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Finding a replacement for my Ford Aspire under Rs 15 lakh

I'm satisfied if the vehicle has decent straight line stability, corners reasonably well and doesn't bottom out easily.

BHPian buzzy_boy recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Background

I had a 2017 Ford Aspire 1.5 TDCI - which I upgraded to from a 2010 Figo 1.4 Duratorq. While I loved the way the older Ford drove, the Aspire was a bit disappointing. My major gripes were:

  • Non-linear throttle response
  • This combined with a clutch with a high bite-point meant that careful clutch operation is required to avoid jerks - especially in stop-go traffic
  • Plain handling, washes wide too easily
  • Quality of gear shift a far cry from the old Figo
  • Poor rear suspension that used to bottom out with a full boot over bumps
  • The guard below the front bumper scraps easily. It is soft and gentle scraps don't break it, it was still an irritant nonetheless

So, I sold it off when the used car prices soared during the pandemic. Now, I'm in the market for a new car.

Requirements

  • Decent power to weight ratio (preferably > 100)
  • Boot larger than 325 litres
  • Does not understeer at reasonable cornering speeds - unlike the old Aspire
  • Does not bottom out with a full boot
  • Petrol
  • Automatic preferable. If not, good drivability with a light clutch.
  • Budget Rs 15 lakhs max on-road (lower the better)
  • Safety
  • NA petrol preferable due to linear power delivery
  • Fuss free maintenance

The shortlist

  • Venue 1.0 turbo IMT
  • i20 N-Line 1.0 turbo IMT
  • Honda City 1.5 Petrol MT
  • Baleno dual-jet
  • Verna 1.5 VTVT

Ask

Among those in my shortlist, the i20 N-Line is the best handler. My question is which one of them is the best among the rest? I have a low bar; I'm satisfied if the vehicle has decent straight line stability, corners reasonably well and doesn't bottom out easily.

Thanks in advance!

Here's what BHPian IshaanIan had to say on the matter:

Unfortunately they simply don't make cars like that anymore (normally aspirated with sound driving dynamics).

I suppose the best of the small car bunch in terms of driving dynamics would be the Swift although it won't feel as sure-footed as your original Figo would have. Might I suggest test driving an S-Cross petrol? I know it only comes with a weedy 1.5 petrol mill, but a remap and crisper throttle tune could just make it enjoyable enough provided you are able to wring it out confidently (Maruti has always had light and extremely predictable clutches on their petrol cars).

Here's what BHPian VWAllstar had to say on the matter:

Moving from an Aspire Diesel to a petrol would disappoint you further. Completely agree with the hard clutch operation of Ford Diesel cars, it's a pain literally in B2B traffic. However, even today there are very few cars which can be as much fun as Ford Aspire / Figo Diesel.

Considering your running has gone considerably lower and now preferring a petrol, you have a plethora of options. Hyundai N Line fits your budget and as per the Team BHP review, it is just how you want it to be. If your mentioned requirements are unmoved, then I20 N Line is the perfect choice.

  • Under 15L - check
  • Decent handling - check
  • Petrol - check
  • Automatic - check (2 options)
  • Fuss free after sales service - check
  • Boot size - reasonable

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Because you sold your Aspire prematurely, it is very important to select the right car, something you can stay with for 7 - 10 years. Selling cars early results in massive depreciation hits. Whatever you do, be sure to take multiple test-drives to reaffirm your choice this time.

Hyundai's have good suspensions now. From your shortlist, I would pick the i20 N-Line DCT (NOT IMT as you are a driving enthusiast). Would also consider the Polo TSI AT / MT, Venue DCT / MT & Rapid 1.0 TSI.

Don't know if you are open to pre-owned, but a Compass 2.0 Diesel, Octavia, S-Cross 1.6L & Seltos Turbo-Petrol will keep you mighty happy.

Here's what BHPian akshay380 had to say on the matter:

Do check the Tata Altroz diesel too. Very sorted dynamics. In fact, I was in similar boat as you previously. Owned a first gen Figo 1.2, eagerly waited for newer-gen Figo twins only to be disappointed by the exact same points mentioned by you. So went and bought a pre-owned Fiesta 1.6 for those fun drives. Recently picked up and Altroz diesel and was very surprised at how well it steers, helps that I have 205 sections on it though.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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