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Ford Figo - First driving impressions

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1. The Figo follows Ford's design DNA. It appears sporty in the traditional sort of way. There are nice strong design elements like the broad waist line and the chunky wheel arches that make it appear large.

2. Ford's used the Kinetic design process for this car too and as Scott Strong from the design team put it, the tear-drop silhouette give its a front-end bubble effect with a tapering rear-end

3. The interior is spacious and big for a car of its class. Ford claims that the legroom, headroom and shoulder room are better than its closest competition - the Suzuki Swift. In fact, the rear legroom is better than even the VW Polo!

4. The red injection moulding on the dashboard is optional and while the effect is debatable, most who saw it loved it.

5. The regular dashboard is a two-tone affair with a different colour for the top of the dashboard. Though this doesn't cause reflections on the windscreen   6. Ford will sell the car with six colours initially. These colours are aptly named like Chill, Squeeze, Sea grey and Colorado Red

 

7. The car is available with two engine options - a petrol and a diesel. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is an all-aluminium block and produces 70 bhp@6250 rpm and 10.3 kgm of peak torque. The diesel is the 1.4 Duratorq that we are now familiar with. It produces 67.5 bhp@4000 rpm and 16.5 kgm of peak torque. Both engines are mated to the IB5 gearbox that's been doing duty on the Ikon and prior to that on the Escort.

8. The petrol feels 'controlled' and more tuned for fuel efficiency rather than outright performance. But there is decent go for city speeds and the torque spread is decent. It could do with more power, however. The diesel is well known for its torquey nature and feels sprightly. The noise intrusion however is high and could do with more sound deadening. The transmission in typical IB5 fashion doesn't feel as slick as the one on the Fiesta. The cars we were driving were pre-production prototypes and will have to wait till the production cars are made available for testing.

9. A 1.6 hot version is possible but it is all dependent on how the government re-works its excise duty benefit says Ford

10. The ride quality on bad roads and potholed ones are more less like the Fiesta. The steering and controls have been made lighter than the Fiesta and are more like the Swift in that regard.   11. The steering is feelsome in keeping with Ford's DNA, but has more steering feel than even the Fiesta.

 

12. The handling is neutral and poised. It feels very European like to drive.

13. A lot of research and development has been done to make the car cheaper. About 80 per cent of the car has been indigenised, including the 1.2 petrol engine.

14. This is the first Ford to be signed off by an Indian engineer, by the name of Sundar Sundarrajan. Ford has finally learnt the art of frugal engineering

15. For this project some 84 prototypes and 136 pre production cars were made. The cars went through 7.5 lakh kilometres of cumulative testing or the equivalent of 2 million kilometres of customer testing. The car has been tested in Australia and Europe.   16. A total of 20 crash tests were undertaken on the car. The car will feature ABS and front airbags (driver and passenger) as an option. A passive Anti-Theft system will also be available.

 

17. Two trims will be made available for both engines - High and High Plus.

18. Steering can't be adjusted for rake. The steering position is dictated by airbags rather than comfort.

19. The car features 14-inch 175/65 R14 tyres all around. This is the same as the regular Fiesta. Car also features ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear with the ABS versions featuring larger discs. Braking is good for the vehicle overall.

20. Ford says it's the first European bred affordable car for the masses in India. And therefore the pricing will be competitive. We assume that prices will start at Rs 3.6-3.7 lakh for the base petrol going up to Rs 5 lakh for the top-end diesel version.