Driven – Facelifted Ford Figo 1.4L diesel
Kaustubh Shinde, They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store. Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!
Launched in 2010, the Ford Figo took the Blue Oval to every nook and corner of India. A cumulative sales of 2,35,000 units in such a short span and it was obvious – it’s time for a facelift!
We comprehensively covered the Ford Figo facelift in our first drive review here. Unfortunately, the model we could manage to drive was the 1.2L petrol version. In a nation that has seen rapid dieselification in a short time, the review of the diesel Figo was very important. So we asked Ford for a diesel Figo media car and it was promptly sent to Indian Autos Blog’s garage.
What powers the Ford Figo Diesel?
Though Ford has changed a lot of cosmetic aspects of the Figo, very few changes have been done to the mechanical division. The Figo diesel is powered by the same 1.4L DuraTorq engine that powers the Fiesta Classic. It generates 68 bhp @4,000 rpm and 160 NM of torque @ 2,000 rpm.
This engine has served on the Ford Ikon sedan and the Fusion crossover. Its a generation old and feels a bit jittery when you crank it. There is a typical shake and quite a lot of sound when the engine is idling.
Despite being a turbocharged mill, there is very little turbolag on the Figo. The car pulls away extremely well right from the first gear. Torque is plenty in the low and mid range but ‘the pull’ starts disappearing once you tread the needle above 3,500rpm. There is hardly any top end grunt left above that point. More importantly, the engine feels extremely coarse above the 4,000 rpm mark.
The Figo makes a lot of sense for in-city driving where you will not push the needle above 3,000 rpm. Highway cruising abilities are also generous thanks to the taller 5th gear. A 0-100kph dash can be reached in 15.8 seconds.
Coming to the gearbox, it is a 5-speed manual unit which is extremely forgiving and doesn’t mind lugging the engine. It is not an ultra slick unit with razor-precise gear gates that you find in the Hyundai i10 and the VW Polo but it knows its job very well. Slotting into third gear does take some time to learn but you will get used to it very shortly.
What about the Ride and Handling?
The Figo is also known as the ‘Ford Classic without a boot’ and that’s high praise for any car. Ford still maintains the reputation of bringing out the most driver friendly cars in India and the Figo facelift is no exception.
The Figo’s hydraulic power steering is a 101 lecture of how a steering system should be set up for a car. Most hatchbacks come with EPS these days which are exceptional in city driving conditions but reveal their Achilles heel when roads get a bit twisty. The Figo’s steering is like shaking the hand of an old friend – there is just the right amount of feedback and confidence.
The independent MacPherson struts in the front and the non-independent, twist beam coil springs at the rear make the perfect combination when handling the twisties. Surprisingly, even the stock MRF rubber performs exceptionally well in the Figo. There is absolutely no squeal no matter how winding the roads gets.
The ride is very compliant but perhaps on the stiffer side for the rear passengers. A ground clearance of 168 mm did not let the underbody scrape even the tallest of speed breakers that we came across. Problems however can be confronted if the cabin is fully occupied with the luggage compartment filled up.
Braking is taken care of by 258 mm front discs and 203 mm rear drums. The braking is very progressive and firm.
What about Fuel economy?
In our 600km run which included both highway and city runs, the Figo returned a combined FE of 16.2 kmpl.
What about Safety?
The top-end Figo comes fitted with ABS with EBD and dual airbags. There is also a rapid deceleration warning system which flashes the hazards if you hit the brakes hard at over 96 km/h.
To sum it up –
For a little extra more moolah, you get a slightly tweaked design, an audio control stalk and a refined motor. It retains all its previous USP such as near-perfect driving dynamics, ample space, a fuel efficient engine and low cost of maintenance making the Ford Figo facelift the best value for money diesel hatchback on sale in India.
Ford Figo facelift photographs from the Mumbai launch
[can’t see the slideshow above? Head over to Flickr]