Ford India has communicated that it plans to launch a new product on 4 October 2018. It's quite apparent that the company is talking about the 2018 Ford Aspire (facelift) to take on the latest generation Honda Amaze and Maruti Dzire, two cars that now regularly feature in the Top 10 sales list in the country. Today the updated Aspire has been completely revealed through a video by MotorMenz.
The India-spec Ford Aspire has been remodelled on the lines of the 2018 Ford Ka+, which is basically its export-spec version that is produced at the company's Gujarat plant. At its front, the refreshed Aspire carries a sleeker grille with a chrome finish. The bumper is new and looks sportier than the one it replaces with bold chrome embellishments around the foglamp enclosures.
The only change in the side profile is the advent of new multi-spoke alloy wheels for the Titanium trim. The 15-inch wheels come shod with 195/55-spec tires. At the rear, the taillamps have been given a minor update, while the bumper looks a bit sportier owing to the faux air scoops at its edges. The revamped exterior should help the Figo-based sedan enjoy a slightly higher road presence.
The highlight of the interior is an updated dashboard that comes from the Freestyle CUV. The centre console gets fewer buttons and carries a touchscreen display for the SYNC3 infotainment unit. The system replaces the old SYNC unit, which came with a dot-matrix display and several buttons. The car also gets a push start-stop button near its instrument binnacle. The beige & black colour theme continues.
The most critical update is under the hood. The current 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has been replaced with a new 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit from the company's Dragon Series of motors. The new powerplant outputs 95 hp of maximum power 120 Nm of peak torque. Transmission options will include a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic gearbox.
The new engine sets a benchmark in the naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine category with class-leading power and torque outputs. To put things in perspective, the 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine from Honda offers 90 hp, while the 1.2-litre K-series petrol motor from Maruti Suzuki offers 83 hp. The new engine's five-speed manual gearbox comes from Getrag (code: MX65). It's lighter and more accurate than the IB5 unit that it replaces.
Diesel variants will be powered by the same 1.5-litre turbocharged engine. It comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission and produces a maximum power/torque of 100 PS/215 Nm.
The Ford Aspire currently lags behind Japanese rivals. With an average monthly sales of 1,083 units*, numbers are far lower than the Maruti Dzire (24,099 units*) and the Honda Amaze (9,679 units monthly in the first 4 months). Updates should help the 2018 Ford Aspire (facelift) witness a higher demand during the festive season.
*March 2018 - August 2018