2016 Ford Figo: Five things that could make it the best hatchback under Rs 5 lakhs

Following the Ford Figo Aspire compact sedan, the Figo hatchback is expected to reach the Indian market as early as October 2015, reports Economic Times. Given that Ford India has not just priced the Figo Aspire right but has also specced it well (both in terms of features as well as engines), we expect the same with the Figo hatchback. And that brings us to five things that could possibly make the upcoming Figo the best hatchback under Rs 5 lakhs.

Engine

Ford Ka Brazil Figo India front

The Ford Figo Aspire comes with three engine options: a 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre diesel, and a 1.5-litre petrol (only available with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox). Unlike the previous (okay, outgoing) Figo petrol which felt a bit powerless, the engine now gets variable valve timing, which should solve performance issues to some extent. The Figo hatchback will benefit a lot from that. In case of the diesels, the 100PS engine in the Aspire diesel makes it one of the most powerful vehicles in the segment.

In terms of competition, most vehicles in the segment use a 1.2-litre petrol engine (Hyundai Grand i10, Honda Brio, Maruti Suzuki Swift, Volkswagen Polo etc.), so it’s going to be quite an interesting scenario. In terms of diesels, Hyundai uses a smaller 1.1-litre unit, while the Marutis use the Fiat-derived 1.3-litre engine.

The final power outputs will have a lot to tell, but if the engines are carried over with identical figures, then Figo will sit on top of the comparison charts. And with a ride and handling package that could match the potential of the engine, the new Figo might just become the best driver-oriented car in the segment.

Presence of the third 1.5-litre, automatic gearbox equipped petrol engine isn’t sure yet. But if it makes it to the Figo, then expect it to be a riot! The dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t take too long to shift, and does a better job than most other automatic units in the market. Performance oriented automatic this side of Rs 7 lakhs, anyone?

Ride and handling

Ford Ka

The outgoing Figo was always an enthusiast’s car. The direct steering, well balanced suspension, and low seating position worked wonders for it. The new Figo hatchback is going to be slightly different in that aspect, as the early reports of the Figo Aspire suggest. The Aspire gets an electric power assisted steering instead of a hydraulic unit, and the suspension handles bad roads well, but at the same time it doesn’t feel disconnected, and thus the driving pleasure is very much intact. The same can be expected from the Figo hatchback, too.

India has a variety of road conditions, so you can’t really stay happy either a stiffly sprung suspension or a soft one. There has to be a balance, and the Figo Aspire seems to have got it right. The 174mm ground clearance might is similar to what others offer in the segment. We can expect the same from the Figo hatchback too, while given it won’t have a boot to carry around, it could end up being slightly nimbler as well.

Features

Ford Ka Sync

The Figo Aspire gets two airbags standard across all variants except the top one, which gets a total of six (frontal, side, and curtain), while ABS is also standard from the second variant onwards. If Ford India manages to do something similar with the Figo hatchback, not only will it make Figo one of the safest cars on sale (and make it our list of the same!) but will also ensure that the customers don’t have to empty their wallets to enjoy features that must be standard.

Other worthwhile features on the Figo Aspire include the SYNC infotainment system (available on select variants only); MyKey – a key that lets the owner set the vehicle’s speed limit and even set a maximum volume for the infotainment system; and even automatic climate control. Expect them to be offered on the Figo hatchback as well.

Pricing:

Ford Ka Concept Upcoming Figo rear

Ford got the pricing right with the Figo Aspire – it starts at Rs 4.9 lakh for the base petrol and Rs 5.9 lakh for the base diesel. The company will certainly have to consider that the Figo has the potential to pull in customers from both B-segment (think Grand i10, Chevrolet Beat, Maruti Ritz etc.) and also from the slightly bigger and premium offerings like the Swift, the Polo, etc.

Currently the Figo starts at around Rs 4.14 lakh, ex-showrom, while others hover in the Rs 4-5 lakh bracket. The new Figo, at about the same price will obviously have the price advantage, and will be able to justify the price with a heavy-ish feature list (hopefully!).

Styling and interior

Ford Ka Concept Upcoming Figo front

It’s a very subjective thing, the styling, but the Figo is going to look the freshest of the lot. View it head on, and the wide grille stands outs. The overall proportions weren’t wrong in case of the outgoing Figo, but the new one looks more rounded, and in  line with the current design philosophy.

Same goes for the interior, which unlike the outgoing Figo, resembles what customers get in the Fiesta and the EcoSport. The fit and finish is a step ahead of the predecessor, while the presence of light-coloured interior also comes down to personal preferences.

[Editor’s Note: The upcoming Figo was first showcased as the Ka Concept, after which it went on sale in Brazil as Ford Ka. The Indian version can look slightly different, while the overall design and silhouette will remain unchanged.]