After reviewing the Figo Aspire on the deserted, open stretches around Udaipur, we wanted to test it on the congested streets of Mumbai as well. So we called for the 1.2 petrol powered, manual transmission version, and drove it around the chaotic urbanscape of Mumbai to find out how things are. Turns out, its as much at home in the city as it was striding the open highways. Here’s a quick log of our experience of this promising new sedan from Ford.
As we have mentioned in our review earlier, the Figo Aspire wins the Indian leg of the compact sedan beauty pageant hands down. The Aston Martin like front end featuring swept back headlamps, the carefully contoured profile all go into making one of the best looking compact sedans around. The wine red paintjob that our test car featured made things only better.
The interiors are a nice place to be in, and the seating position feels just right. The chunky steering wheel does feel a bit more plasticky than ideal, but is great to hold nonetheless. Piano black inserts on the center console and door trims, like always, up the classiness. We were out fielding the top end Titanium trim, which boasted full leather seats, which along with the dual tone (beige + black) upholstery, makes for a pretty radiant cabin.
The seats themselves are cosseting enough for your middle class bottom, and there’s enough room at the back for your mother-in-law to slide in without too much grumbling. The only grouse is the lack of a touch-screen in the center console, considering most of the competition offers savvier infotainment systems. That said, sound quality is right up with the best in class, apart from, of course, the Tata Zest’s exceptional HARMAN system.
As many as 20 storage spaces help a lot if you’re like me, whose personal belongings are always in a state of disarray. So it’s quite convenient to have the wallet there and the keys here, with the phone and shades lying around somewhere else. In a spot of bother with the loose change that the toll booth guy just handed you over? No problem, just clunk it into the dedicated coin holder. Stealing the Constitution of India and making a run for it? You can always hide it in the secret side compartment in the dashboard, which is only accessible when the driver’s side front door is open.
Your smart phone can be housed in the Ford MyDock feature if you’re driving around in a lesser trim level. Read more on that in our exhaustive review. If you’re the thirsty types, constantly in need for a sip or two, the Aspire’s massive front door bins can hold 1.5-liter and 1.0-liter bottle at the same time, with room left over for an umbrella. No more wetting the seats when you rush back into the car after getting those groceries during a freaky Mumbai downpour.
We drove the petrol variant with the 1.2-litre engine, since it is the most likely candidate if your daily motoring time will be spent mostly in the city. This engine is a slightly massaged version of the one found in the erstwhile Figo hatchback. Certain modifications result in an increased peak power of 88 PS @ 6300 rpm, over the old Figo’s 71 PS, while torque now stands at 112 Nm @ 4000 rpm, as compared to the Figo’s 102 Nm. Fuel efficiency is a claimed 18.2 km/l.
When we drove the Aspire petrol in Rajasthan before, it came off as slightly lethargic, especially when pushed on the sprawling, Udaipur – Mount Abu highway. This time however, in sticky Mumbai traffic, the petrol variant gave us a peppier vibe. Response is not the sharpest, but the naturally aspirated revs rise cleanly, and the keener driver will lend an ear to the subtly delightful exhaust note. Pull is adequate in the lower gears, more so when you’re negotiating traffic.
A ground clearance of 174 mm is enough for comfortably clearing speed breakers with a couple of occupants on board.
The ride quality is a bit cushy, which isn’t surprising because the suspension is set up on the softer side. Sharp bumps and undulations on the road tend to make the Aspire bouncy followed by an immediate floaty feeling as the suspension tries to re-acclimatize itself.
Though the new Aspire isn’t exactly a driver’s delight, it’s quite a pleasant vehicle to steer around. It might not be as agile or committed as its brethren from the Ford family, but given its intended clientèle, it does the job perfectly well. Subtle hints of Ford’s driver focused DNA can be felt, though not as evident as in some of the earlier models.
The Ford Figo Aspire offers the right mix of practicality, style and fun. If you’re a city slicker, it’s the more refined petrol powered variant that’ll catch your fancy, rather than the punchy, highway munching diesel powered variant. What’s more, the top-end Tiatnium trim comes with as many as six air-bags, along with a Smart Key for paranoid parents. At a starting price of INR 4.89 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base petrol variant, the Figo Aspire should be big and wide on your radar if you’re out shopping for a petrol compact sedan for the city.
Image Gallery: Aspire in the city