Ford Figo petrol and diesel First Drive Review

(Editor’s note: Views expressed are solely based on my quick rendezvous with the new Figo at a local dealership. I did drive both petrol and diesel variants but missed out on the slightly more interesting dual clutch automatic version. A detailed review shall be done soon.)

Ford Figo review front

Where shall we start? You already know how it looks, and you certainly know that it’s priced competitively, too. In case you’re shy to ask, check out our launch report here. Let’s get on with it, then.

With the Figo Aspire (compact saloon) parked next to it, the new Figo hatchback looks better proportioned. It doesn’t appear to sit too high (ground clearance is 174mm), and the hatch is easier on the eyes than the Aspire’s bland-looking boot. The top variants (Titanium and Titanium+) come with 14-inch alloys, which, along with the wide grille up front and what appears to be a better fit and finish, make the Figo look smarter than before.

Inside the car

The interior is almost exactly like the Aspire’s except the all-black scheme. It looks and feels good, and unlike the earlier Figo, the new one doesn’t have too many rough edges. The seats didn’t prove uncomfortable in the thirty minutes or so in the two cars. The driver seat can be adjusted for height while the steering can be adjusted for tilt, so finding a sweet spot in driving position is easy.

Ford Figo review rear

The view all around is good, so manoeuvring the car around traffic isn’t a big deal. The steering wheel is chunky to hold, and while it never feels short on confidence, it’s more like the new Fords. The earlier Figo felt a bit more direct, in terms of steering feel.

The first impressions of this one suggest there’s a gap between your inputs and the front wheels. Having said that, the Figo is responsive and turns easily – a few quick dabs at the steering at relatively slow speeds didn’t prove to be disappointing. Long sweeping corners aren’t a problem, either, with the car staying planted through the turns. Since the road was smooth, I can’t yet confirm if mid-corner undulations prove to be troublesome or not.

Ride is sorted, and as mentioned above, the Figo stays planted. City roads aren’t a problem, and unlike the older Figo, this one didn’t scrape its underside. At crawling speeds, the bumps aren’t any bigger a problem than they might be in most similarly priced hatchbacks.

The 1.2 liter petrol engine

And the engine? Since the Figo now uses an almost entirely new range of powerplants, this is one of the most interesting aspects of the car. The 1.2-litre petrol engine (now makes 88PS) is about 20PS more than the one in the older Figo. With three people aboard, the car wasn’t very happy climbing a longish flyover. The lack of torque is evident indeed, and while it feels a bit more sprightly, it doesn’t feel like an advantage of 20PS over the previous car. Unless you start to push it, because both maximum power and torque are developed higher in the rev range. It’s okay for city runs but not for quick sprints. But how very Figo of it to make a raucous intake note, once the revs climb. That sounds good.

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The 1.5 liter diesel engine

Talking of sound, the diesel clatter is noticeable in the cabin, albeit the diesel engine didn’t have to be revved too much. The 1.5-litre diesel (100PS)  is punchy and since I got to drive it a little marginally more, I can confirm that it’s going to be very easy live with. The turbo boost becomes apparent at about 1,500 rpm, and catapults the car without too much effort. In comparison to the old car, the new engine feels more punchy. There’s no replacement to displacement and all that…

Transmission and shifting

Gearshift on both the cars is pretty smooth and gears slot in fine. Not really perfect, but not problematic, too. With some momentum, the diesel picks up in 3rd from about a thousand revs, which makes it driveable in stop-go traffic. The petrol needs to be worked hard, but it’s an okay experience, nevertheless. The 1.5-litre petrol engine that comes mates to a 6-speed dual clutch automatic should be very interesting. Not only does it make more power than these two engines, it does a solid job in the larger EcoSport and Fiesta.

Ford Figo review rear

So which one should you buy?

If your commute is going to be limited to city driving, all three vehicles should fare well. The 1.2 petrol still feels a bit sluggish, especially if you drive it after the diesel (sadly, that’s what I did!). It should be able to handle everyday tasks easily but it’s sadly not the most eager engine around. Diesel’s pretty okay, and aside from its lack of love for revs (which the petrol excels in), and added clatter, it suits the car well.

The car is more comfortable and luxurious than the Figo has ever been. Prices aren’t bad, and feature to money ratio is very good. It’s sad that ABS is confined to two top versions only, while the six airbag trim isn’t offered with the automatic.

If I had to choose one variant today, it would be the diesel. This is solely based on how the Figo was to drive. That it’s more economical is a plus.

The Figo is an interesting product. The Figo has grown up, got a larger heart and wears better clothes now.

Prices for the Figo petrol start at Rs 4.3 lakh, ex-showroom, while the base version of Figo diesel can be yours for Rs 5.3 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi.

And the competition?

The new Ford Figo directly competes with the Hyundai Grand i10 and the Maruti Suzuki Swift. While there’s not much to differentiate between the three as they all are good products, with their own USPs.

Let’s take a look at the Hyundai first. In terms of age, it sits in the middle of the other two. Looks wise it’s not a head turner, while the other two are. The 1.2-litre Kappa engine feels more spirited than the Ford’s, but the diesel is smaller and less powerful. It’s a no nonsense alternative but is a bit mundane. It has a few good features and a rear AC vent as found in the Grand i10 isn’t available in the other two here.

The Swift, on the other hand, carries a sporty image, drives really well, and even after all these years, still looks good. It doesn’t feel too roomy on the inside, and isn’t loaded with features, either. Both petrol and diesel engines are adequately powerful.

And the Figo?

Apart from being the newest here, it comes with the largest (and most powerful) diesel engine. It feels more special, and is certainly going to be your neighbour’s envy!

And on top of that, it comes with a long list of features. The most important of which is the presence of 6 airbags on the top-spec version. Neither the Hyundai nor the Maruti here offer that.

Base version of the Figo is the least inexpensive and best equipped among the three. It only gets better as one moves up the range.

And we haven’t yet talked about the dual-clutch gearbox equipped 1.5-litre petrol engine variant of the Figo!