Ford's new second generation Figo is here and is now more competitive than ever before. We went for a drive to see if it can build on its successful predecessor's credentials
Ever since I saw the first images of the new Ford Ka internationally, I have been eagerly waiting for the car to make it to India in the second generation avatar of the Ford Figo. The Figo has always been a premium offering in its segment in India and its overall appeal made it one of Ford’s most successful models in the country.
And when Ford India launched the car here, the fact that it is identical to the international model is enough to make it grab eyeballs. To top it off, the new Ford Figo priced between Rs. 4.30 lakh to Rs. 7.10 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), makes the car even more appealing. But that surely isn’t enough for the new model to live up to its predecessor’s credentials. We went for a drive in the new Ford Figo to put it through its paces and see if it lives up to the Figo name!
But before we get there, let’s take a moment to absorb the new car’s design. In line with Ford’s new design language, the second generation Figo gets a large hexagonal chrome grille upfront, flanked by long swept back headlamps on either side. The front air dam is split into two sections with a sleek lower one and the oval fog lamps are housed in deep recesses on either side with black plastic casings. The bonnet has a nice large V-shaped sculpture that connects the A-pillars to the grille. There is a mild power dome on the centre of the bonnet to add to the purposeful front profile of the car.
The side profile of the car is a clean one. The A and C-Pillars are steeply raked along with angular rear windows to add to the contemporary appeal of the car, accentuated by the black B-pillars. A mild beltline flows from the head lamps to the tail lamps while the central areas of the doors have a recess to add character.
Around the back, the heavily raked rear windshield looks very cool. Below it runs a strong crease from where it is mostly vertical down below. The large tail lamps on either side lend a nice visual break to the rear profile.
Inside, the 2015 Ford Figo features all-black interiors with silver plastic inserts that do look nice and up market. Plastic quality is good for this segment and so are build quality and fit and finish. I did notice though that the console around the gear lever of the automatic model did appear to be a bit iffy.
The cabin is now more spacious for rear seat occupants and I found plenty of legroom and knee room at the back with the front seats adjusted for my 5 ft 8 inch frame. Back support is good for front and rear seats and so is under thigh support. Although, there is little room for a middle seat occupant in the back with the high centre tunnel running below.
Ford has loaded up the new Figo with a host of equipment to take on its competition. The car now gets rear power windows as well, a feature missing on the earlier model. The Titanium+ variant gets electric folding ORVMs, auto door locks, climate control, double-DIN stereo with Bluetooth, USB, AUX, CD and SYNC voice control along with steering mounted audio controls. There is also tilt adjustable power steering, day / night interior rear view mirror, front power socket, rear defogger and wash wipe, remote central locking and more.
Engine and Gearbox
Ford is offering the 2015 Figo with a choice of three engines and two gearboxes. There is a 1.2 litre, four cylinder petrol engine (now with variable valve timing) mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, a 1.5 litre, four cylinder petrol engine mated to a six-speed double clutch automatic gearbox and a 1.5 litre, four cylinder, turbocharged diesel unit.
We had a chance to sample the petrol automatic model first. The engine develops 110bhp of max power @ 6,300 rpm and 136Nm of peak torque @ 4,400 rpm. We are used to this engine now that currently does duty in the EcoSport as well. The engine is a refined and free revving unit. The same engine-gearbox combination was available in the second generation Fiesta as well. In the Figo, it takes some time to get used to the way the powertrain functions. While the engine and gearbox work well under linear acceleration, it’s when you are in the sudden need for power that the shift times from the gearbox become noticeable with the engine raising its revs but the gear being slotted in slightly later, even with the gearbox in Sports mode. This can be contained to an extent by manually shifting gears via buttons on the gear lever.
Still, with an ARAI rated fuel efficiency figure of 17 km/l, the new Figo automatic should deliver good driveability under standard conditions.
The diesel powertrain on the other hand offers commendable driveability and performance. It has an extremely wide power band with the turbo kicking in at 1,500 rpm, power delivery comes in well to the 4,000 rpm mark. Maximum power and torque outputs for this engine are rated at 99bhp @ 3,750 rpm and 215Nm @ 1,750 rpm, respectively. The ARAI rated fuel efficiency for the new Figo diesel is rated at 25.83 km/l.
While gearshifts in the new 1.5 litre diesel engine Figo are smooth, shift actions could be more precise as the unit does tend to feel vague at times. Having said that, you will get the right gear every time you work the gearbox. And that’s about all there is as far as downsides are concerned for the diesel Figo. The engine pulls strongly every time you put your foot down and the wide power band means you do not have to change gears very often in traffic.
Out on open highways, both engines are very willing and makes cruising at triple digit speeds rather effortless.
Ride and Handling
Under pinned by a heavily modified Mark V Ford Fiesta platform that it shares with the original Figo, this new model still has those signature Figo drive dynamics. By this I mean that the car remains absolutely planted at high speeds and will dismiss undulations and wavy roads without a bother.
The car is underpinned by McPherson struts upfront in an independent setup with coil springs and an anti-roll bar. At the back, there is a semi-independent twist beam axle with coil springs. The end result is that the Figo dismisses pot holes and broken sections of tarmac with ease, although there is some amount of road noise over broken tarmac which is of course also related to the tyres a car runs, in this case they are MRF ZVTS.
Around bends there is some amount of body roll but the car always remains confident. Its only when you are pushing at higher speeds that the slight nervousness of the lighter front end of the petrol model comes into play as the steering needs some correcting. This issue does not come into play in the diesel model. The steering is very linear and direct but I have to say that I do miss the feedback that the earlier model’s unit had.
Ford is offering a driver airbag as standard on all models, while all variants above the entry-level base model come equipped with dual front airbags. In addition the Titanium variants get an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution. The petrol automatic model comes loaded with traction control, electronic stability programme and hill hold function in addition. While the top-end Titanium+ variant comes fitted with segment leading, six airbags.
Having sampled two versions of the new Figo, I have to say that Ford has worked hard to take an already successful recipe forward in a great manner. The new Figo not only looks better than its predecessor but also has the presence to worry its rivals. The cabin is more spacious now and the car comes with considerably more equipment. It comes loaded with safety features and a few segment firsts in an attempt to trump its rivals. The car drives well and comes with a set of powertrains to appeal to a wide customer base.
But most of all, it has been priced right and holds good potential to cater to the varied needs of Indian buyers.
Photography by: Divyanshu Boora
- Ford Figo 1.5 Automatic
- Ford Figo Diesel
Engine: 1,499cc / In-line 4-cylinders / 16 valves / DOHC / Naturally Aspirated
Transmission: 6-Speed Dual Clutch Automatic / Front Wheel Drive
Power: 110bhp @ 6,300rpm
Torque: 136Nm @ 4,250rpm
Price: Rs. 6.92 lakh (Ex-Showroom Delhi)
Engine: 1,495cc / In-line 4-cylinders / 16 valves / turbocharged
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual / Front Wheel Drive
Power: 99bhp @ 3,750rpm
Torque: 215Nm @ 1,750rpm
Price: Rs. 5.30 lakh to Rs. 7.41 lakh (Ex-showroom Delhi)