The Ford has unveiled its compact sub-four meter sedan – Aspire. The job ahead of the car is not easy and it is perhaps Ford’s hard luck that it is entering the market at a time when there are already many cars in this segment that compete among themselves for space. Among all competitors, the top honours are reserved for the Swift Dzire which month on month sells about 15,000 units approximately. The number beats all the others by long margins. It feels as if the others are not even in the race!
To achieve a monthly sales figure of 15,000 would surely be tall order and it is not expected that the Aspire would touch that figure. However, we compare the specifications of the Figo Aspire with the rest of the cars to find out if it indeed has what it takes to make a dent in sales of the others.
Design and Exteriors
The struggle that the designers undergo to come out with a decent looking sub-four meter sedan is apparently visible in the way the cars look. Almost every sub-four meter car has a stubby looking boot. The cars that manage to look decent even from the rear section are Amaze and Zest. The rest of the cars give a clear impression of the designer’s struggle, the Swift Dzire looks the most bulbous and uninspiring from the rear, the Xcent and Aspire still look decent.
The Figo Aspire manages to look decent from almost every angle; the front however is the best part of the car to look at.
All cars are sub-four meters (3995mm) and the Amaze is the shortest (3990mm) of them all. In terms of width, Figo Aspire and Swift Dzire are at par (1695mm) followed by Amaze (1680mm) and Xcent (1660). The Zest is the widest (1706mm) as well as the tallest (1570mm) of them all. The Ford Figo Aspire has the longest wheelbase (2491mm) followed by Zest (2470mm), Dzire (2430mm) and Xcent (2425mm). The Amaze has the shortest wheelbase of them all (2405mm).
In terms of cargo capacity, the Xcent offers class leading (407litres) space followed by Honda Amaze (400litres), Tata Zest (360litres) and Figo Aspire (359litres). The Swift Dzire offers 315litres of boot space which is the least of them all.
Interiors and Features
Tata Zest and Honda Amaze have been by far the most well equipped cars in the sub-four meter sedan segment. The Tata Zest offers Harman Kardon entertainment system which is well combined with navigation system, The Amaze too, offers a Navigation system along with nice audio system. All other cars, including the new Aspire do not offer a Navigation system.
In terms of all other utility features like cup holders, bottle holders etc, you would find all the cars more or less equally equipped. The interiors of the new Aspire are well built and are inspired from Ecosport and the new Fiesta.
Perhaps, the best improvement here is from Tata, the Zest, surprisingly, stands sat par with all other cars. The seats quality and plastics used is top notch too. The interiors of the Maruti Dzire are well made and the cabin is indeed a nice place to be in. However, you may find them as unexciting if you have been already driving a Swift or any other Maruti car from which they are inspired.
Engine Transmission and Gearbox
All cars in this category offer a petrol and diesel engine option. The Figo Aspire offers three engine choices – 1.5 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel. In addition, the Figo Aspire also offers a 1.2 litre petrol engine which seems underwhelming.
The Tata Zest offers 1.2 petrol and a 1.3 litre diesel engine. The Zest is the only car in this category that uses a turbo on petrol motor. The diesel engine is available in two states of tunes and the more powerful variant comes equipped with a manual as well as an automatic gearbox.
The Hyundai Xcent offers 1.2 litre petrol and a 1.1 litre diesel. The petrol motor is available with a five speed manual transmission and a four speed automatic gearbox.
The Amaze is available with a 1.5 litre diesel and 1.1 litre petrol motor. The diesel motor on the Amaze is exceptionally noisy and sounds harsh while the petrol is okay. There’s an option of five-speed automatic transmission that’s available with the petrol motor only.
The Swift Dzire that is available with a 1.3 litre diesel and 1.2 litre petrol motor offers five-speed manual transmission with the diesel as well as the petrol while the automatic four speed transmission is available with petrol only.
Safety and Mileage
The Figo Aspire is the best equipped car in terms of safety. While all other cars offer two airbags on higher variants. The Aspire would offer two airbags as standard across all variants and the top variant would get six airbags. All other basic safety features like child safety locks, seatbelts, central locking come as standard in all cars, across all variants.
While none of the cars is grossly disappointing in terms of mileage. It is the Swift Dzire that is the most impressive car in this segment and offers the best mileage figures.
With the entry of Aspire, all other cars in this segment would indeed feel the heat. The Aspire being relatively new would have some novelty advantage.
The novelty of the Figo Aspire could be a compelling reason to buy the car. However, the car disappoints in terms of sheer driving pleasure which has been the trademark of Ford cars so far. The car is decently equipped, well made and is a worthy competitor to the rest in this segment.
If fuel efficiency is on the top of your list, you should look no further than the Swift Dzire. There are equally good enough reasons to purchase the other cars like Amaze and Xcent. At the end of the day, it all boils down to buyer’s preferences and the image that the buyer has of a particular brand. If someone has really outdone themselves in this segment, it is definitely the Tata which has come a long way, and it shows-up in the Zest.
Watch our comprehensive video review of the Ford Figo Aspire below
Watch comprehensive video review of the Swift Dzire below
Find On-Road price of the Swift Dzire / Hyundai Xcent / Honda Amaze / Tata Zest