Ford Figo Aspire: What we know right now
Ford India has begun to display its sub-four metre compact segment challenger, the Figo Aspire, at malls across India. The car is all new and boasts some segment firsts that make it quite the contender in this pocket of the market. Here is all you need to know about the new Ford Figo Aspire -
Why did Ford decide to enter the sub-four metre sedan segment?
Ford says that the subcompact segment is burgeoning, given the tax benefits and the changing needs of a family. It has studied the market as well as the needs of its potential customers and has designed the Figo Aspire accordingly. Ford is banking on the uniqueness of the Figo Aspire to enter the market as well as take the fight to the segment leader, the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire.
Ford says that the Figo Aspire was always conceptualised as a four-metre sedan and hence has a proportionate design. The boot does not look like an afterthought and the Figo Aspire is indeed a very neat looking sub-four metre car. The front grille bears resemblance to the new Fiesta's grille design. The windows are large and should make for an airy feeling cabin. The tail lamps are of the wrap-around kind. A single chunky chrome strip runs across the bootlid with the Ford logo at its centre.
The interiors look good and the quality has improved considerably over the current Figo hatchback. Beige is the most prominent colour inside and is used liberally across the cabin. The lower half of the dashboard, door trims and the seats are all dipped in beige. The centre console is similar to that on the Ford EcoSport and has a flat shelf with an anti-slip mat over it. It is large enough to accommodate a phone with a 5.5-inch screen. There are 23 storage spaces inside the cabin including bottle holders of varying depths. A USB, Aux and 12V charging ports are located just ahead of the gear stick. The top end variant comes with automatic climate control and Ford says the air-conditioning system is better than that on the current Figo hatchback. This is notable considering the fact that the Figo hatchback's air-conditioning system is the best in class.
What else is new inside the cabin?
The Ford Figo Aspire comes with a new instrument cluster with a multi-information display (MID) that has readouts for odometer, trip meter, average speed, average fuel consumption, instantaneous fuel consumption, distance to empty (DTE) and door ajar warning. The Figo Aspire will also come with a MyFord Dock feature. It's a docking station for your phone or MP3 player and once connected, enables you to play music via the car's entertainment system. The docking station also charges your phone and MP3 player. The MyFord Dock feature, however, will not be available in the top end variant since it comes with an integrated music system with the Ford Sync technology.
Engines and transmissions
There will be three engine options - a 1.2-litre Ti-VCT petrol, 1.5-litre Ti-VCT petrol and the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel. Ford says that the new 1.2-litre Ti-VCT petrol delivers improved fuel economy. The 1.5-litre diesel is similar to the unit in the EcoSport, however, with an optimised state of tune in the Figo Aspire. Though Ford has not released power or torque figures, it says that the numbers will surprise the competition. The 1.5-litre petrol engine will get the dual clutch automatic transmission because Ford does not have an auto transmission that's mated to an engine with a lower displacement. The company highlighted the point by saying that even its 1-litre EcoBoost petrol does not come with an auto transmission. The 1.5-litre petrol engine with the autobox is used worldwide and the company did not want to take chances with reliability. Except for the dual clutch automatic transmission, all the powertrain components are localised.
Will there be a Figo Aspire with an AMT transmission in the future?
Ford has no plans, as of now, of introducing an AMT because it does not want to get a technology that is not contemporary on a global scale. The company would rather get a globally proven technology and democratise it in India.
Ford says that the car meets international crash standards as it's intended for export to global markets. The Figo Aspire also comes with six airbags, a first in the segment. In addition, the car gets ABS with EBD, ESP and Hill Launch Assist
Will it be as enjoyable to drive as other Fords?
Ford says that the Figo Aspire carries the ride and handling DNA that has been the hallmark of the company's cars. The car will be fun to drive and Ford believes this will be one of the Figo Aspire's standout features. The electronic power assisted steering (EPAS) is the same as that in the Fiesta but with revised calibration to suit the Figo Aspire. The Fiesta is known to have one of the most communicative electrically assisted steering systems.
Service and maintenance
The Ford Figo Aspire will be easy on the wallet when it comes to maintenance, says Ford. The service interval will be either one year or 10,000km, whichever comes earlier. Spares are reasonably priced and as per market standards as well as customer expectations. Regular service for the Figo Aspire would cost Rs 2,199.
Ford's Child Parts Concept has been utilised for the new car too. The concept, essentially, breaks down the whole unit into sub-parts. So, for example, the outside rear view mirror (ORVM) consists of a casing, an outer cover for the casing and a mirror. In the event that the ORVM grazes past something, the customer will only have to replace the damaged part and not the entire unit. The concept is applicable to the mechanical bits too and Ford says that this reduces the cost of ownership of the vehicle.
Spare parts accessibility
Ford plans to increase the number of service outlets in the next couple of years. Ford has two parts distribution centres currently, in Delhi and Chennai, and plans to add three additional distribution centres in the next six to eight weeks. Spare parts for the new Figo Aspire will be readily available across the country, says Ford.
Pricing and launch
Ford has not revealed the prices for the Aspire but says that the price range will shake up the segment (their words, not ours). We expect Ford to launch the Figo Aspire by July-August, 2015.
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