Can the new Ford Figo Aspire be a modern day Ford Classic?

You saw this coming, didn’t you? Every time Ford launches a new car (especially the ones of late), there’s a comparison being drawn to what unquestionably was the best Ford India product ever – the Fiesta or as it was later called, the Ford Classic. Let’s not break the tradition and see how well equipped the new Figo Aspire is, not just in terms of features but also overall ride and handling, and of course, pricing.

1. Looks

Ford Fiesta 1.6S

(Image courtesy Overdrive)

The then-called Fiesta (fifth generation globally) came to India replacing the Ford Ikon (fourth generation globally), which true to its name had become an icon in itself. The Fiesta/Classic took it forward. In terms of looks, it offered simplicity with adequate design cues to keep it interesting. The 1.6S was an outright looker, but even in the lesser trims, the Fiesta managed to look decent.

Figo Aspire

The Figo Aspire provided a clean slate for Ford. It’s based on a modified version of the current platform, but with a 4-meter length constraint, the company had to design it from scratch. The new design comes with a very smart-looking front end, a proportionate side profile (even while being under 4 meters) and a flat-ish tail section which does a better job than most compact sedans in the market.

2. Ride and Handling

Figo Aspire rear
One thing that earned Ford Classic the respect and love that it enjoy today was its handling. The very direct steering, a decent suspension setup, and a great driving position still remain its USPs.

With early first drive reports already in, we do have an idea of what to expect from the Aspire. To start it, the steering is now an electrically assisted unit (unllike the hydraulic unit in the Classic and the outgoing Figo hatchback), like the one found in the EcoSport and the new Fiesta. There’s a good amount of grip, and as Overdrive says, it could just be the best handling car in its segment. It runs on 14-inch rubber, but ride quality is another aspect where it shines, both in terms of handling bad roads or doing highway runs, where it feels stable. That’s also sorted, then.

3. Features

Figo Aspire interior
We’ve come along quite far from the last time, and while Apple CarPlay or Android Auto might still not be a norm, the SYNC system in the new Fords is much better than previous generation systems. And with a more competitive set of cars around, other features like steering mounted controls, power windows, keyless entry, etc. are available.

What really stands out is the fact that all variants get passenger and driver airbags as standard while the top variant gets side and curtain airbags, too, hence taking the total count to six. Another interesting feature is the availability of its configurable ‘MyKey’ key, which lets you program and restrict the top speed of the vehicle and even the audio system’s volume.

4. Engines

Figo Aspire gearbox
Like in the features department, there has been a slight jump from what Ford offered in the Classic and what’s being offered in the Figo Aspire. To start with, the engine options include a 1.2-litre petrol (same as the one on the outgoing Figo but with variable valve timing), a 1.5-litre diesel (shared with the EcoSport and the new Fiesta), and a 1.5-litre petrol (shared with the EcoSport). The first two are offered with manual gearboxes, while the latter gets a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic unit, which is the same as the one in the EcoSport automatic.

In terms of power, while it remains to be seen if the Figo Aspire comes anywhere close to the erstwhile 1.6S, but in comparison to what rivals offer, it’s got all bases covered. The diesel is going to be the most popular unit, and with a 100PS output and a claimed 25+ kmpl fuel economy, there’s a good reason for that as well.

5. Pricing

Figo Aspire side
The car will be available in four trim levels: Ambiente, Trend, Titanium, and Titanium+. The automatic versions (complete with features like ESP and hill assist) will only be available in the Titanium trim.

Prices start at Rs 4.89 lakh for the base petrol and go all the way up to Rs 7.25 lakh for the top-spec petrol. The petrol automatic will be available at 7.79 lakh, while prices for the  diesel Ford Figo Aspire start at Rs 5.49 lakh. The top-end diesel, Titanium+, will set you back by Rs 8.25 lakh. These prices are ex-showroom, New Delhi.

All in all, the Figo Aspire seems to be THE product that the compact sedan/saloon segment needed. It doesn’t skip on features nor does it look too disproportionate. And as far as it being a modern day Fiesta Classic is concerned, given what it offers, the car might just be able to do that, too. Beating the 1.6S is going to take some time (and effort), but as an everyday car (with added driving pleasure), the Figo Aspire should prove to be a good product. And that’s what the Ford Classic was all about.

You can read more about the car in our launch report here.