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2017 Ford Aspire diesel: Observations after a 2500 km road trip

Yes, I did miss the lack of cruise control. Not because of tiredness, but rather for getting lower than expected mileage figures.

BHPian NaXal recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello,

Last month my 2017 FordAspire TDCi turned 5 years old, and I went out for a 10 days long drive to the mountains.

Kolkata to Dooars and Darjeeling.

I have done the major Kolkata to Dooars and Dooars to Kolkata stretch on single day. Meaning close to 700 kms each on first and last day of the trip.

Trip report in no particular order.

Car facts:

  • Purchase date:- April 2017
  • Total odo:- 38k (Approx.)
  • Last service:- 5/6k kms earlier
  • A/C & air filter age:- Almost 16/17 months.

(Usually I change the air & cabin filter at every service, but at last service, my SA insisted for keeping the previous since they were in very good condition and Ford in anyway doesn't recommend this at every service).

  • Major work:- Nothing, its still on stock clutch / brake pads. Only the front suspension (incl steering assembly) was changed under warranty. Battery was changed a month ago.
  • Tyre condition :- Almost new (OEM make and model) at front and factory given tyres are at back. -> Read more.

Occupants:

  • Total :- 4 (including Sr. Citizen)
  • Driver :- 1 (me only)
  • Boot :- Overflowing.

Highway Performance:

The first and last part of the trip includes 700 kms (each end) of highway driving. The road includes 70% of good 2x2 section and 30% of really poor single lane and under construction section.

One can go to the first page of this thread and read the points mentioned in the "likes". So true even after 5 years. This BS4 TDCi still rules the highway. 215nm of torque with a wide mid range torque band is perfect for Indian driving conditions. Riding the Turbo is such addictive. Specially in the single lane sections, keeping the engine just around 1500 rpm, waiting behind a truck. See an opening, floor it and such brutal acceleration makes the overtake feel so easy.

It was so enjoyable to open up the throttle on those long empty 2x2 sections. Larger engine offering engine braking and perfectly tuned gear ratio meant staying on 5th for an effortless one paddle driving.

Suspension tuning is just perfect for these type of extreme long distance runs. Soft enough to keep the ride comfort aided by the soft & such comfortable seats.

Broken patches were really well handled by the suspension, yet it is hard enough to inspire those aggressive lane changes and maintaining a stable sure footed drive in those silly tipple digit speeds on those 2x2 long and empty tollways.

Yes, I did miss the lack of cruise control. Not because of tiredness, but rather for getting lower than expected mileage figures. You see, the steering feedback is excellent, you really feel connected. So are the brakes, progressive action and excellent bite makes you feel always in control, even at those tipple digit figures. Any enthusiast would easily run at a much higher cruising speed than his mental mileage speed limit, unless paying close attention towards the speedo.

A/C & the climate control logic needs a special mention.

It was and it is still a bone chiller. The climate control maintains the temperature really well. However I do miss a rear A/C vent. Not because of the rear passengers, rather for the front. See, the blower has enough power to reach and cool off the rear bench but when the climate control logic turns down the air flow, the rear feels little uncomfortable. You may manually need to turn the blower a notch higher and that makes the front occupants uncomfortable. Circular 360deg rotatable vents helps to certain extend in these conditions, allowing you to divert the flow but rear vent would have been perfect. One would never need to touch the ACC controls.

Overall, excellent long distance high speed mile muncher. Really comfortable for passengers.

Jungles of Dooars:

Nothing much to report from driving point a view. Road conditions are just like dream. Smooth, zero undulation, light traffic and dense greenery.

Only regret are the speed humps. It seems they mistakenly put those made for elephant speed humps on automotive traffic routes. Scraped the underbody few times. Nothing serious but any car lover would feel my pain.

Queen of Hills:

  • Places visited (Major names in no particular order) :- Darjeeling / Kurseong / Kalimpong / Ghum / Lava / Lolegaon.
  • Highest elevation :- Less than 10,000 feet.
  • Road condition :- Stiff climbs, very narrow sections but road conditions are excellent.

Turbo, turbo and turbo. Climbing is such effortless compared to the 1.2 NA patrols of the same class. Even with the A/C on, overflowing luggage in the boot, there were not a single instance where the engine felt doubtful.

At times in city traffic, one may feel little uncomfortable with the relation between 1st and 2nd gear ratio but this short 1st gear and relatively non existent turbo lag makes life so easy on the hilly traffic. Up shifting to 2nd on higher rev range keeps the engine right on the torque band.

Although the suspension is towards the softer side for ride comfort but body roll is very well controlled. Specially on those hairpins with stiff climbs, zero complains from the passengers on motion sickness.

This car is on 14 inch wheels, running the stock OEM make and model tyre. One of the so called negatives. It is supposed to be under tyred. Even Ford gave the facelift 15 inchers with 195 section rubber.

However, there were few instances where due to some moronic oncoming traffic, I got stuck on a climb, few very stiff inclines. But the car had enough traction from these 175 section tyres to grip and climb without any wheel spin or rolling back.

They say, there is no replacement for displacement and its shows when getting down from the hills. Engine braking takes some pressure off from the brakes. However, it is no EV regenerating braking. So depending on your downwards momentum, brake application is always needed while getting down. Heat is well managed in these kind of conditions. Never faced any brake fading or hardening issue with the brakes.

West Bengal Forest Department Tourist Bungalow at Lava presented the toughest climbing challenge. The property was under renovation. The climb was in anyways really stiff on top the road was broken and full of loose stone chips.

Saw a local alto turning back and finding parking on main road.

However, I underestimated the ability. Torque and traction was more than enough. Climbed it without breaking a sweat.

Compared to Himachal / Uttarakhand / JnK, Darjeeling and surrounding destinations of West Bengal are really old settlements. Himalayan part of the West Bengal is really small. One can drive all these destinations on single day.

However, such heritage beauty bring its own challenges. Roads are extremely narrow. Townships are jam packed & extremely congested. Parking is a nightmare. Larger SUV may feel superior with their AWD/4x4 but in this part of the country, smaller size of Aspire makes life easier.

Conclusion:

  • Total kms covered:- Around 2500
  • Overall mileage (Fuel Economy):- Car reported 18, but surprisingly 18.8 as per tank full to tank full method.
  • Toll paid:- Around Rs. 1600/-
  • Regret 1:- Those speed humps of Dooars.
  • Regret 2:- Should have changed the air Filter before the trip and should have dropped the cruising speed on highway.
  • Regret 3:- The hard clutch. It is the only thing I hate about this car.
  • New learning 1:- Nitrogen in tyre works.
  • New learning 2:- Even with toll + highest ever diesel price, spending around 15k for the entire trip (transport, Fuel + toll) is dead cheap compared to equivalent comfortable reserved transportation.

Ever since Ford left and after this car turned 5, there was that new car itch.

Even when you have other newer options at your disposal, you would always feel that itch to replace one older machine with another shiny new machine. But this kind of trip pushes those thoughts out of the window. Flawless and explosive performance, excellent comfort and reliability, treat to drive.

What more one can ask from his machine? What else can be it's replacement at this VFM price range?

Sadly, at present, nothing.

Thanks.

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