The Indian mid-size hatchback market is currently dominated by the Maruti Swift and Hyundai’s Grand i10. These two cars collectively gather about 27000 new customers each month – the Figo used to sell over 2500 units a few years back but with competition becoming better, sales starting going down South. However, the new and repackaged Ford Figo promises to deliver on most accounts. Is it really a match for the segment leaders now?
The 2019 Ford Figo has received about 1200 changes. Yes, its a number that is hard to digest but this is an official claim by Ford. The new Figo gets a host of changes inside and out including a new petrol heart under the hood. And then there is the revised pricing – but more on this later. Let’s have a look then at the new Figo across various parameters
The Freestyle and updated Aspire were perfect examples of smart looking everyday cars from Ford and the new Figo continues to build on the same philosophy. The overall design or the body shell remains unchanged but there are ample tweaks to make the 2019 look fresh and appealing. Numbers first – it continues to be longer than the Swift and the Grand i10 and is wider than the Hyundai offering as well. At 2490mm, it offers the longest wheelbase in the segment too.
Up front, the 2019 Figo receives a new bumper that is inline with the one seen on its sedan sibling. The images you see here are of the top spec BLU trim that is now the range-topping variant. As the name suggests, there are ample blue coloured inserts around the body and BLU badging too. The Ford logo up front and C shaped fog lamp inserts, for example, get this treatment. The grille on the new Figo is tweaked and gets a black finish on the BLU model.
Next, you get larger 15-inch alloy wheels for the BLU model and revised 14 inch wheels for the lower trims. The BLU version also gets a contrasting black roof that gels in well with the black outside mirrors. This effect does add to the sporty look of the new Figo. At the back, you have a revised bumper that gets inbuild black inserts. There is more sticker work on the lower part of the boot lid as well. Overall, changes on the outside have made the Figo look much better than its previous iteration. At the same time though, front DRLs or day time running lights are surely missing on the model. Do remember, both the rivals offer this feature.
Design summary: range-topping BLU version looks sporty enough. DRLs missing though.
Remember the best in class wheelbase I spoke about earlier? That comes in handy when you get inside the Figo. Space is something most owners of this segment want in their mid-size hatchbacks and this is one area where the Figo continues to score top marks. Nothing has changed in this area. Ditto for the overall design and the colour theme that continues to be all-black. What has changed is the feature list. First is the inclusion of the push-button start that surprisingly comes without smart entry. So you still have to access the key from your pocket to unlock the car. Note both the rivals offer a true smart entry function.
Next change is the new touch screen infotainment set-up that has inbuilt navigation and also doubles up as a display for the rear camera or showing which door is open at any particular given time. Surprisingly, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have been given a miss. The new Figo also gets auto headlamps and rain sensing wipers in the top spec variant.
Talking of which, the top spec BLU model gets blue inserts on all the four door pads and even contrasting blue stitch for the seats. There is BLU branding on the seat backs as well. Nice touch there! The Figo continues to be good in terms of ergonomics and practicality – no change here. That said, rear passengers will definitely be missing the convenience of dedicated rear vents but on the other hand, have ample space in terms of shoulder space and knee room.
Interiors summary: Remains spacious and gets added features. But not enough to challenge rivals
The 2019 Figo comes with a choice of three engine options. The diesel option continues to be the same 1.5 unit that does duty in the EcoSport, Freestyle and the Aspire. I am a fan of this engine and why not? Not only does it put out the best in class power and torque figures, the (almost) negligible turbo lag makes it an apt urban tool as well. It continues to come with a 5 speed manual ‘box though Ford claims the new gearbox is better to use and is lighter too. The result? The diesel Figo gets ‘crisp’ and sporty gear shift actions. I drove it extensively in both slow moving Jodhpur traffic as well as on the open highways leading to Khimsar and was mighty impressed with the punch on offer.
The NVH levels too are well under control which makes the deal even better. Want the icing on the cake? Unlike rivals, the Figo diesel is priced just Rs 80000 over the petrol sibling. At this price, the Figo clearly is the most affordable 100PS car out there in the market. For the record, both the Grand i10 diesel and Swift diesel offer just 75 PS of power.
The manual petrol model of the Figo gets a new 1.2-litre DRAGON series engine that we first saw in the Freestyle and later on the Aspire. It replaces the older model and now offers 10% more power and 7% higher torque. All this without sacrificing on the ever important factor of ‘kitna deti hai’. This also means the Figo offers 13 PS more power and 7 Nm higher torque than both the Grand i10 and Swift petrol models. Further, it also gets a new 5 speed gearbox that is lighter and consumes 40% lesser gear oil.
So does it feel on the move? Not as torquey as the diesel ofcourse but stand alone, a gem of a unit. Why? For starters, the NVH levels for a 3 cylinder motor are very very impressive. No unwanted vibes either. Next, the amount of torque available low down in the rev range is great which means fewer gear shifts in traffic and hence slightly better economy as well. For example, at about 1200 rpm, the Figo petrol does about 45-50 in the 5th gear. A gentle tab on the right pedal is what makes it move forward easily. Simple as that. The clutch too remains light and pedal to metal, the Figo petrol delivers, hitting in excess of 170 on the speedometer without much protest. We don’t recommend this though!
And there is the 1.5-litre petrol that is offered with a 6 speed torque converter automatic. This combination gets you 123 PS of power and 150 Nm of torque and is the same unit that we see on the bigger EcoSport as well. While we didnt get a chance to sample this model on the drive, going by my past experience, the Figo automatic should be a hoot to drive. In contrast, the Grand i10 gets a 4-speed automatic and the Swift gets a low cost AGS / AMT set-up. This model is also the most affordable 120+ PS car in the country!
Drive summary: Great punchy engines, low NVH levels, superb gear-shift actions
Ride and Handling
The first generation Figo was known for its dynamics that got lost somewhere when the second generation model was introduced. Ford rectified it by launching the sportier S version but sadly, we don’t get this one for the 2019 update. The BLU model is just an aesthetic update with similar suspension and steering set-ups. Don’t get me wrong – you can still enjoy the Figo and have ample grinning moments but will miss the fun factor of say the Swift.
But that aside, for your everyday runs, you will appreciate the light steering that makes parking a breeze. Visibility is excellent and this combined with peppy motors makes the Figo a very good urban runabout. The suspension too remains largely absorbent, taking care of everyday undulations without an issue. I did get a chance to sample the Figo at highway speeds for an extended period of time and was impressed with its high-speed manners.
We didn’t have twisties to play around with but did take the Figo off the road for some fun. Oh boy, did she respond well? Its easy and predictable to get the rear out at times and the Figo always remains confident and does not make you feel nervous. The brakes need a special mention – the bite is good and they work well when you drop the anchors at triple digit speeds. Do note the automatic variant gets electronic stability program as standard.
Summary: Remains an easy to drive car for city runs
The new Figo will be sold in three trims only. These include the base Ambiente, the loaded Titanium and the sportier BLU. While all three are available with the manual petrol & diesel models, the automatic petrol will only be sold in the Titanium trim. Along with this, Ford has also worked hard on getting the prices right. Let the numbers do the talking
It doesn’t stop here. Ford has also decided to offer the Figo with a 5 year 1,00,000km warranty as standard. The earlier Figo, on the other hand, came with a 2-year warranty only and customers could purchase the extended one for 3 years. This surely adds to the peace of mind factor and also helps a customer sell his Figo a few years down the line in a better manner. Ford also claims the Figo has the lowest running costs in the segment and we were surprised to see the larger 1.5 petrol has lower service costs than the 1.2 petrol. Have a look for yourself:
The 2019 Ford Figo is more than an update. In my opinion, its USP is the value for money tag. It improves across all parameters while offering the package at a lower price level. The 5-year warranty and lowest running costs further sweeten the deal for new owners. And before you ask, this is the only car in the segment to offer as many as 6 Airbags. Big shoutout to Ford for this safety initiative.
There are a few areas where Ford could have done a better job I agree. Rear a/c vents, Android Auto / Apple CarPlay, front arm-rest, Smart entry, DRLs etc are missing in the package but I feel these might not be deal breakers. For me its the bragging rights for selling the most affordable 100 PS and 120 PS cars in the country that should seal the deal for Ford. Well done guys!