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View Poll Results: Which car would you wanna be seen in?
VW Polo (Petrol) 275 62.50%
Ford Figo (Petrol) 165 37.50%
Voters: 440. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 16th March 2010, 16:39   #1
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Default VW Polo vs Ford Figo Comparison (My take!)

So you are in the market with anywhere between 4.5 to 6 lakhs to spend. You are looking at a petrol hatch with oodles of space and decent ride. Whats high on Mr.X's radar is probably low on Mr.Y's. With things like looks, driveability, price, space, *snob value* (status), etc in your mind before you make the decision to put your hard earned (or inherited by chance) money on a hatch that fits the bill.

With so many cars in the hatch (premium hatch, B+, whatever the definition might be) segment you are spoilt for choice. Thats what probably makes it most confusing too. As probably no car fits the bill and gives you all that your heart Dezires (no no I m not refering to Swift Dezire). This brings us to the thread in question.... 2 new players in the market, competing for your money. One attempting to provide low cost luxury in this segment, the other aiming to give you old wine in a new bottle. Who will come out on top remains to be seen...

Before I begin dissecting both cars.... please read the following disclaimer. I am in no way shape or form associated with either of the brands. The views here are not mine alone but shared by a group of my friends that I took the test drive of both vehicles with.

Exterior Looks

VW Polo: If looks were to kill, I'd probably kill to own a Polo. This coming from a guy who lived 5 years in various geographies. In Europe they'd probably make fun of someone driving a small Polo. A decent graduate wouldnt want to be seen near one. Even the Bora/Jetta would be like a entry level ride before u settle in to a Passat in your mid life. Golf, may be yes I could have considered it, but Polo, that probably doesnt even figure in the discussions when it comes to a car buying decision in the West. Back to shining *India* Polo becomes a different proposition. Thanks to the high excise duties Polo holds great aspirational value in India (never figured why ppl with low income actually pay more for cars/electronics here when labor is cheaper... but I will save that for later for my election campaign when I decide to stand for office ).

With cars like Swift, i10, Ritz, and the likes dominating the 4 lakh+ range, Polo all of a sudden becomes a car with *snob value*. The looks are totally non-offensive, has a premium feel, for 4.3 lakhs ex-showroom for the base petrol, the car ticks all the right boxes in the looks department. Only car that can hold its own when it comes to looks when compared to Polo is Punto. Than I think its upto an individuals taste. But not only are the exteriors pleasing to eye. The car feels solid. Looks solid. If you look closely at rear wiper, or underneath the bumper, you will see finishing is above par of what we are used to for this segment.
One can argue that they have lost the plot at the rear with front reminding you of any VW sedan. But to me, I think its the most desirable car externally in this segment.

Rating: ***** (5/5)


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Ford Figo: When I first saw the car in pics, I was dissapointed to say the least. If Polo was something that I would aspire to own, Figo would have been something that I would like to be as far away as I possibly could have been. For me the Ikon inspired front and the Fusion inspired rear just didnt gel. Coupled with the fact that automotive knowledge told me thats its an old Fiesta platform, I found the pictures/tv shows showing a car that looked dated. This impression however changed quite a bit (perhaps due to my low expections) when I saw the car in person. I mean this car looks a lot bigger than your i10's and the like. Its bang on in the Swift/i20/Polo territory in terms of size. And the size does give it road presence. Its an old style, nothing flashy like the Beat, nothing sophisticatingly (if there is such a word) charming like Polo, but it had an understated presence you cant ignore. With meaty alloys and rubber, it wouldnt be an eye catcher, but it would definitely be something that I can be found in. Than again first impressions are the most unbiased. Figo grew on me, but Polo was instant love. Therefore I think from an unbiased point of view, before my own subjectivity crept in, I would defnitely give Figo a lower rating. Its as contemprory as a Swift, but Swift too has begun to show its age, and Figo is 2 years too late with its design in the Indian market. Would that be a deal breaker??? Probably not!!! But it wouldnt be a sweetner either.

Rating: *** (3/5)


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Interiors

VW Polo: Now anytime I stated that I loved the interiors of Polo, people would point me too Fabia. Interestingly enough I had never seen the Fabia from inside, but as luck might have it, Polo's showroom and Skoda share the same permise here in Delhi. So I took a look of Fabia before making my way to Polo again. To be honest for 1 lakh rupee more, Fabia didnt impress me that much interior wise over Polo. Yes definitely the Fabia steering was to die for, but everything else was ceterus paribus. One thing you will notice in Polo is that there is so much attention to detail thats not even found in cars of higher segment like SX4 and the likes. All panels fit correctly, and everything excludes quality (relative to its segment). Sitting in it makes you feel like you are driving a car segment higher. Egronomically its very comfortable to ingress and seats have decent amount of thigh support. The steering of course speaks costs cutting and so do the AC vents. But there is this undistinguishable European feel to it. It doesnt look like an Indian hatch (ala Santro, Swift, etc) that I am used too. All in all I was very happy inside the Polo.

Rating: **** (4/5)

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Ford Figo: Ok there is this one thing that I absolutely *hated* about the Figo when I first saw its pictures.... was the absolutely horrendous redissh interiors of the Figo. I mean what were the engineers in Ford smoking??? Its not a massarati wrapped in red leather seats.... Its a B+ segment hatch for christ sakes. Not only was the color putting me off, but the overall panels screemed dated, borrowed, and something that I had already seen. To me it looked like Ford decided to make a dashboard with the material they had, and in the process they seem to have lost the plot. However after looking at the car in person I actually didnt find it that offensive. The black interiors blend in and the red after a while becomes part of your environment. From a first look point of view its odd, but its definitely not as dated as Baleno/Esteem. So overall I was actually pleased to see the dashboard in person. And the steering is very very chunky to hold. Ford, next time please give an integrated music system and not a black plastic afterthought stereo which looks like an aftermarket mod job. Everything considered, I would say its comparable to Swift at best. Nothing to die for, but nothing that cant be lived with.

Rating: ** (2.5/5)

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Space

VW Polo: I would love to own a Polo if I self-drive. Caz most definitely Polo is not a car to be driven in at the backseat. With front seats all the way back, Polo is a nightmare at the rare (mind you thoug, they do travel quite a bit thanks to the car being designed with 6ft european ppl in mind). But up in the front the car has ample space and great shoulder room for two adults. Plenty of storage spaces, bottle holders and a middas touch in form of sunglass holder in the parcel tray... (oh so wish I had one as I sat on my Ray Bans last week). The trunk has storage space unseen of in this segment (excluding one Jazzy product in the market). If I was to rate Polo alone comparing with Swift, I would definitely give it a five, but when your comparing it with Figo.... mmm.... see the rating below.

Rating: *** (3/5)

Ford Figo: Ok if there was one USP of Figo, its this. Thats why this special section. Figo SPEAKS space... It has oodles of it. The rear leg room is unheard off in this class, thanks greatly to its wheel base (exceeding that of even Polo). Figo is the cabin to be in, with huge glass area, this is one car that you would want to be in as a pillion. If space is the criteria alone, no other car than Jazz would be able to *beat* Figo (not the Chevy Beat). But Ford has not been very generous when it comes to giving bottle holders and cubby holes. The bottle holder next to the gear knob is wierdly shaped and very inaccesible. In other words, car has space like Jazz, but is not as practically designed like a Wagon R to exploit the space in form of cubby holes etc. But the space can still be felt and enjoyed. The trunk is at par with Polo if not marginally more. Thumbs Up Ford!!!

Rating: ***** (4.5/5)

Drive

VW Polo: If there is one sour point that Polo and Figo Petrol hatches have, its perhaps their uninspiring engine. The 1.3 ltr Swift Petrol and the new 1.2 K Series from the Maruti are still the benchmark for this segment. What was VW thinking by giving us a 3 pot 75 ps engine??? Mmmm lets think, Indian market, aspires for a premium hatch (tick), which looks good (took), is cheap to own (tick)..... how do you price Polo at 4.3 lakhs base??? Any ideas... Well Sir Jee with cows and rikshaws on the road people generally dont drive over 100 inside the City and on highways the most they manage safely is 120 kmph. But haa mileage kitna deti hai is a deciding factor here in India..... German man thinking... tick tick tick... Idea lets give them our 3 pot 75 PS engine that does a 0-100 in a respectable 14 or so seconds.. If only the 3 pot could be as refined as a 4 pot, and if only max speed meant everything. What about in gear acceleration and torque??? VW are you listening.

The first thing you notice when you start the Polo is the engine clatter. Never before have I seen it to be so pronounced in a petrol car. The test drive offered was short and near dealer compound so I couldnt really go beyond 3rd gear. The engine was rev happy, but for me even the K series in A Star is more refined than the engine doing duty in Polo. God only help those driving Fabia if its engine is supposedly worse than the one doing duty in Polo. Polo was like a georgous girl that you want to go home with, only to find out at night that she has a heart condition (pace maker) and wont do things you'd like her to do (heart being the engine). To summarize, all go and jerky (rev happy but unrefined) show.

Rating: ** (2/5)

Ford Figo: On paper the Figo is not much better than the Polo. Its down on bhp and with roughly the same kerb weight it does take its own sweet time to reach 100 (16 or so seconds). The only thing in its favor being that its a 4 pot motor. And boy does the 4 pot motor makes wonders. The engine is smooth, its silent and pulls well through the gears. After driving the 1.3 ltr Swift I found the second gear in K-Series Ritz to be uninspiring and relatively slower. But the 2nd gear in Figo pulled effortlessly. The car is tuned for City ride, and in crowded conditions it felt no different than my Swift. If you would have told me it had more horses, I would have believed you. But... the lack of power does show, specially as you reach higher speeds as it begins to run out of air. But 0-80 driveability, comfort and smoothness of this car is ROCKING!!! I will never go merely by numbers again. I did drive the diesel mill, but thats another story for later.

In other words you are at the bar, you see the chic you like has gone with someone else, you see this average looking girl at the bar and decide you will give her a shot. You go back home with her thinking you didnt get lucky today, only to wake up in the morning with a smile....(mods please excuse the smiley rule, its a long post, so please cut me some slack).

Rating: *** (3.5/5)


Ride and handling

VW Polo: Giving Polo a 2 in the engine actually undermines the fact that its handling and suspension are perfect. That made me come up with this new section. In Polo you find the right blend of comfort and handling. The steering gives good feedback and the car is as sporty as the Swift and as comfortable as the erstwhile Corsa.

Rating: **** (4/5)

Ford Figo: If I was to rate it in isolation, the old Fiesta platform is great. The steering is precise (segment leader) and the ride is cushioned enough. But it just looses one star when pitted against Polo. Ford is still to perfect the German craft when it comes to handling.

Rating: *** (3/5)


Features/Value for Money

VW Polo: The highline has all the things your heart desires, but when pitted against i20, and for its price, it comes short. No climate control, not steering mounted audio controls are the dampners to name a few. However there is no way to put value to things like the Alloys are to die for, or the stereo looks and sounds amazing.... But features are always in regards to price, and for its price, the features offered leave a lot to be desired.

Rating: ** (2.5/5)


Ford Figo: I appreciated Honda when they made safety as mandatory with Airbags and ABS as mandatory on all their models. And with Figo, Ford has at least broken the huge price barrier between its models. No longer are ABS/Airbags warranting the premium/price difference level that maruti commands. Ford has ticked all the boxes in features and price. The components might not look premium, but they are defnitely priced correctly. Its more like features have taken precendence over form. Though one cant complain about climate control at its price... but Ford could have definitely left some dampners, adjustable steering, omission of Fog Lights, rear power windows and alloys makes it a bitter pill to swallow.

Rating: **** (4/5)


After Sale Support

VW Polo: Now VW is new in the market. But with few dealerships, its quite evident even while taking test drives that VW is not ready to handle large volumes. By pricing Polo like they have, they have ensured that they are not targetting Swift/Figo like volume as that would be sucidal for them. But they are more in line for handling 1000 units per month, the original target for a car like Fabia. Of course having burnt their fingers with Fabia they will hopefully do a better job with Polo as evident by their pricing.

Rating: ** (2.5/5)

Ford Figo: By looking at the sheer number of new dealerships Ford has opened and with their CEO and everyone taking interest in Figo right from its pricing to its spares. I think the future for Figo is looking bright. Going by the past Ford image however, one can only be catious. As once bitten twice shy.

Rating: **** (4/5)


Snob Value

VW Polo: Now this is a section that you wont find in many auto mags or reviews done here in TBHP itself. But as controversial as it may sound, many will buy the Polo to own the VW badge and the brand perception that companies spend millions of dollars in marketing cant be ignored. Therefore this rather subjective section. In other words, you drive a Polo you would be noticed and you will definitely get bragging rights for whatever they are worth in a B+ segment hatch, and you will also get exclusivity as Figo would be more affordable and seen on road.

Rating: ***** (5/5)

Ford Figo: Its not the most desirable car to be in. Fords image is rather confused in India with their dated offerings and mismanaged portfolio. Driving a Figo would be like driving a Swift. People will associate it with 3.5 lakh ex-showroom price. You know how Indian mentality (which I am a proud part off) is like, ppl read the ad with base price and than they see you in the top model, and think you are driving a car thats for 3.5 lakhs. It works great in bringing ppl to showroom only to find out that the meaningful model is 4 lakhs onwards, but it also effects the brand.

Rating: *** (3/5)

Overall Rating

Well to summarize, I had a bias towards Polo when I started my journey for a B+ new hatch. I had an inherent dislike for Figo. In the end I ended up rather confused. The practicality/price and temptation of Figo made the decision not to easy. Figo did leave me impressed and tilted my views towards it though I havent made up my final mind yet. A car buying decision has lots of things that go behind it, money, exclusivity etc being a part of it. Depending on your budget and situation different criterias would appeal to you more.... But to summarize, Figo is definitely an old wine in new bottle, but the older the wine the better it is

Overall Rating VW Polo: 28/35

Overall Rating Ford Figo: 28/35

The moral of the story being, I started by reviewing both cars, and ended up where I started. More confused than ever before. The stats tell the story. Both cars appeal to different buyers and will carve space for themselves in already crowded B+ segment. To each his own

P.S. Sorry for the typos, too lazy to recheck .

Disclaimer: The photos have been taken from TBHP with due respect and credit to the original photographers.

Last edited by Dippy : 19th March 2010 at 09:19. Reason: Deleting extra smilies
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Old 16th March 2010, 17:02   #2
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Thats a pretty good comparison. I never knew Figo is more spacious than Polo. Looks like Figo ticks enough boxes at a lower price and should be received better by the market than Polo.
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Old 16th March 2010, 17:18   #3
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Welcome back Aseem!

It is indeed a good comparision. The key thing to note here are both are make or break cars for the manufactuers
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Old 16th March 2010, 18:10   #4
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Polo is surely a winner over here as it is well built European hatch with good ergonomics, comfort,ride and handling.
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Old 16th March 2010, 18:22   #5
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No one could have put the comparison better.while polo appeals to the heart figo appeals to the head.
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Old 16th March 2010, 19:05   #6
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We have only Indica Vista competing with Figo, I mean price and features wise.
With that price its Figo for me as we already have better cars at Polo's price!!!

Last edited by HammerHead : 16th March 2010 at 19:06.
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Old 16th March 2010, 19:22   #7
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Ford must seriously think offering the following on Figo't Zxi and Titanium variants to lure family buyers for big volumes

1) Providing 60:40 split seats at rear with ajustable hear rests
2) Rear power windows
3) Rear door storage pocket
4) Rear 12V socket
5) Fog lamps
6) console box between front seats
7) Audio & phone control buttons on steering wheel
8) Most important A/T option at 25 to 40K price


Ford must offer Figo Diesel Titanium A/T with all these new additions and price it 5.75L ex-showroom price Chennai.


Ford can easily incorporate all the above to make Figo Zxi/Titanium variant the best in segment by their price, features, equipment and most suitable car for city and highway for aspiring indian families .

Once ford bring Diesel A/T variant(s) at 5.75L ex-showroom prices, Ford will see a their market share jumping to two digits instantly.

Last edited by harimakesh : 16th March 2010 at 19:24.
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Old 16th March 2010, 19:30   #8
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I have voted for the Polo mainly for the interior & looks.

The drive & ride, as factors for making choice are subjective, as one person may prefer the settled ride over sporty handling.

Yes, at present VW have a long way to go on the service network but Ford is bit better only after (~) 15years of operation in India. VW will sure ramp up the network as they know in order to become numero-uno they have to have big numbers in India & China.
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Old 16th March 2010, 20:09   #9
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Default Polo for me

I voted for Polo and even booked one My priorities were as follows,
- good looks
- snob value
- good FE
- ride and handling should be above average
- elegant and practical interiors
- should have decent acceleration
- boot space
- 2-tone beige interiors
- space in front and decent space at rear
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Old 16th March 2010, 20:53   #10
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Thanks for the feedback guys... One thing worth mentioning but I forgot to include in my original comparison is the AC in Figo. Its a chiller! I mean it. I am not sure about this claim being valid but as per the sales person this has got the biggest compressor in segment. Be it as it may, I was feeling cold within minutes on a hot afternoon drive. So Ford gets some extra brownie points for that.... If only Ford had given more contemporary interiors and work on the front (maybe even a grill job) they would have an absolute winner in their hands...
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Old 16th March 2010, 21:23   #11
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voted for polo, as the scope was restricted to petrol. But on second thought, its the figo anyday.

1. Better space
2. Better interiors (once you opt for the black dash)
3. Decent boot
4. Fusion/ Fiesta derived (so your definitely getting good bang for your buck)

I think Ford meesed up by puting a metallic algae green car with a pink dash for the launch

Last edited by acidkill : 16th March 2010 at 21:25.
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Old 16th March 2010, 22:59   #12
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Very good comparison Aseem.
Agree with aditya116 that it is a heart(polo) or head(figo) call.In many forums polo is compared with i20 segment where as figo compared with swift/beat/ritz segment.So is polo and figo in the same segment or is it like Polo's snob value taking it to the next segment?
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Old 16th March 2010, 23:30   #13
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Voted for the Figo because

1) Its more fun to drive
2) Big on space
3) Value for money.. i expected steering controls and more features in the polo for the price it is coming with
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Old 16th March 2010, 23:36   #14
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I have voted for polo here not that i do go after brand but figo seems to be too much of cost cutting and cheap(on comparison with polo) feel is very evident the moment you pull the handle to open the door.The colour scheme even though optional is an eye sore.Polo on the other hand is well build and looks like a complete car.figo again looses points on little things like no power window for the back seat. The quality difference is very evident if you get a chance to see the cars back to back..
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Old 17th March 2010, 00:06   #15
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I would never make a mistake of comparing a Figo with Polo directly. The Ford on one end is focussed on delivering VFM at any cost even while making some compromises. This car is based on the dated previous gen europeon Fiesta platform with custom facelift for india. I dont mean to say its a bad car but this car appeals more to the head than the heart. The Ride and handling is superb and the engines are tried and tested but this car offers little pose value.

The Polo on the other end instantly appeals to your heart just like the Punto but if you are of the kinds who does too many calculations before any purchase buy a Figo.
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