Ford Figo diesel road test

We test drive the Ford Figo diesel hatchback

After the relative non-performance of the Ford Fusion in the Indian small car market, Ford Motors really had to do pull off something with its next attempt to capture a substantial share. That they seem to have done with the recent launch of the Ford Figo small car in both petrol and diesel versions.

Brilliant pricing

The company launched the Ford Figo in India on 10 March 2010, and customer response was instantaneous. Pricing was bang on target, with 3,66,886 lakhs for the Figo Petrol LXI and Rs 4,69643 for the Diesel LXI in Mumbai (ex-showroom). Makes us think, what if Ford had managed to get the price of the Fusion right too?

Ford India sent us the top-of-the-line diesel Figo Titanium variant, powered by the much acclaimed 1400 cc Duratorq TDCI engine coming from its big brother Fiesta. We will be getting the Figo petrol for another road test very soon. As always, we have a bunch of photos of the Figo for you; and if you are impatient, scroll all the way down for a comprehensive road test photo gallery of the Ford Figo.

Ford Figo diesel titanium photo during road test
Photo: Ford Figo diesel top end Titanium version; note the wheel caps. Sorry, no alloys

Ford has used the last-generation Ford Fiesta’s platform, which was one of the most renowned hatchbacks of its kind from Ford worldwide. The front of the Ford Figo follows Ford’s ‘Kinetic design’, that we can also see on the Indian Ford Fiesta sedan. Clear, big headlamps mated with the rounded bumpers define the Figo’s front end. The overall look is quite handsome, but not as contemporary as say, the Volkswagen Polo.

The side profile of the Figo reminds you of the Fusion, but then this looks like a much better and trendier version of the Fusion for sure! Muscular wheel arches and a roof that slopes downwards towards the rear end, and the blacked-out door frames along with a big quarter glass makes this the best angle to view the Figo.

ford figo features pic
Photos, clockwise from top left: The Ford Figo's panic brake light, doors, wind-up door at the rear, powered rear view mirror, music system with Bluetooth connection to mobile phone, and pedal placement.

The rear of the Figo is also quite attractive, due to the strip tail lamps and the rear glass which gels well with the tail lamps, giving it a much wider stance from the rear.

Ford Figo: Interior

ford figo dashboard photo
In your face? That's the 'coral' dashboard on the test Figo. Normal black too available.

Step inside the Figo, and you realize that this is a big roomy car. Cabin space is abundant, and at par with the Hyundai i20 and the Skoda Fabia. The Figo we had came with a ‘Coral’ dashboard – translated into human, that means reddish in color.

This is the first car to offer an option of 2 colors to choose from for the dashboard: The Coral which we had and the normal Black finish. Some liked it and some didn’t, but we just loved the attention that the Coral dash got from everyone we showed the Figo to.

The steering, control stalks and other small nitty bittys are all from the elder brother Fiesta’s parts bin and that’s a good thing too.

Height adjustment for the steering is missing in the Figo – that would be very welcome if Ford could introduce it.

Instrumentation is practical and dials are not difficult to read. Something we liked on the instrument cluster is the backlight that slowly glows when the headlights are switched on and softly fade out when the lights are turned off.

The rear wing mirrors in the Ford Figo Titanium variant are electric. Another commendable feature in the is the ‘Distance to Empty’ display which informs the driver as to how many kilometers more the car would run with the available fuel in the tank. Centre console has the brushed aluminum finish to it, and so do the round AC vents can be adjusted through 360 degrees – very useful in the summer, and we had ample chance to use it during the road test of the Ford Figo.

The aluminum effect continues on to the gear knob. The MP3 stereo on the Figo Titanium variant we had for the road test came with an in-built Bluetooth module. It allowed us to to pair our mobile phone with it and then turned into a hands-free mobile phone through which one can make and receive calls, access the phone book, get SMS notifications. It also has Bluetooth audio streaming capability.That sounds quite similar to what you get in the Blue-and-Me system of the Fiat Linea, doesn’t it?

Ford cars are always known to be very efficient in the cooling department, and the air conditioner in the Figo worked wonderfully throughout the road test. It didn’t take more than 3-4 minutes to chill the cabin on a hot Mumbai afternoon, that too after parking the Figo in direct sunlight.

Overall quality of the plastics, switches and knobs is top class as most of them come from the Fiesta which is a costlier sedan.

Seats are supportive and on the stiffer side, which is just that one needs for those long drives. Height adjustment is available on the driver’s seat. As we said earlier that the Figo’s cabin is very roomy, headroom and leg room are abundant.

Seat fabric is black with coral linings to match with the dash. Door pockets can take a 1 litre bottle easily and there are small pockets and cup-holders everywhere to rest your mobile phone, keys, cans etc.

ford figo steering photo during road test
Photo: Ford Figo cockpit

The rear seats of the Ford Figo are correctly angled for back and thigh support, but there is no 40-60 split for the rear seats.  Rear legroom felt bigger than that of the Volkswagen Polo which we road-tested recently. The headrests on the rear seats are fixed and the same height as the parcel tray, which aids in reversing the Figo. Power windows are there only for the front passengers in the Titanium variant – which is the top-end Figo. Ford officials told us that very few people use the rear windows, and hence they did not see the need to add a powered rear window. Rear power windows are conspicuously missing even on this top-end variant of the Figo.

This can sometimes become a problem: I was driving the Figo, when the sounds of traffic intruded into the cabin. At first, I thought the Figo was not very well insulated from external noise. And then I realised that one of the rear windows were slightly open. No rear power windows, remember? The only option was to stop the car, unbuckle the seat-belt, reach all the way back and wind the window up! Which I did, all the while grumbling about making rear power window switches mandatory by law. Related story: Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Figo: A comparison

This may not matter to many of you, who as Ford told us, do not roll down the windows and sit all the time in a chilled cabin.

Another major gripe we have is that the rear windows do not roll down fully. Again, this may not matter to many – Fiat cars too suffered historically from this!

Overall the interiors are very practically designed and build quality is very good.

Boot and safety

ford figo boot picture
Pic: Figo's boot is larger than the Swift's

The Ford Figo has one of the largest boots in the B-segment class: 284 liters. That is larger than the boot of the Suzuki Swift at 213 liters.

Safety features on the Ford Figo Titanium is at par with some of the sedans: Airbags, 3 point seatbelts, lap strap for the passengers at the rear, intelligent central locking, panic braking tail lamp warning, ABS, EBD to name a few.

Ford Figo road test: Ride and handling

The 1.4-litre Duratorq diesel which drives the Fiesta also powers the 1.4 TDCI diesel Ford Figo, and we know the capabilities of this engine well.  The Figo diesel has got superb drivability, fantastic low and mid-range response for city driving and on the highway it performs well too. Rated at 68 bhp with 160nm of torque at 2000 RPM, this is a very drivable engine in any RPM and has a nice meaty roar. This Bharat IV compliant engine is very smooth.

Ford claims 0-100kph times of 15.8 seconds for diesel models and we managed to get close to that.

The Ford Figo on the move, behaves in a very tame fashion. Power delivery is linear and not frightening. The diesel engine’s turbo is present and the buildup is precise and sane. This 1.4 TDCI motor is more inclined towards efficiency rather than outright performance. It is not underpowered anywhere through the rev range, nor did we find a turbo lag at any speeds.

The Figo’s gear ratios are well sorted, and driveability in any gear is decent. Overtaking was not a problem anywhere during the road test, but if you are thinking in terms of instant pickup then look elsewhere. This gem of an engine is tuned just right for Indian road conditions and stop and go traffic.

ford figo road test photo
Photo: Ford Figo is a sweet handler, however outright acceleration is not its forte

Power to weight ratio plays an important factor on the Ford Figo as its lighter and smaller as compared to the Fiesta, and the same diesel engine does duty in both.

Remember –  the Fiesta 1.6S is the best handling car available in its segment, and the Ford Figo benefits massively from Ford’s dynamic expertise. With independent McPherson Sturt with dual path mounts in the front and an semi – independent Twist Beam coils at the rear this is another sweet handler. Driving on 175/65 R14 Tubeless radials and assisted with ABS and EBD, braking was sharp and precise. No problems whatsoever were noticed by us during cornering, and the Figo felt well-planted at all times.

The Ford Figo can give you that big-car feel. The ride quality in city and highways was good enough. It handles well, and the interiors are very roomy, larger than the segment leader Suzuki Swift and the car comes with a two year or 1 lakh kms warranty with long service intervals.

ford figo logo

And what’s the mileage?!

Mileage figures of 19.5 kmpl on mixed driving conditions didn’t surprise us cause this 1.4 TDCI is acclaimed for this virtue. For our non- Indian readers: Mileage means fuel economy figures in India!

Ford dosent want to leave any stone unturned this time, Ford recently created a stir by appointing 28 new dealers in one day and has promised after high quality after-sales service and support.

Things we liked on the Ford Figo

Capable, robust engine

Big car feel with lots of space inside

Largest boot best in class

Bluetooth connectivity  – MP3 player

Panic braking warning tail lamps

Lane changing indicators

Mileage/ economy on the efficient TDCI engine

Things we missed on the Figo –

Rear power windows

Height adjustment for the steering

Dead pedal

60-40 split rear seats

Rear windows don’t go down fully

No alloys on the top end variant

Colors available

Diamond White

Moondust Silver

Chill

Panther Black

Sea Grey

Squeeze – the colour we drove.

Colorado Red

Ford Figo diesel TDCi specifications

Ford Figo road test photo gallery

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