Ford Figo Aspire: First Drive Review

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Yuvi
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Ford Figo Aspire: First Drive Review

Postby Yuvi » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:55 pm

We Indians are quite aware of the American automotive giant Ford Motors from a long time, probably from the start of this century with their iconic car in India - Ford Ikon “The Josh Machine” :D . The company had a real good time then, when it didn’t have many competitors in the segment and the Ford Ikon used to a dream car for every youngster having that adrenaline rush for speed. But the charisma of the car didn’t last for long as the segment was overtaken by many new players like Hyundai, Honda and Suzuki who came up with many new and attractive cars with competitive pricings. Then came the Ford Ecosport in the year 2013, a mini Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and it was a real game changer for Ford. With more than 200,000 owners and counting, Ford Ecosport has successfully created a benchmark and continues to be received well for its quality and value package across the world.

However it always used to be just one Ford car that used to carry the strong brand image in the country. Well it seems Ford plans to change that scenario by bringing the all new Ford Figo Apsire that can bring thousands of sales number in our country. The Ford Figo Apsire is a sub-4 metre compact sedan entitled to rival the growing compact sedan segment in India. Launched in August 2015, this vehicle has already become the second largest selling compact sedan lagging just behind the Maruti Suzuki Dzire. The Apsire looks similar to Ford KA+ model which is already in sales in Brazil. Both these vehicles are part of the Ford’s B-562 compact car project. However Ford Figo Aspire length in India is under 4 metres (that’s to attract lesser tax duties), whereas its Brazilian counterpart is over 4 metres.

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The Ford Figo Aspire will be available in four trims namely Ambiente, Trend, Titanium & Titanium+ and comes with some of the first in-segment options including 6 airbags, hill start assist, dual clutch automatic transmission and Electronic Stability Control to name a few. The colour options available are sparkling gold, smoke grey, deep impact blue, oxford white, Ingot silver, ruby red and tuxedo black.

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Ruby Red Ford Aspire:
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The price for the car is in the range of Rs 5.90 lakhs to Rs 9.90 lakhs (On-Road price, Bangalore). Other cars in this sub-compact segment include the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Hyundai Xcent, Honda Amaze and Tata Zest.

Exterior:
The Ford Figo has been designed from scratch unlike many of its competitors in the segment including the Maruti Swift Dzire, Hyundai Xcent and Honda Amaze, all of which are modifications to its hatchback version. The Figo Aspire delivers a premium design and styling comparable to some of the cars in the higher segment. Its bold, dynamic and elegant exterior conveys a sense of precision, efficiency and sophistication. The car has an overall length of 3,995 mm which is same as that of Dzire, Xcent and Amaze. One might think that this sub compact car might have also compromised on its creativity because of its limited length. However we can say that the Figo Aspire is the best looking car in this segment and is very similar to its concept model.

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Let’s start looking at the car from the front. First thing that asks for the attention is the hexagonal grille having slim chrome lining with four horizontal chrome slats. Below which is the air damn with two vertical bars which however doesn’t get the chrome treatment.

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On either side of this is the protruding radiant fog lamps surrounded by black plastic body. Moving up we can notice that the bonnet is well designed featuring a prominent bulge and two powerful muscular lines on either side that runs from the Ford logo until the windshield. These lines even blend with the depression on the roof and add a lot of character to the car.

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The swept back headlamps are pretty large and look like an evolved version of the current Figo unit.
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Coming onto the side profile, the first thing one notices is the strong beltline running from the A pillar to the C pillar. The projecting shoulder line that originates from the front fender through the door handles till the tip of the tail lamp adds to the sporty looks of the car.

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The sedan gets BSMP (Body Side Protection Moulding) with chrome inserts with thick lines that offer safety as well as sharpness to the overall side profile looks. Other than these, there are OVRMs with integrated turn indicators, door handles that are in body tone and 14 inch eight spoke alloy wheels for the four tyres.

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The rear end of the sedan is marked with captivating D shaped tail lamps and a chrome strip that runs across the width of the car. The tail lamps however don’t get those LED lightings used in most of the sedans nowadays. Ford logo sits in the centre of the chrome strip and strip actually makes the rear looks less bulky unlike the other compact sedans. The black cladding at the lower lip and a few creases on the bumper adds to the styling of the car.

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The tail lamps however don’t get those LED lightings :

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Interior:

Although the Ford Figo Aspire is a sub 4 meter compact sedan the interiors are pretty spacious considering the tall B pillar. Ford has managed to get the ergonomics right and the accessibility of the features in the car is spot on. With ample space and handy storage areas it has put up a tough competition for its rivals like the Swift desire, Honda amaze and Hyundai xcent. The car has ample leg room and headroom in the front row, the second row also has some pretty good spacing and must be comfortable for 3 fully grown adults even on long road trips.

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The interiors come with a Dual Tone (Charcoal Black + Light Oak) Environment. The whole dashboard design seems to resemble the Ford ecosport. The Ford Aspire is equipped with fabric seats on the lower versions while the titanium+ version gets premium leather seats. The door armrests also house fabric padding’s to give it a premium feel. The titanium+ version gets seat integrated airbags which also prohibits addition of aftermarket seat covers.

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Premium finish door cladding

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Ample legroom

Moving over to the In Car Entertainment the base ambient version does not get any ICE system and the top storage space which has the MFD screen on the higher versions doubles up as a Smartphone holder useful for navigation and other apps. The top titanium version gets 4.2" MFD Screen integrated with SYNC, Voice Control and App Link.

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Other features such as Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB can also be seen in the Aspire.

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From the drivers point of view - The steering wheel is quite sporty which is again inspired by the one on Ford Ecosport. It has steering mounted controls and a lever under the steering wheel used to adjust the height of the steering wheel.

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The instrument cluster looks elegant and simple with a huge speedo and equal area is given to the tachometer on the left and the fuel gauge towards the right, maybe Ford wants to showcase that they provide unmatched mileage without compromising on power.

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When it comes to safety the car comes with 6 airbags on the top titanium+ variant (2 airbags on the dash + 4 curtain airbags). The seat-belts are black in colour contrasting to the light oak background. The interiors have lesser use of chrome as the dual tone colour setting does the job.
The lighting switches too did not fail to impress the camera.

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Additional features :

Ford MyKey
Figo Aspire’s first-in-class Ford MyKey technology provides an extra element of safety, allowing drivers to set speed warnings, activate a seat belt reminder, limit the car’s top speed as well as audio volume

Ford SYNC app
Fords voice activated system helps you to call friends and family or listen to your favorite songs hands free. You can even have your text messages read out to you. And in case of any emergency, SYNC’s Emergency Assistance will use your paired phone to automatically call emergency services and give your GPS location.

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Reverse parking camera with integrated IRVM display
An important necessity in today’s road conditions with tighter parking spots.

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Auto fold and electrically adjustable ORVM’s

Automatic Climate Control
Figo Aspire boasts the best-in-class climate control system. Even in the heat of summer, once you set a temperature, the system maintains it with outstanding precision, ensuring superior comfort for everyone. And because it’s super-efficient, you save fuel.

Overall the interior is pretty elegant, ergonomic and user friendly with many first in class features the ford Aspire puts up a tough competition.

Engine & Technical specifications :

Complementing its bold looks and aggressive styling ford has done pretty well under the hood too. The Aspire has three engine options with a manual and automatic gearshift transmission.

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1.2l Ti-VCT Petrol MT :

    Figo Aspire’s new 1.2l Ti-VCT petrol engine delivers superior power of 88 PS with an impressive fuel economy of 18.16 km/l and reduced emissions. It has a maximum torque output of 112Nm @ 4000RPM.

1.5l TDCi Diesel Engine :

    Engineered for economy and performance, the super-refined 1.5l TDCi diesel engine delivers best-in-class 100 PS power. It has a maximum torque output of 215Nm @ 1750-3000 RPM and a pretty good fuel economy of 25.83 km/l.

1.5l Ti-VCT Petrol AT :

    The best combination among all the other engine options is the 1.5l petrol engine. Mated to a 6-Speed PowerShift transmission that delivers a massive power of 112 PS. The PowerShift AT uses a dual-clutch shifting system designed for smooth gear changes and superior fuel efficiency. The torque output of the 1.5l Ti-VCT Petrol AT is 136Nm @ 4250 RPM.

While the first two petrol and diesel engines are available on all variants with the manual gearshift, The 1.5l Ti-VCT Petrol engine with the 6 speed automatic gearbox is only available on the Titanium version.

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Technical specifications :

Overall length (mm): 3886
Overall width (mm): 1695
Overall height (mm): 1525
Wheelbase (mm): 2491
Front track (mm): 1492
Rear track (mm): 1484
Ground clearance (mm): 174
Turning radius (m): 4.9
Boot space (l): 257
Fuel tank capacity (l): Petrol - 42
Fuel tank capacity (l): Diesel - 40

With more features such As Electric Power Assist Steering, Anti-Lock Braking System, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System and Hill Launch Assist. The Ford Aspire is bound to surprise you in terms of drivability and unmatched performance.

Ride and Handling:

The Figo Aspire is certainly designed to appeal mass market, especially younger buyers. Its design won’t disappoint you, whether it’s soft suspension setup to take on uneven city roads, comfort centric cabin design, ample ground clearance (174mm) and precise steering response. It cruises comfortably on city roads with small potholes and uneven surfaces. Small jerks are easily absorbed through its suspension setup without much fuss, leaving no space for complaint about comfortable ride. As you pick up the speed on the highway, the car does show little body sway due to soft suspension, but it’s nothing to worry about.
The steering is light and responsive at low speed. As you pick up the speed, it weighs up gradually, thanks to EPS. The steering doesn’t have extreme connectivity feel like the old Fords have, but it is responsive and precise.

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At low speed, the Aspire takes the corner without any roll but if you push it harder at a corner, it under-steers and body roll comes in. The 14 inch Apollo tyres are quite grippy and supportive at reasonable speed, but for a powerful diesel variant, the tyre upgrade is a must.

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As mentioned earlier, this car is designed for mass market and not for driving enthusiasts. If you drive this cruiser within reasonable speed range, you won’t complain about it.
A ride height (Ground Clearance) of 174 mm is a welcome move by Ford, so no more bottoming out on the bad roads!! .
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The brake response in both diesel and petrol variant is absolutely spot on and positive.
The top end variant Titanium and Titanium Plus features ABS with EBD as a standard for better handling and control.

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Safety:
The Ford Figo Aspire comes with loads of promising safety features which are hard to ignore. The main highlight of the safety features is a driver side airbag as a standard across all variants, while all other variants above the base model come fitted with dual front airbags. The top end Titanium Plus trim gets an additional pair of side and curtain airbags (total 6 airbags) :D and features Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) for better stability and control.

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Driver and Passenger airbags in Titanium Trim Variant:

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The new Ford Figo Aspire is the only sedan, which provides more than two airbags in the sub-4 meter compact sedan segment. The top end model also features the Perimeter alarm and SYNC Emergency Assistance.
Ford claims that, in the event of any accident where an airbags deploys or the fuel pumps shut off, the SYNC Emergency Assistance uses your paired phone to contact emergency operators and provides them your exact car location in GPS coordinates. This feature automatically turns on the microphone, so that the operator can talk to any occupants in the vehicle, even if they can't reach the controls.

The Perimeter alarm System prevents any unauthorized attempt to enter the car by smashing a car window or hard knocking on any part of the car body. Its shock sensor triggers the alarm, flashes the headlamps and parking lights, and activate theft indicator on the instrumental panel. Once triggered, an alarm can be set off using special button provided on the master key.

Ford has introduced Ford MyKey feature in ‘Titanium +’ trim variant which helps you to set up a top speed limit, speed warning and audio volume control. The MyKey profile displays three options; the first one is ‘Speed Limit’, the 2nd option is ‘Speed Warning’ and 3rd option is ‘Volume Control’. Once you set these parameters on MyKey Profile, rest assured that this feature won’t allow you to go beyond the speed you set in ‘Speed Limit’ MyKey profile. It flashes the warning message as soon as you exceed the speed you set in ‘speed warning’ MyKey Profile. Also, it won’t allow you to increase audio volume more than you already set in ‘Volume Limit’ MyKey profile. This feature definitely boosts confidence and will help many youngsters and taxi-fleet owners to check max speed while driving. You can set or delete your MyKey profile only through master key.

The petrol engine automatic transmission Titanium variant come equipped with some additional features like Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Traction Control System (TCS) and Hill Launch Assist (HLA). The Hill Launch Assist (HLA) kicks in while making the hill start and stops you rolling backwards on a steep road. It holds the brake for a few seconds after you take your foot off the brake pedal and allows you to accelerate smoothly. The ECP with Traction Control System enhances handling on tough and slippery surfaces. It also helps to get back you on track if you make sudden maneuvers that put your safety at risk.

Pricing and Specification Comparison:

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Credits:
We would like to give our special thanks to the FORD METRO showroom team for their support and cooperation in getting us this review. We believe every buyer who wants to buy a FORD car should definitely visit the METRO FORD showroom at St.Mark’s road Bangalore, for an overwhelming experience while buying their new cars.
Photo credits: Sathyajith Ullal & Sheldon D'mello

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