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Vid6639 15th May 2017 12:02

Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
The Ford Figo Sports Edition has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 6.32 - 7.22 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• A hatchback that'll bring a smile on your face when you're in the mood for some fun
• Tasteful cosmetic modifications. Looks stylish
• 1.5L diesel is a cracker of an engine & worthy of the Sports badge. Good driveability too
• Improved dynamics & high speed ride quality (low speed ride has some firmness though)
• Still a well-priced hatchback in this segment
• Cabin offers good legroom and a chilling air-con

What you won't:

• Available only in one variant. Sadly, it's not the Titanium+ with 6 airbags and SYNC
• Commuter 1.2L petrol is unimpressive. Not a sporty engine at all
• Interior quality is strictly average
• Light steering feel at high speeds (on center position)
• Light build quality is a departure from the usual Ford sturdiness
• Cabin width makes the Figo suited to 4 adults, not 5. Rear headroom is limited as well


Vid6639 15th May 2017 12:02

Since the Ford Figo has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on the changes made to the Sports Edition. For easy reference, here are direct links to the complete Figo road-test:

Exterior Design & Build Quality

Interior Design, Space & Features

In-Car Entertainment

Interior - Rear

Engine, Gearbox, Ride and Handling

Other Pertinent Points

The Smaller Yet Significant Things


Vid6639 15th May 2017 12:02

So, what's new on the outside?



The first-gen Figo, which was launched in 2010, had arguably the best dynamics of any hatchback being sold with go-kart like handling and an old school hydraulic steering. I had one for 4 years and remember Moderator Ajmat (while driving it from Bangalore to Pawna) commenting, "This thing is like a go-kart!" However, with the old 1.4 TDCi mill, it was under-powered. In 2015, when Ford launched the new Figo, it was evident that it catered more to the mass market than to enthusiasts. While the powertrain was upgraded to a 1.5L unit pumping out 99 BHP, the dynamics were nowhere close to the old car, thanks to the electric power steering and softer suspension setup. Other than the cracker of an engine, the Figo had moved away from its roots.

Somewhere along the way, it looks like Ford decided to do something about it. What you see here is the Figo "S" Sports Edition. Just donít get excited with the "S" badge on a Ford and start dreaming about the old Fiesta 1.6S in that lovely blue shade - the Figo S is a slightly tamer vehicle.

Thankfully, the changes on the S variant are more than skin deep. The cosmetic changes - both inside and outside - are tastefully done and not overboard. The biggest changes that matter are related to the tuning of the suspension. The Sports Edition is being offered only on the Titanium variant of the Figo, which is one below the top-spec Titanium+. This means, if you want the Sports Edition, you get the sports package, but lose out on the 6 airbags and SYNC system :Frustrati. Ford should have surely offered the Sports trim on both - Titanium and Titanium+ variants. The pricing of the Sports Edition is Rs. 50,000 more than the regular Titanium which seems fair for what you get; however, it's priced a few thousands above the Titanium+ variant which gives you 6 airbags! A dilemma indeed for buyers as to which variant to pick. Fortunately, the Figo is already well-priced and even the Sports Edition undercuts other hatchbacks in the segment (e.g. Grand i10).

So, what all has changed in the Figo Sports Edition? On the outside, you get a new black honeycomb mesh grille, smoked headlights, blacked out ORVMs, dual-tone paint scheme, 15" black alloy wheels with wider 195/55 profile tyres, a bigger rear spoiler and some decals on the side + rear bumpers.

The new front grille is from the UK-spec Figo. Gone are the horizontal chrome slats. In their place is a black honeycomb mesh with a matte silver border. Classy:


From the rear, the Figo looks like it is sitting squat. The wider tyres jut out, rather than sit inside the body line:


Side view shows the black alloy wheels and lowered ride height:


Ford has managed to get the right amount of aggression into the Figo S. The modifications are tastefully done and this car really makes you turn around & look as you walk away from it:




The Figo's stance changes completely, thanks to the reduced spring height and larger rims:


Lowered stance truly stands out from this angle:


Smoked headlights look neat...with a piano black strip on the side:


A close up of the honeycomb mesh grille. The upper holes are actually sealed:


ORVM covers are finished in glossy black:


Since the turn indicators are on the ORVMs, the fender has a blanked-out portion finished in, you guessed it - black:


New design 15" black (yes, black is back!) alloy wheels with 195/55 Apollo Alnac 4G rubber:


Notice how well this larger wheel + tyre combo fills up the wheel well. The 14" & 175/65 combination looks puny in comparison (reference image):


Likewise at the rear. The reduced ride height and larger wheels are a perfect fit. Rear wheels still get drum brakes. Ford should've taken this opportunity to offer all-disc brakes:


The only things that look out of place on an otherwise tastefully done up exterior are these silver + black decals on the sides with the "S" badge. Ford could have skipped these:


Roof gets the glossy black treatment:


Larger spoiler adds to the sporty character and works well aesthetically:


Yikes! The rear bumper gets those cheesy decals as well:


Apart from the white & black theme pictured above, the Figo Sports Edition is available in this hot red & black combo...


...or in all-black with a white roof. Hottttt in the pics, but doubtful on how she'll look in person. The car is also available in gold + black and silver + black paint schemes:


The black colour gets these nice white inserts on the rims to break the monotony:


A parting shot outside Ford's Sanand plant where the Figo is manufactured. This was a rare media drive organised in Gujarat:

Vid6639 15th May 2017 12:02

So, what's new on the inside?

Step inside and the changes are minimal. While the regular Figo has an all-black cabin with silver inserts, the Figo Sports gets piano black inserts on the center of the dash, steering wheel and doors. Other than this, the only changes are the leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching (I had done this on my old Figo) and the seats with red highlight stitching (instead of white):


Leather-wrapped steering wheel gets piano-black inserts:


Zooming in on the contrast red stitching:




Silver out, black inserts in - even on the doorpads...


...and the door handles. Ford could have called this car the 'black edition' :D. Overall plastic quality is just about average. The Figo's cabin doesn't really give a premium feel like the Elite i20 does:


Seats and headrests get red stitching too (vs the white of the regular Figo):




A close look at the piano black effect of the center fascia. It's a fingerprint magnet. Note the absence of the SYNC infotainment display since this is the lower Titanium trim. Instead, you get Ford's My Dock system, in which you can dock your smartphone. USB & AUX ports are located here:


Red stitching continues onto the boot of the gear lever:


Rear seat is the same as the regular Figo:

Vid6639 15th May 2017 12:02

Driving the 1.5L Diesel



Coming to the changes done under the skin, Ford thought "why fix something that ain't broken", and didn't mess around with the 1.5L TDCi engine. More power is always good, but the Figo's 1.5L diesel motor was always a cracker of an engine. So, it's understandable why they didn't touch it. What Ford has done is played around with the dynamics of the Figo to make it more entertaining to drive. The Figo Sports Edition gets a suspension system similar to the UK-spec Figo. Both - the front and rear springs - have been chopped off and thus, been lowered by 10 mm. The anti-roll bar has been beefed up and the car gets wider 195 mm tyres with 15" wheels. The overall ground clearance has gone down by approximately 4 mm, since the larger wheel/tyre combo partially makes up for the drop in suspension height. As a result, the Figo Sports sits much more squat than the regular version and the wider + larger wheels fill up the wheel wells completely. The new stance makes the car stand out the most in terms of visual appeal.

So, how good is the Figo Sports to drive with these changes? We drove through the streets of Ahmedabad during early morning rush hour, which led us out onto a 4-lane highway and then onto a single-lane highway culminating in the Rann of Kutch. Enough has been said about the cracker of an engine the Figo has, so I'm not going to go on about it too much. In short, thanks to the lighter weight of the Figo compared to the EcoSport, the Figo just flies in any gear. In second gear particularly, it is explosive while passing slow-moving traffic. I found myself intentionally slowing down and then downshifting to second just to fly past slow vehicles. You don't really need to downshift, but the sight of a budget hatchback rocketing past bigger, more powerful cars is just too much fun! I'm pretty sure the Figo can keep up with even cars like the Jetta on state highway roads. There's minimal turbo lag and you can get away in second gear from near standstill speeds. The motor performs best in the mid-range between 1,700 rpm and 3,500 rpm. Beyond that, the gains aren't much and the engine begins to sound coarse & strained. It will revv till its 5,000 rpm limit, yet it's best to upshift earlier.

The 5-speed gearbox has ratios that are well spaced out and you can cruise on the highway comfortably at triple digit speeds without a downshift to 4th, even when overtaking slow vehicles. Gears are slick to slot in and I found them smoother than in my EcoSport. The clutch though, is on the heavier side and a little springy. This is a disadvantage in stop/go traffic.

Ride and Handling



While driving the Figo Sports around town, you will initially wonder whether the suspension is indeed tuned for a sporty feel. Thatís because this Figo rides as well as the old one at slow speeds. Itís only when you hit sharp speed breakers or potholes that you feel the underlying firmness. As speeds increase, the ride actually improves compared to the regular Figo because thereís less vertical movement and the vehicle remains flat. In effect, the ride quality over bad roads hasn't deteriorated too much, but high speed composure has become superior. In terms of handling, when you push the Figo into corners, you notice lesser body roll due to the shorter springs and stiffer anti-roll bar. That's not to say body roll is completely absent, as the suspension isn't tuned towards the extreme side, but it now has a slight bias towards the fun-to-drive end of the spectrum. The Figo Sports is also more eager to turn in and will hang its tail out ever so slightly if you lift off the throttle mid-corner. The biggest improvement overall is the composure at high speeds, lesser body roll and eagerness to turn in.

On the flip side, there is still one aspect which Ford should have looked at improving and thatís the steering response. While the suspension is eager and willing to comply with an enthusiastic driving style, the steering lacks feedback and is on the lighter side. It does weigh up as the speedometer climbs, but it does not give you confidence at the 'straight ahead' position. On center, the steering feels light even at high speeds! However, it is fine off center. So when pushing through corners, it's pretty competent. It's only on the open straight highways that you feel the steering is disconnected. Just wish that Ford had copied the erstwhile Fiesta's EPS tuning here. The Apollo tyres aren't known to be the best when it comes to outright grip. The new 15" wheels and the 195/55 Apollo Alnac 4G tyres are better than the 175/65 R14 tyres found on the regular Figo. But a set of sportier rubber from Michelin or Continental is a must-have upgrade if you're buying this car. It's very easy to reach the limits of the Alnacs and they easily squeal under hard braking or cornering. In fact, even with wider 195 rubber, it is easy to get the front wheels spinning in second gear!! Shift from 1st to 2nd aggressively and you will hear the front tyres struggling for grip, and letting out a squeal often.

Not too worried about the slight loss of ground clearance as the suspension has been firmed up. I didn't scrape any speed bump in my GJ drive.

A sporty hatchback and miles of salt flats at the small Rann of Kutch. Me having some fun :D:






The 1.2L Petrol

Ford only had the 1.5L TDCi Sports edition for us to sample, although the company has also launched the Sports edition with the 1.2L Ti-VCT petrol engine. Now, this engine can hardly be called 'sporty' and is strictly a commuter motor, so I don't think I missed much. Nevertheless, the option is there. Ford could have actually used this opportunity to get a real Sports Edition with the petrol by keeping the 1.5L Ti-VCT from the automatic variant, but coupled to a manual transmission. Now that would have been something - 1.5L Ti-VCT + 5 speed manual + sports suspension!

While the diesel engine hasn't been touched, Ford has given the 1.2L motor a minor tweak. The biggest complaint with the 1.2L was the lack of low end grunt. In fact, our Aspire review of the 1.2L mentions this:

Quote:

Torque at initial rpms is just enough, but not too strong. Somehow, the older Figo's 1.2L appears to have better response at low rpms
Quote:

Ford needs to work some more on this engine as the competition offers more capable 1.2L petrols.
To overcome the dull low end response, Ford has added a "secondary clutch switch" and tuned the ECU accordingly. What this secondary clutch switch does is, it lets the ECU know more accurately what position the clutch is at. A single clutch switch (which is normally used) will tell the ECU when the clutch has been released or depressed. The secondary clutch switch will tell the ECU when the clutch is fully depressed as well, thereby preparing the engine for the next gear change and increasing the rpm so that it doesn't stall & moves off easier from a standstill. With this more accurate information from the 2 clutch position switches, the ECU has been programmed to prevent the car from stalling and getting bogged down in traffic. Can't say how that works in the real world without driving it.

It may be recalled that the regular Figo 1.2 petrol does not get a front anti-roll bar. Well, the petrol version of the Sports Edition has been given the same beefed up anti-roll bar and chopped off springs as the diesel. We will have to wait and see how much of a difference these changes have made to the driving experience of the car when we get to drive it.

A few images from the salt flats:





Vid6639 15th May 2017 12:02

The Aspire Sports Edition

Ford has also launched the Aspire Sports Edition. While it gets the same mechanical changes as the Figo Sports Edition, it loses out on some of the cosmetic tweaks. As a result, the price for the Aspire Sports is only Rs. 34,000 more than the regular Aspire Titanium. If you're looking for a sporty compact sedan, the Aspire Sports is your only option. Just like the Figo S, the Aspire S is based on the Titanium variant. This means that the car does not get leather seats or the SYNC system which the Titanium+ variant gets. Additionally, it gets only 2 airbags against the 6 present in the Titanium+.

Aspire S doesn't get the dual-tone paint scheme, which means no black roof and ORVMs for this Ruby Red shade:


Smoked headlamps on the Aspire Sports Edition - just like the hatchback:


Front grille is similar to the regular Aspire. However, the horizontal slats are finished in piano black (instead of chrome):


Grille has horizontal slats and gets a subtle chrome border, unlike the Figo S which has an all-black honeycomb mesh grille with a silver border:


The Aspire too gets 15" alloy wheels, but the pattern is different compared to the Figo. They are not black either. The design is identical to the facelifted Fiesta that was launched in 2014:


Similar decals on the side look awfully cheesy:


A compact sedan with an S badge - a first in this segment:


Decals on the rear bumper as well (like the Figo):


The Aspire too gets an all-black cabin:


All-black cabin makes a big difference as the regular Aspire has a beige + black interior theme:


Steering wheel is leather-wrapped with white accent stitching:


The seats also get white border stitching:


White contrast stitching on the leather boot of the gear lever:


Disclaimer : Ford invited Team-BHP for the Sports Edition test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Aditya 15th May 2017 12:19

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing!

dhanushmenon 15th May 2017 13:00

Wonderful review there Vid6639. Having spoilt myself in the old gen 2010 Figo, I was quite depressed by the handling of the later gen. Good to know that the drivers car is back and am eager to get behind the wheels of the Sports edition.

Great review again. Thanks for sharing

hemanth.anand 15th May 2017 13:10

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
Looks beautiful in White. Cosmetic changes are tastefully done.
One gripe, it should have come in the fully loaded version.
Just one question, where does it stand in comparison to the GT Twins and Baleno RS?

vishy76 15th May 2017 13:11

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
A very detailed review into the changes made to the aspire and figo. :)

Volkswagen should learn something and beef up the Polo GT tdi with a better suspension. As of now, there simply isn't enough that differentiates the GT TDI and the ordinary Highline variants.

The figo might not be the purists car that the Fiesta 1.6s was, but then how many of us actually use our heart blindly while buying cars. Except for the steering, I don't see why the Figo can't be called a hot hatch.

Ford has done a good job in differentiating between the ordinary aspire and the 's' variants IMHO. Maybe a touchscreen would have done the job, but maybe I am nitpicking here. The 1.2 is a lethargic engine. Ford shouldn't have offered it in these variants at all.

This is the perfect balance between heart vs head :D

arindambasu13 15th May 2017 13:11

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
Finally!! The much awaited review is finally here. Great work and superb attention to detail as usual. Blows all the magazine and youtube reviews right out of the water! The Figo has always been a great package with that stonker of a diesel, and now that its come in this improved avatar, the proposition is rendered even more compelling. Love those alloys especially in the white and black trim. Rally need to get to that Ford showroom and take her out for a spin.

tharian 15th May 2017 13:30

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
Was eagerly waiting for this review especially since I will be getting my Aspire S next week.

The white stitches on the Aspire should have been red as on the Figo and they should have re-designed the speedometer console on both.

Apart from that, I am hoping this lives up to the super driving experience I have had with my previous gen Figo for the last 7 years.

PraNeel 15th May 2017 14:04

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
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What a wheel design and paint scheme!! Absolutely delicious!! clap:
This should have bee standard on the sports edition of Figo and Aspire.

I don't know why Ford has not given the same treatment to Aspire? Additional 16k is justified for dual tone paint scheme, mirrors, sporty grill and black alloys. Coupled with a black cabin this would have made it a hot looking sedan with above dual tone killer alloys. :Frustrati

kiku007 15th May 2017 14:11

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
Am I the only to feel the choice of location for the media drive (a salt pan) to be a visual disaster? The cars are full of dust and the wheels are eek.

And let me get this right,

1. Ford India takes Ford Ka.
2. Tinkers with Ford DNA i.e replaces Ford ish parts with Maruti ish parts.
3. Tries to sell Figo twins in India. Typical Maruti buyer doesn't care. Typical Ford buyer is shocked and disappointed.
4. Eureka moment at Ford. Replace parts tinkered in #2 with the original aka Ford Ka parts and sell it a premium as Figo Sports.
5. Typical Maruti buyer still won't care. Typical Ford buyer may buy; but wait he can't have all. He can't buy it with 1L ecoboost or 1.5L Petrol or Titanium+ trim. Force him to choose the dieselclap:

Even though this is a good attempt from Ford, I cannot forget the fact that the damn car should have been with this handling spec from day1.

myavu 15th May 2017 14:49

Re: Ford Figo Sports Edition : Official Review
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vid6639 (Post 4198677)
Since this is based on the Titanium variant, it loses out on adjustable headrests

But none of the variants (in regular Figo) including Titanium + provide adjustable headrests.:Frustrati:Frustrati


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