There is a dearth of proper automatic cars under the ₹10 lakh mark in the Indian market. The majority of the small car market is filled with AMTs which are at the bottom of the food chain in terms of technology. AMTs do get the job done but they aren’t the best when it comes to shifting quality or shift times. Ford India however, has always sworn by torque converter gearboxes and now the Figo gets a torque converter unit from the Ecosport mated to the naturally aspirated 1.2-litre three-cylinder motor. Let’s find out if this proper automatic hatchback is better than its AMT peers.
The design of the Figo automatic has been unchanged and it is similar to the facelifted BS6 variant which was launched last year. The front gets the familiar Aston martin inspired cellular grille. The lower end gets foglamps with some chrome detailing.
The Figo lacks LED DRLs and projector headlamps which the competition offers. The side also remains unchanged with the 15-inch alloy wheels. The rear is simple with two halogen tail lamps and some detailing on the lower end of the bumper. The Figo does not have a modern flair when compared to the competition however in terms of dimensions it is the longest in the class and also has the longest wheelbase which translates to better legroom inside.
Open the door and you will be greeted with all-black interiors which are again quite simple in its layout. The Figo may not offer the fancy bells and whistles but it more than makes up for it with its solid build quality. The quality of materials is decent for the class and most of the bits are focused more on practicality. The seat is well-bolstered and provides a good range of adjustments including height. The steering wheel only gets a tilt adjustment function and the instrument console behind it is more functional rather than being modern. The kit offered includes push-button start/stop, 7-inch touchscreen with embedded navigation, automatic climate control, reverse parking camera, automatic headlamps, automatic wipers, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror and FordPass connected car app with 55 features including remote engine start/stop.
The interior also gets a lot of practical storage options all around and the boot space is on par for the course at 257 litres. The knee room and legroom at the back is more than sufficient and the seats are one of the more comfortable ones in the segment. The rear passengers get adjustable headrests however they miss out on rear AC vents, armrest, grab handles and a reading light. The Figo provides a whole host of active and passive features. It gets ABS, EBD, ECS, TCS and HLA. It also offers 6 airbags which are not offered by others in the segment.
The naturally aspirated 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine churns out 96ps and 119nm of torque making it the most powerful naturally aspirated hatchback. Being a three-cylinder unit, it is not the most refined when compared to other 4 cylinder engines. The engine is not too rev-happy either when compared to something like the Swift. The engine has good tractability lower down the rev range and it comes alive after 3,000rpm. 0-100km/h can be achieved around 14 seconds which is slower when compared to the manual variant. What the gearbox does well however is that it’s smooth in its operation. It’s a reasonably smart unit and it shifts smoothly without any head-nod jerks which you will experience in an AMT transmission. The transmission is more suited to convenience and city driving where it shines and not for driving enthusiastically. Speaking of driving enthusiastically, Ford does provide a sports mode and manual control via the +/- buttons on the gear selector. This does quicken the pace a little bit and the transmission upshifts automatically near its 6,500rpm redline without letting you hold on to the gears. The efficiency from this torque converter unit won’t be anything to boast about and it will give around 11km/l in the city and 15km/l on the highway.
Ride and handling
The ride and handling department is where the Figo really shines when compared to the competition. The precise steering weighs up really well and you can really chuck it around corners without any hesitance. The suspension setup too is just right and it offers a great balance between ride and handling. It is not too stiff to prioritize handling and it soaks up bumps well to give you a comfortable ride. The engine and transmission combo may not be suited to the spirited handling that the Figo offers however it is good to know its capabilities to bring a smile across your face when needed. In terms of equipment too, the Figo offers traction control, hill start assist and electronic stability control which offers peace of mind and aids the handling.
The Figo automatic is a perfect choice for you if you prefer a smooth driving experience in the city. It also offers a great ride and handling balance, reasonable service cost, best in class safety features and good build quality. The Figo does fall short when it comes to its efficiency, modern features and performance to match its handling ability. If these drawbacks can be ignored, the Figo offers you a great package at a very attractive price of ₹7.75 and ₹8.20 lakhs for the Titanium and Titanium+ variants respectively. This puts it in the middle of the Grand i10 Nios and Maruti Suzuki Swift which is commendable on Ford’s part to price the much better transmission equipped car on par with its rivals.