The Ford Figo Aspire was showcased in public to gauge interest for the first time. Motoroids reader Samar Narayan snaps and reports:
The compact sedan (CS) segment is quite the craze now in India. In theory it is quite easy to crack for any car manufacturer. Just tell your designers to add a boot to a hatchback and keep the measuring scale ready, shrink the boot to just fit in to 4 meters and Voila! You get a compact sedan. The Swift Dzire dominates this segment and Hyundai and Honda are also key players. Getting into this segment is quite literally taking on the Giants.
And now joining the battle is Aston Martin… erm I mean Ford. There is no mistaking that the front grille of the Aspire reminds petrol heads of Astons, and it is a good thing, because the car looks stunning from the front with that huge hexagonal grill. Another rather rare thing is that the chrome on the grill does not look gaudy at all and adds to the aggressive character of the front end.
The headlamps are large and taper back into the sides, giving an overall combative stance to the front of the car.
Range topping Titanium variant gets ORVM mounted turn indicators.
The rear of the car is more neutral and the boot has been integrated really well into the car. It looks proportionate and the Aspire is in my mind the best looking CS sedan by a long shot. It has got the proportions bang on, and doesn’t look like someone just slammed a boot into a hatch.
Step inside and the car is quite roomy thanks to the Beige theme in the car. The black dashboard adds a lot of character to the interior; although some might say it does not match well with the beige in the car.
The chunky steering with piano black inserts and integrated controls feels great to hold. Outward visibility is good enough.
Chunky shifter is shrouded in piano black trim; should be a hoot to operate.
Instrumentation is tidy, uncluttered and legible to behold
The centre console is finished in piano black trim as well, while infotainment includes the optional SYNC with AppLink, Ford’s in-car connectivity system. SYNC with AppLink allows drivers to control their phone, entertainment and apps hands-free using simple voice commands Other features of the SYNC system include text-to-speech, music streaming and voice calling. That apart, CD, Radio, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity is also available.
The Aspire gets a handy, centrally positioned multi information display and a device dock allows the driver to store, mount and charge mobile phones, MP3 players and satellite navigation systems, and to integrate these devices into the car’s entertainment system.
Two engines will be available, a new 1.2 TiVCT petrol engine which will be mated to the 6-speed PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a 1.5 TDCi diesel which will be exclusively paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. The power and mileage figures of these two engines isn’t out yet, so we shall have to wait for that, although don’t expect any scorching performance, this segment regards good mileage as the tipping point from one car maker to the other.
Overall the car feels really good to be in, it looks modern inside out, and rear legroom is adequate and would seat 3 adults with just a teeny bit of a squeeze.
For the first time in a compact car in India, the Figo Aspire offers side and curtain airbags for an extra level of protection, apart from driver and passenger airbags. In the event of a collision, an Emergency Assistance uses a Bluetooth-paired phone to automatically call emergency responders and provide information about your vehicle and location. The Figo Aspire also has a robust passenger cage created from high-strength steel.
The variants and the features list is not out yet, so we will have to see if they put in at least a driver plus passenger air-bag at the entry level.
As I took one last glance at the car just before leaving, the only thing I thought about is that this car deserves to sell. It’s definitely the best looking CS, is safe, practical and I’m sure will be fuel efficient as well. However this segment is no walk in the park that the Ecosport enjoyed. Get the pricing right Ford, because you surely have a winner in your hands.