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New Ford Figo 2012 Review

S.Muralidhar 31 October | Updated on November 14, 2012 Published on October 30, 2012

The new Ford Figo

The new Ford Figo

The new Ford Figo

The new Ford Figo

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Ford’s stay under the arc-light was powered by the Figo, after the Ikon started fading away. The Figo's success is due to its package as a whole and despite some of the resemblances that it had with the Fusion hatch.

A compact, versatile package that was good to drive and offered every-day value - that was the Figo. So, a facelift now after more than two successful years could be driven by many reasons - familiarity, new competition or like Ford says, to make the Figo fit into the new philosophy.

I am sure that buyers aren't going to be complaining. The new Ford Figo, as a result, sports changes to the exterior design and some changes inside the cabin too. Ford says that the design changes on the outside have been made to get the Figo to fit into the global 'Kinetic Design' philosophy.



Redesigned

What that has meant at the front of the new Figo is the dominating new hexagonal grille. Taking up much of the front fender, the new grille / airdam visually extends the width of the new Figo. This is paired with the new headlamps that sport an extended, peeled-back design, which again makes the new Figo look larger at the front than its other proportions. The fenders have been changed and the two slat bonnet grille with the blue oval in the middle remains pretty much unchanged, as is the bonnet slab itself.

At the side and the rear, the Figo's exterior design changes are less substantial. Flared wheel arches and grab-type door handles, the rear hatch door and tail-lamps look familiar. But, there have been some changes, including the tail-lamp combination that has now been optimised for better visibility.

The new 14-inch alloy wheels in the top-end variant that I test drove had an interesting design with spokes that were faintly evocative of the Eiffel-tower. The Figo is also being offered with new exterior paint finishes called Bright Yellow and Kinetic Blue.



Quieter inside

When I open the door and get into the new Figo's cabin, the most visible change is the new interior colour theme. The earlier Figo's terracotta dashboard finish was obviously a ‘love it or hate it’ feature, with many buyers falling into both categories. The new Figo sports a more sober bluish-grey tone for the top of the dash that is paired with the beige bottom half tone. The cabin looks fresher, but is otherwise very similar to the outgoing model.

The other changes to the interior include new seat upholstery that is a bit firmer and also matches the new tinge of blue. The instrument panel also sports a new Riviera Blue colour and there has been the addition of a steering column-mounted volume control for the music system. Sticking out like an appendage behind the wheel, the controls are within reach for the left hand, but are just a bit uncomfortable. With time it should be easier to use and will be considered a bit novel for this segment.

The other improvement inside the Figo's cabin is the distinct reduction in noise levels. Ford officials say that the new double bulb weather strips on the doors seal noise out better. There is said to be a reduction in vibration too, but I couldn't discern any change, with the pre-facelift model being pretty good already. There have also been some minor changes to the seat construction and adjustments to the headrests at the front. The lack of headrests for the rear seat, though, is a bit of a bummer since the backrest ends quite low leaving shoulders unsupported.



Tweaked performance

The change that is discernable is a quicker, smoother shifting gear shift stick. There is none of the notchiness that was evident in the previous slotting format. But the change is just about evident when you focus on it. Anyway, I doubt if Ford got much stick from buyers about the previous stick shift.

But, the change that Ford officials talked about, and one which is not very evident, is the change in calibration for the two engines. The Figo continues to be powered by the same 1.2 Duratec Petrol and the 1.4 Duratorq Diesel engines. The changes to the calibration of the engines are meant to improve low-end torque.

The 1,196cc petrol engine delivers 71PS of peak power at 6,250 rpm and peak torque of 102 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The engine always felt rev-happy and peppy and there is no change there. Paired as it is with a fairly agile chassis and the fairly precise steering of the Figo, this has been a fun small car and this remains unchanged. As to whether the changes to improve low-end torque make a difference while driving in the city, I couldn't experience it. The test drive was too short, though mostly in city traffic.

The same can be said about the Duratorq diesel engine too. The changes were talked about and the engine delivers a respectable 69PS at 4,000 rpm and peak torque of 160 Nm starting from 2,000 rpm. There is a bit of lag below the 2,000 rpm mark, but the level of torque you can play with from there on is considerable and delivered in a linear fashion.

Bottomline

The best news about the new Figo, well, after all the changes are considered, is the fact that the prices have only been hiked by about Rs 5,000, depending on the variant. The petrol Figo now starts at Rs 3.85 lakh and the new Figo diesel starts at Rs 4.82 lakh.



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Published on October 30, 2012
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