The Figo may not be as exciting to look at when compared to the other recent launches like the Chevy Beat or the Hyundai i20 with sharper more dynamic styling. Its direct competition, the Suzuki Swift is looking slightly dated now and no doubt, the Figo would be looking into eating into a fair chunk of this market. It would also compete with the Tata Indica Quadrajet, the Ritz, i10, the Punto and most notably the top end Chevy Beat. There’s interesting new premium German competition too in the form of the VW Polo. But the Figo does have a few tricks up its sleeve. To start with, it’s a very cleverly designed car. Its proportions are quite neat with a short front and rear overhang. The car has also got the maximum wheel base – 2489mm, compared to its competitor Maruti Swift (2390mm), Maruti Ritz (2360mm), Hyundai i10 (2380mm) and Chevrolet Beat (2375mm). So since the Figo has the longest wheelbase, it means that there will be that much more space on the inside. And although it has a tapering roofline, a six-footer will be quite comfortable sitting at the rear with headroom to spare. Interestingly, the boot also has enough space (around 300 litres), though this fact isn’t noticeable from the outside. It’s really good enough to swallow suitcases and bags for an over-packed weekend trip.
The first time we saw the Figo it was almost like Ikon meets Fusion! The Figo really does looks like a slightly watered down version of the Fusion in terms of its styling and design proportions, but that’s not a bad thing as Ford always have had a family look about their cars – be it the front or the rear end. The Figo in that sense has truly retained the Ford styling DNA and added on some of their new design language – kinetic design, which is now really evident on their newer more dynamically styled cars, most notably their new Fiesta (in Europe) and the Focus. And let’s not forget the Ford Taurus SHO which was launched last year in the American market with that delectable EcoBoost engine. Ford’s Kinetic design philosophy not only ensures that the cars look more stylish but also pack in plenty of practicality. It also ensures that all their designs carry the Ford design DNA and age slowly and gracefully, rather than be out of style just a couple of years down the line. The ‘little’ Ford looks a little understated – it’s not a very sharply styled car, but it is a more mature design which no doubt, will appeal to a wide audience. The side-view mirrors and the door handles seem to have come from the Fiesta parts bin, as have the wheel trims. We love the way the lights flow just slightly atop the bonnet line into the fenders, giving the car an almost feline raised-eyebrow look. The flying-bullet line (first seen on the Taurus) ends with the rather-stylized side-indicators. We also love the way the rear windscreen merges seamlessly with the design of the rear tail-lamp, giving a seamless (very C-Max like) look to the rear end.
The Figo development programme has a rather interesting story and the central character, who Ford have called ‘Sandeep’, has had quite a pivotal role in the entire process. Sandeep is supposed to personify an individual (the young Indian consumer and Ford’s target audience) who is newly married, has firmly rooted family values and stays with his parents. He is successful at work and has a place of his own to live in. So, obviously, next in the hierarchy of all things material is the big luxury purchase – a car. Now knowing Sandeep, he would want a car that is stylish enough, that is functional, practical and at the same time to be liked by the whole family but yet he wants something which has status and plenty of aspirational value. Sandeep is a guy who loves to buy branded stuff but he looks first for that all important value-for-money proposition in any of his purchases. So while he is aspirational, he is still value conscious. He also wants a car that is economical to buy and run and that is an area that Ford has been working on – reducing ownership and maintenance costs.