2015 Ford Figo Diesel and Petrol-Automatic – Review
Aravind Jayachandran, It goes without saying that I'm a huge petrolhead and can apparently convert all my driving emotions into words you can read.
Features an all new design and improved internals.
Following the launch of Ford’s first ever sub-4m sedan, the Ford Figo Aspire, the American manufacturer has now introduced the much-awaited replacement for the aging-yet-popular Ford Figo hatchback.
When I reviewed the Ford Figo Aspire, I actually walked away impressed. It is one of the nicest looking, most powerful diesel sedans in its segment and, starting from INR 4.89 Lakhs, was also competitively priced at launch.
So what happens when Ford shaves the boot and tosses the “Aspire” badge? That, basically, summarizes the 2015 Ford Figo.
The new Ford Figo has some big shoes to fill, given that the first generation model was a massive success for Ford India; offering great drivability, robust build quality, and decent level of equipment in an attractive price range. It was one of the few hatchbacks that didn’t require a Maruti badge to catch people’s attention.
On paper, the new Ford Figo hatchback has got the potential to be Ford’s next success story. So we drove between Delhi and Agra on the Yamuna Expressway to find out if the new Figo refines the winning formula of its predecessor.
Exterior Design and Features
Compared to the outgoing model, the new Ford Figo has a much better road presence and contemporary styling that follows Ford’s latest design language. The exterior design has evolved along with the demand of Indian consumers.
Although the Figo and Figo Aspire have similar exteriors, I much prefer the execution of the new design on the Figo hatchback. It doesn’t look as awkwardly proportioned (an inherent sub-4m sedan flaw) as its Aspire brother.
Aston Martin fans will appreciate the grille design, which features chrome slats and bezel in the top-end trim. It is flanked by large swept-back headlamps that offer conventional bulb lighting tech. A pair of round foglamps and a long plastic radiator grille round up the lower bumper. The new Figo’s hood has sculpted lines that hints at the power-packed diesel motor underneath it.
From the side, it looks well-proportioned, although the 14-inch alloy wheels don’t match the styling. It could have borrowed the sportier 15-inch 5-spoke alloy rims from its Brazilian cousin, the Ford Ka.
The new Figo measures 3,886 mm in length, 1,695 mm in width, 1525 in height, and 2,491 mm in wheelbase, making it the longest in overall length, wheelbase and the widest in its segment. Compared to its predecessor, the 2015 Figo is 91 mm longer, 15 mm wider, 98 mm higher and 2 mm longer wheelbase.
Like the Figo Aspire, the new Figo has a muscular shoulder line running across the side profile, which complements its strong road presence. While base models have turn indicators on the front wing, Titanium variants have ORVM-mounted indicators, leaving the front wing with a simple chrome element. Also, the smoothly sculpted wheel arches in the new Figo look cleaner than the flared arches of the older model.
Coming to the rear, the car loses the long vertical taillights for a pair of wraparound units. I am glad that the new Figo doesn’t have the bold chrome bar from the Figo Aspire, but features a well-sculpted line that adds an impression of good width.
The registration plate area has been pushed to the lower bumper, leaving the upper portion clean. There isn’t an external release for the tailgate, but it has a small cutout for easier lifting. The exhaust pipe is tucked behind the bumper and out of plain view.
Interior Design and Build Quality
Stepping inside, the new Ford Figo features the same interior design as the Ford Figo Aspire, which is both similar to the Ford EcoSport and Ford Fiesta. If you’re well acquainted with the latter models, you will feel at home in the Ford Figo.
The dashboard design is an upgrade from the monotonous design of the previous model. With extra silver and chrome details around the cabin, it also looks a bit more premium than its predecessor.
Unlike the Figo Aspire, the new Figo adopts a full black interior with contrasting silver trim on the center console, steering wheel and door panel. Although the beige and black color combination of the Figo Aspire looked good, the piano black center console was prone to fingerprint smudges and dust. In the Figo, however, the silver center console has a matte finish, which remains clean most of the time.
The build quality is only a bit better than the outgoing Figo. It’s nowhere near bad though, as the plastics feel robust and well-screwed together. The dials for the HVAC system, especially, are well detailed and feel good to the touch, while most of the buttons in the dashboard appear to be solid and chunky.
Following the all-black theme of the cabin, the seats are upholstered in black fabric with white contrast stitching. It’s odd that Ford decided to skimp on leather upholstery for the top-end Figo Titanium Plus, which is offered in the Figo Aspire Titanium Plus from the factory.
The front seats are fairly comfortable, although a broad shouldered person may start to feel a bit strained during long journeys. Along with the usual adjustments, the driver’s seat offers height adjustment in the top-end trim.
The rear seats, however, were not as comfortable as the Figo Aspire. While there is good legroom and headroom for a 6-footer like me, the Figo doesn’t get a foldable armrest or adjustable headrests, which are both available in its sedan brother.
As for the boot capacity, the new Figo has 257 liters of it, which is spacious enough for a sub-compact hatchback. In fact, it has the biggest boot in the segment; beating the Hyundai Grand i10 by a mere 1 liter.
The top-end Figo comes with a decent level of equipment that should give bigger hatchbacks a run for the money. It features the SYNC infotainment system from the Figo Aspire and EcoSport, which works with a small, non-color infotainment display. Navigating around the system seemed quite easy from the start, although I would’ve preferred using a rotary dial rather than dedicated buttons.
The SYNC software can easily connect with your smartphone via Applink, and can access some of the features present in the device. The SYNC system also features voice commands, which is a segment-first. There are limited commands available, and the Figo seemed to recognize most of them. I presume that the voice command will remain a feature to brag about, rather than being actually useful here.
The new Figo Titanium Plus comes with automatic climate control, which keeps the front passengers comfortable within a short span of time. However, a HVAC vent on the end of the floor console could’ve been a great addition, which can also keep the rear passengers comfortable without the need to increase the AC fan blast. It’s a feature that’s already available in the Figo’s close rival, the Hyundai Grand i10.
Two of the biggest additions in the Figo are power-operated windows for the rear doors, which was unavailable even in the top-end trim level of its predecessor.
Engine, Gearbox and Drivability
We managed to drive both the 1.5 TDCi diesel and 1.5 Ti-VCT petrol with the 6-speed dual clutch gearbox.
The Ford Figo diesel variant is powered by a 1.5-liter four cylinder TDCi engine from the Ford EcoSport. While the previous Ford Figo produced 69 PS from a smaller 1.4-liter Duratorq, the diesel engine in the new Figo produces 100 PS and 215 Nm of torque, thus making it the most powerful diesel hatchback for under 10 lakhs.
Torque delivery from the engine to the front wheels is linear, but it thrusts you forward with untamed eagerness, once the turbo spools at 1800 rpm. Power at the low-end rev range doesn’t feel lagged, and allows for brisk take-offs at second gear from single digit speeds. The Figo then comes to life between the mid and high rev ranges, where the relatively wide power band enables the car to keep pushing until 170 km/hr in 5th gear.
The diesel variant is certainly a car that will put a smile even on a driving enthusiast’s face.
The 5-speed manual gearbox has short throws, but was not smooth in shifting the gears. As for the clutch, it felt light, and has a predictable bite point. Thanks to the good low-end torque, it’s quite hard to stall the Figo from the get-go.
On paper, the 1.5 Ti-VCT petrol variant has the figures of an Indian hot-hatch. It produces 112 PS at 6,300 rpm and 136 Nm of torque at 4,250 rpm. It is also paired to a 6-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox as standard. The only other hatchback with a powerful petrol motor and dual-clutch gearbox is the VW Polo GT.
However, it doesn’t feel sporty or exciting to drive as what the specs promise. The naturally aspirated engine has a strong high range, but relaxed mid and low ranges. This confuses the DCT gearbox when the user has a heavy foot. As a safe option, it goes down two gears to access the screaming high rev range, although it sometimes appears unnecessary. This can be neutralized by setting it in manual mode, where the drive can change gears via an odd button on the gear selector.
Around the evening traffic of Delhi, the 6-speed DCT was smooth, and contributed to its effortless city drivability. But on a road as empty and wide as the Yamuna Expressway, it doesn’t feel as lively and eager as its diesel brother.
The new Ford Figo diesel has an ARAI-certified fuel consumption of 25.83 km/l, while the 1.5-liter Ti-VCT with the 6-speed DCT is certified at 17 km/l.
With a light foot and an empty expressway, the Figo diesel is capable of doing 22.4 km/l, as per the MID reading. As for the petrol-automatic variant, it is capable of returning 12.7 km/L with a heavy foot.
Ride Quality, Handling, Steering and Braking
The new Figo has the conventional McPherson strut system and anti-roll bars in the front, and semi-independent torsion beam with gas and oil shocks at the back.
The cement roads of the Yamuna Expressway were a good litmus test for the Figo’s ride quality and stability at high speeds. After driving a considerable number of kilometers, it appears that Ford has slightly softened the suspension for a better ride quality. Most of the small thuds are absorbed with relative ease, while jerks from deep potholes trickle into the cabin. That being said, the new Figo’s suspension instills confidence in going over small road obstacles without much of a fuss.
Although the planned route was mostly straight, we managed to throw the Figo around a couple of corners. And fortunately, the new Figo keeps its excellent handling characteristics intact. It doesn’t exhibit much roll around quick corners, and keeps itself stuck to the road at most times.
Even at high speeds on the expressway, the Figo feels so stable and planted that it’s sometimes hard to believe what the speedometer is indicating. Pair that with the 100 PS diesel engine, and you’ve got a car that screams “exciting”!
Fans of the previous Figo’s hydraulic steering may find the new electric power steering a bit too artificial. Regardless, the new EPAS is much easier to turn around slow-moving city traffic, with the petrol variant being even more so, and the system adds just about the right weight at high speeds. This is further complemented by the new steering wheel design, which is well sculpted and feels nice to hold.
As for stopping power, the Figo comes with ventilated disc brakes up front and drum brakes at the back. People opting for the Titanium or Titanium Plus variants will get ABS with EBD as standard. The brake pedal in both diesel and petrol-automatic variants felt spot on. Brake force application was linear, and can easily be acquainted with during your first test drive.
Like the new Figo Aspire, the Figo also comes with an enticing safety feature list that will not go unnoticed.
Firstly, the Base trim features a driver’s airbag as standard, while rest of the trim levels add a passenger airbag to the mix. If two airbags aren’t enough, the range-topping Titanium Plus trim can sate your need by offering a pair of side and curtain airbags – bringing the total count to six. The new Ford Figo is the only hatchback in its segment to offer more than 2 airbags.
An interesting aspect to note is that people opting for the Titanium Plus trim with six airbags will not get ceiling grab handles. The reason is attributed to the packaging of the airbags and limited space available to fit the handles. So if the driver is getting a little bit too adventurous, passengers will have to make do with the small door pockets to hold onto.
The 1.5-liter petrol variant with the 6-speed DCT is only offered in the Titanium variant, thus losing out on 4 extra airbags. However, it does gain exclusive features like Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System and Hill Launch Assist.
The 2015 Ford Figo was launched on September 23, and its trim level pricing is given below. Note that the prices are ex-showroom Delhi.
2015 Ford Figo Petrol:
- 2015 Ford Figo Base – INR 4.29 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Ambiente – INR 4.56 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Trend – INR 5 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Trend + – INR 5.25 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Titanium – INR 5.75 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Titanium+ – INR 6.4 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo 1.5 AT Titanium – INR 6.91 lakhs
2015 Ford Figo Diesel:
- 2015 Ford Figo Base – INR 5.29 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Ambiente – INR 5.62 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Trend – INR 5.97 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Trend+ – INR 6.22 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Titanium – INR 6.72 lakhs
- 2015 Ford Figo Titanium+ – INR 7.4 lakhs
The company has promised that the new Figo will have a low cost of ownership, thanks to the increased localization and few after-sales initiatives. One such initiative is the ‘Total Maintenance Plan’ (TMP), which keeps the maintenance cost fixed for 3 years from purchase, so that owners wouldn’t have to worry about rise in parts and labour costs.
Ford has hit the ball out of the park with the new Figo’s pricing. Although there are cheaper options in its segment, it’s hard rule out the Ford Figo, as it offers a driver’s airbag as standard in all variants, more interior space, and a neutral exterior design.
At INR 7.4 lakhs, the top-end Figo Diesel Titanium Plus is the costliest in its segment, although by a small margin. With six airbags, an excellent SYNC infotainment system and a powerful-yet-frugal diesel engine, it’s easy convincing prospective customers to overlook the small margin.
While the 1.5-liter Ti-VCT petrol with the 6-speed dual clutch gearbox has smooth drivability and powerful figures, I would go for the 1.5 TDCi diesel variant in a heartbeat. Not only is it the most powerful and fun-to-drive hatchback in the segment, but is also capable of attaining a fuel mileage of above 20 km/L easily, an astounding fuel mileage, with a light foot.