happy too.

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Ford Aspire Maruti Swift Dzire Tata Zest Honda Amaze
Power 86.8bhp@6300rpm 82bhp@6000rpm 88.7bhp@5000rpm 88.7bhp@6000rpm
Torque (Nm) 112Nm@4000rpm 113Nm@4200rpm 140Nm@1500-4000rpm 110Nm@4800rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1196 1197 1193 1199
Transmission Manual Manual Manual Automatic
Top Speed (kmph) 157 Kmph - 154 Kmph 160 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 15.7 Seconds 12.6 Seconds 17 Seconds 15 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 995-1015kg 860Kg 1115kg 985kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 18.16kmpl 22.0kmpl 17.57kmpl 18.1kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 87.23618090452261 bhp/ton 95.34883720930233 bhp/ton 79.55156950672645 bhp/ton 90.0507614213198 bhp/ton
 

1.5 litre TDCi

The diesel engine is the one to pick if you enjoy driving. The 100PS power figure wasn’t even available with the EcoSport diesel at first, and coupled with the light body and compact proportions make the diesel Figo Aspire quite the speedster. Low end torque is impressive and the engine pulls cleanly as the revvs climb. Issues with this engine remain the NVH levels inside the cabin, but that is something that can be overlooked due to the immense potential the engine possesses. It’s a rare combination of ferocity and frugality.

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Ford Aspire Maruti Swift Dzire Tata Zest Honda Amaze
Power 99bhp@3750rpm 74bhp@4000rpm 88.7bhp@4000rpm 98.6bhp@3600rpm
Torque (Nm) 215Nm@1750-3000rpm 190Nm@2000rpm 200Nm@1750-3000rpm 200Nm@1750rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1498 1248 1248 1498
Transmission Manual Manual Automatic Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 170 Kmph - 158 Kmph 170 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 11.6 Seconds - 15 Seconds 17 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 1023-1048kg 955Kg 1170kg 1050kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 25.83kmpl 28.4kmpl 21.58kmpl 25.8kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 96.77419354838709 bhp/ton 77.4869109947644 bhp/ton 75.8119658119658 bhp/ton 93.9047619047619 bhp/ton

Ride and Handling

The suspension is set on the softer side. It is tuned for comfort which lets the Ford soak in the bumps easily. That said, the rear passengers get thrown about quite a bit over broken roads and the electronic power steering is almost too light by Ford standards. Don’t expect the kind of feel or feedback you’d get with the old-Figo hatchback. While it is an absolute boon in bumper-to-bumper traffic, it can be slightly unnerving whilst doing triple digit speeds on the highway. The grip levels are adequate, though we would recommend getting larger tyres if possible. The stock tyre profile does not do much in terms of grip.

Braking duties are handled by disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear. The Figo Aspire holds its line under harsh braking. Also, pedal feedback is very good. We didn’t have any issues with the brakes even after multiple rounds of testing.

Safety

On the safety front, the Figo Aspire is the only compact sedan to get 6 airbags in the top-spec Titanium+ variant. Dual airbags are standard across the range. It also gets ABS with EBD; and with the automatic, the Ford is equipped with hill-launch assist, traction control and ESP as well.

Variants

  • Diesel
  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
1.5 TDCi Ambiente Two tone interiors, Keyless entry, Driver and passenger airbags, 6.59 Lakh*
1.5 TDCi Trend [ In adition to 1.5 TDCi Ambiente ] Front fog lamps, Gear shift indicator, Turn indicators on ORVMS, [ Variant 1.5 TDCi Ambiente price ] + 54,600 =  7.14 Lakh*
1.5 TDCi Titanium [ In adition to 1.5 TDCi Trend ] ABS with EBD, Power fold ORVMs, Auto AC, [ Variant 1.5 TDCi Trend price ] + 26,700 =  7.41 Lakh*
1.5 TDCi Titanium Plus [ In adition to 1.5 TDCi Titanium ] 4.2 inch MFD screen, Ford My Key, Emergency assistance, [ Variant 1.5 TDCi Titanium price ] + 71,300 =  8.12 Lakh*
Variants Features Price
1.2 Ti-VCT Ambiente Two tone interiors, Keyless entry, Driver and passenger airbags, 5.49 Lakh*
1.2 Ti-VCT Trend [ In adition to 1.2 Ti-VCT Ambiente ] Front fog lamps, Gear shift indicator, Turn indicators on ORVMS, [ Variant 1.2 Ti-VCT Ambiente price ] + 36,100 =  5.85 Lakh*
1.2 Ti-VCT Titanium [ In adition to 1.2 Ti-VCT Trend ] Power fold ORVMs, ABS with EBD, Auto AC, [ Variant 1.2 Ti-VCT Trend price ] + 14,900 =  6.0 Lakh*
1.2 Ti-VCT Titanium Plus [ In adition to 1.2 Ti-VCT Titanium ] Ford My Key, 4.2 inch MFD screen, Side and curtain airbags, [ Variant 1.2 Ti-VCT Titanium price ] + 1,01,100 =  7.01 Lakh*
1.5 Ti-VCT Titanium [ In adition to 1.2 Ti-VCT Titanium Plus ] All features of 1.2 Titanium, Automatic transmission, 1.5 litre powerful engine, [ Variant 1.2 Ti-VCT Titanium Plus price ] + 1,33,300 =  8.34 Lakh*

The Figo Aspire is offered in a total of 4 variants. The base variant is a no-frills version, but does get the essentials such as air-conditioning and dual airbags covered. The Ambiente variant also gets front power windows, rear fog lamps and auto-locking doors. If you are on an absolute budget, pick the Ambiente since it has a basic safety net in place, save for ABS.

The Trend variant gets some good features like front fog lamps, electrically adjustable wing mirrors and a 4-speaker audio system with steering mounted controls. It also gets indicators on the wing-mirrors and rear power windows.

The Titanium spec adds ABS with EBD, alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, power folding ORVMs and in the automatic version, gets ESP, HLA and traction control too. The top-spec Titanium+ variant is fully-loaded, getting goodies such as a side and curtain airbags, a 4.2-inch screen for the music system and voice commands as well.

Ford Aspire similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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