Ford Figo drive - Part 1/2

22/01/2010 - 07:45 | ,   | Shrawan Raja

Ford_Figo_dashboardThe Figo's dashboard is painted in a brown which looks different in daylight

Yesterday morning I got down to driving both variants (petrol, diesel) of the Ford Figo, seeing its interiors for the first time in action and in daylight. Ford engineers have worked hard to get the best possible materials for this price. No, you don't get soft touch plastics or leather. The quality of whatever used is good.

The ingress and egress is not the strongest point of Figo. For a tall person like me, I had to bend and crouch to get in. Once I position my seat to my convenience, I make the ingress easier from the second time.

Sit in the car and you feel absolutely in control. The steering wheel is thick and inspires confidence straight away. The front seats is are firm and the bolsters lock you into position. The head rests are designed considering tall drivers and you don't get anything but comfort and control from the driver's seat. Fastening the seat belt is easier on the Figo thanks to a low tension reel. You could lock yourself into the seat with just one hand.

Once you're set and ready to go, you notice you're seated much lower. Much lower than any of the competition the Figo is going to face. Don't let that to fool you into thinking this car's got low ground clearance. The engineers have increased the ground clearance so negotiating a dangerously bumpy patch of road shouldn't cause any worries.

The dashboard in the car which I drove was drenched in dark brown. You would have seen black, beige and even gray, but the dark brown on the Figo's dashboard is very unique. You don't have to choose this color on your car, it is completely optional. It adds life to the interiors, which otherwise in this segment, is just plain and drab. At night, under the floodlights, I felt it was the worst thing on the Figo, but in daylight, it looked much better.

The switches and dials on the dashboard are placed in reach of the driver. The only exception is the hood opener which the co-passenger needs to operate for you. There is a big dial which controls the volume, and that is placed right at the centre. Another notable feature is the evenly spaced out buttons which points to your tuned FM station. Usually you get numbered buttons which are stuck to each other. Ford's fixed that on the Figo.

A couple of shortfalls on the dashboard comes on the AC blower speed knob which doesn't give the feedback you expect when you twist it. It feels weak and fragile. The indicator stalk operates with good level of confidence.

The glovebox cannot swallow a laptop, but it has enough storage volume to take in everyday items. The hand brake lever in this car is the biggest I've seen. Maybe I'd have to use it a few times to inform the springs and gears that its not in the stock yard of the Ford factory any more. Working it needed a little muscle, but the size will put a smile on the average car driver since he loves his hand brake.

The door has been neatly designed and the grab is finished in aluminium. Once shut, it also can act as a storage space for coins, pens, toll gate tickets and similar items. A small area of the door where usually your knee rests is rougher and if you wore soft formal pants, your knees won't slide and slip.

The bottle holder on the doors is designed to accommodate a 1-liter bottle. We could not verify it but it certainly looked capable. Talking about the doors, it feel heavy and once you shut it, you feel safe. You get such thoughts.

The front seats can be pushed backwards to generate a generous level of leg room. Shall we go to the rear seats now?

The rear seat isn't my favorite spot in the car. It is in fact the last place I'd want to be in if a tall person is sitting in the front, with his seat pushed back. The knee room is average, the thigh support is not comforting, and lacks a height adjustable head rest. Consolation comes in the form of the quarter glass panel which allows extra light to enter the cabin. The head room is also generous.

The Figo's rear windows are not powered. You have manual winders which are placed at an awkward position and your elbow impacts the plastic cladding over the wheel arch every time you operate it. A shorter person or kids should operate them with lesser effort than I did.

If you think the Ford missed the opportunity to gain the attention of the Auto Expo visitors, you're wrong. The Figo is a revamped Ford Fiesta that's stopped selling in Europe recently. It has got some of the Ford Kinetic design cues, true, but it doesn't look like an entirely new car. It isn't a breath of fresh air. This could be because from certain angles, it mimics the bigger Fusion which has been selling in India for many years.

In the second part I discuss how the drive was and sum up all the aspects of the Ford Figo

Ford Figo Image Gallery

if you're unable to view the image slideshow above, head directly to the Ford Figo Image Gallery to see the images

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