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Ford Figo 1.5 TDCi Sports First Drive Review

What is it?

Now Ford loves to hot up its cars. Be it the Focus RS or the Fiesta ST or for that matter the Mustang GT350, Ford is known to add a lot more oomph to its standard cars and make them go a lot faster. India however is a very different market. 

Sporty variants here in India usually mean an additional spoiler, jazzier paint schemes and a lot of stickers. Of course there are exceptions like the recently launched Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS, the Punto Abarth and the VW Polo GT TSI which go beyond just a sticker job. Now Ford has gone ahead launched the 'Sports’ version of the Figo. So what category does the Ford fall in? Just stickers or more than that?

Let's look on the outside first. Our cars were in a nice shade of white and came with a lot of black accents all around. So the roof is now black, and that blended quite well with the white paint job. The ORVMs are also black to go with the theme.

The car also dons a spoiler now to complete the sporty look. But the most important additions that stood out were the brilliant honeycomb grille, the black bezels in the headlights and the lovely larger 15 inch wheels which by the way also come in black.

Like I mentioned earlier, sporty in India cannot be without decals, so now you have a sticker running along the side of the car with an 'S’ on it. Thankfully Ford has kept graphics to a minimum and we loved the Figo in its new avatar.

How is it on the inside?

Well, if that had to be answered in two words we would say 'largely unchanged’. But then, let's talk about those little changes anyways. So sporty always invokes additional stitching on the seats, steering wheel, gear knob and they have to be red. So that's a check. 

Other than that, the dashboard layout remains the same but the only difference is that there are no silver accents anymore. It's an all-black theme on the inside and Batman would absolutely love it. But none of us are remotely Batman and out in the 48 degree heat, the seats were absolutely baking our heinies. It's only that chilling aircon that really saved us from getting cooked.

The driver seats are pretty comfortable and hold you well in place, but it's more of a sitting on the seat position rather than in. It just doesn’t envelop you as well as it should especially if you have a large frame.

The rear bench is one of the comfortable ones when it comes to hatches in this segment, but we did miss storage at the rear thanks to the flat door pads. What we also loved is the barrage of storage places in the cabin overall. You have as many as 20 storage places to keep your knick-knacks making it an extremely practical cabin.

What we did not like was the plastics in certain areas like the door pads, the chrome dials on the aircon and with no contrast to add, the all-black does highlight the cost saving bits even more.

The speedo console is another thing we are not too fond off. It's too bland with no colour in it at all. The dials could have been bigger as well.

How does it drive?

Ford had lined up the yummy diesel variant of the Figo Sports. Now there is no denying the love we have for this car and you can read about how much fun we had with it here. So what has Ford done on the mechanical front? The answer is a sad 'nothing’.

But that said, the 1.5 litre TDCi unit is an absolute stonker and pretty much one of the best performance oriented diesel mills out there. With a 100bhp on tap and a meaty 215Nm of torque available as early as 1750 rpm, the Figo feels like an eager puppy every time you gas it hard. The short throw gearbox is right on the money too and we felt it missed its target gate only when shifting in a hurry and only when slotting in fifth.

Now Ford might not have tinkered with the engine, but they have worked their magic on the suspension. The Figo was already a playful character and now it's turned downright naughty.  The engineers at Ford upsized the wheels from 14 to 15 inch ones and then wrapped it around fatter 195 section rubber as against the puny 175 section tyres the standard car came with. The car now sits lower thanks to shorter springs and the anti-roll bars have been beefed up as well to minimise body roll further.

Does it work? Oh yes it does. The steering was already pretty direct with plenty of feel. The recalibrated suspension has made turn in's even quicker and the Figo attacks corners like nothing else in its segment or maybe even higher. The tail happy character means lift-off oversteer is run of the mill stuff for the Figo. Now this can be plenty of fun should you take it to the track or your favourite set of twisty’s, but we think for an amateur driver trying to push, it can get a little overwhelming minus the TCS and ESP which is available only in the automatic.

Should I buy one?

Let's leave the sporty part aside. Now the Figo Sports is basically the loaded Titanium variant with the additional sporty bits. So you get a well loaded hatchback that has climate control, steering mounted controls, MyFord Dock, twin airbags in the front along with ABS and EBD.

Apart from that you get the sporty add on's which make it look way cooler than the standard car with the recalibrated suspension being the icing on the cake. And all this at Rs. 7,21,600 ex-Delhi which is exactly Rs. 50,000 dearer than the Titanium variant. So if you prefer sporty over elegance and really really like to be in the driver's seat, we think it's worth spending that extra cash which guarantees better looks and more fun in the driving department.

Where does it fit in?

Bang in the rarified league of performance hatchbacks in India. No it does not have 145bhp like the Punto Abarth or DSG sorcery like the VW Polo GT TSI. But what it lacks in brute force and technology, it makes up in basic no nonsense motoring fun. The Figo Sports is the kind of car that will convince you to take the longer route home and make sure you are smiling at the end of it.

Pictures by Abhishek Nigam

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