It’s a well-known fact that the Figo is easily one of the best hatchbacks for keen drivers, more so in the diesel version. However, with fuel prices becoming less skewed and fresher rivals being launched, sales for the Figo have slowed down. Now, in its bid to ensure that the brand Figo is revitalised, the carmaker has given it the Botox treatment. Not only do you get a slew of changes on the exterior, you also get new warranty and after sales plans including a five year/100,000km warranty plan. Ford hopes that all these updates will ensure that buyers see the Figo as a cool car(Figo means cool in Italian)and horde it’s showrooms to buy one.
Meeting the Figo for the first time in person is like meeting an old school friend who has just got a new pair of glasses. You know something has changed but can’t exactly pin point what it is. Changes include a new bumper which is more sculpted than before. There’s also a new grille that looks more pronounced and a new set of fog lamps too. The alloy wheels are a new design as well and the darker alloy shade on the ‘Blu’ version we drove stands out. The rest of the design is the same, with Ford retaining the rear design as it is.
The Figo has always had a nicely balanced silhouette and it retains this design theme even on the new car. While Ford says that the car has received nearly 1,200 new bits, it’s easy to see that most of them weren’t on the exterior design front. Still it looks like a fresh and appealing design that should garner positive feedback from the buying audiences.
Ford cars have always excelled at strong build and it’s true with the new Figo too. Shut the doors and you will immediately appreciate the reassuring ‘thud’ noise. Try as hard as they may, most other rivals can’t match this solid engineering that Ford has put on the Figo. This solid sounding noise alone ensures that you feel safe and secure inside the car every time you go out with your loved ones. On the safety front, Ford will offer two airbags as standard across the range, while the top-end version comes with a class leading six-airbags along with ABS and EBD.
We drove the top-spec ‘Blu’ version, which comes in a dark grey shade. However, to break the monotony of grey, Ford has peppered the interior with a dash of blue on the door pads as well as blue stitching on the seats, which is a nice and sporty touch. We are also happy to report that the Figo is a great car for practicality. You get a total of nine cup holders inside the cabin. Three each in the front door pads and three in the centre console. There are plenty of other places to keep your odds and ends at as well.
Space inside is generous as well and back seat occupants will appreciate the wide opening doors and the large aperture that helps entry and exit from the car. However, Ford should have added rear AC vents on the car, a feature that its main rival, the Hyundai Grand i10 has been offering from 2013 now. The Figo offers a boot of 252 litres, which is at par with its main rivals.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The new addition to the line-up is the arrival of the 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol that makes 96bhp. This makes it one of the most powerful petrol powered car at this price point. We’ve already seen this engine in the Freestyle and have come blown away by the sheer refinement. At standstill, the engine doesn’t want to become intimate at all. It is so quiet inside the cabin that you might unwittingly crank the motor again at a signal. It’s hugely responsive as well. In fact, this engine can shame its Japanese and Korean rivals for sheer refinement levels. Power delivery is good too and you never feel wanting for more. The best part is that the engine is a rev happy motor and even when revved hard there is plenty of performance on offer, with a nice sporty note on the exhaust.
If you are a high mileage muncher then you can also choose the 1.5-litre diesel with 99bhp of power. This is also the most powerful diesel engine on sale at this price in this segment. This engine drives more like a petrol than diesel. Unlike most diesels, which start delivering performance after 2,000rpm this TDCi motor on the Figo starts feeling lively from a relatively low 1,500rpm, making it a nice car to drive in bumper to bumper city traffic. Power delivery is very linear and you will enjoy pushing this car all the way close to it’s redline of 4,000rpm.
The gearbox on both cars is also a joy to operate. The throws are short but precise and you will simply enjoy slotting the gears into place. The clutch also has a nice and springy action to it making the Figo a great car for keen drivers.
There’s also an automatic option available, but that’s only reserved for the 1.5-litre petrol. We did not sample this car during our drive.
Ride and handling
The steering on the car, irrespective of the engine you choose, is precise. It also has the right amount of weight in it and neither feels overtly heavy nor is it overtly soft. What adds to the sense of involvement is also the dynamic chassis on the Figo. Push it around corners and the car feels like its riding on rails. The adroit handling is supported by the taut suspension set up. The car feels unflappable on the worst of worst road conditions and at highway speeds, simply hugs the road with aplomb.
The slew of changes, big and small, ensure that the Figo remains one of the best driver’s car in the segment. The revised pricing along with the stellar aftersales packages also means that peace of mind is guaranteed with every purchase. The Figo is a great all-rounder and one you should check at a dealer near you.