Tested | Ford Figo 1.5 Automatic Complete Review



The demand for automatic hatchbacks in India is growing at higher rate compared to just few years before. The launch of Maruti Celerio with the AMT transmission in 2014 created a great deal of interest and demand for an affordable automatic car. Although automatic hatchbacks were already available before the Celerio, they weren't that much in demand due to the higher premium you needed to pay and a lower fuel economy. As the technology improved, the performance of the automatic systems changed a lot giving better mileage figures and light on the pockets. 

Automatic cars are preferred over the manual variants for obvious reasons. You don't have to take the efforts or worry about changing gears at the right time. You don't have to use your left leg which might become painful from constant use of clutch in heavy city traffic. You don't have to worry about stalling your car in case you still haven't learnt how to use the clutch properly. And mostly importantly you do not have to do the circus of using the handbrake plus clutch plus accelerator at the same time to drive in a steep uphill stop-go-stop traffic. So many advantages!

We tested the latest entry into the automatic hatchback club in India - the Ford Figo. As you can see from the table below, we have 9 automatic hatchback models in India to choose from with a wide price range starting from Rs. 6.29 lakhs for the Hyundai Grand i10 to Rs.  8.85 lakhs for the VW Polo GT TSI. The Ford Figo automatic sits right in the middle of the price range at Rs. 6.92 lakhs. Moreover, it the most powerful automatic with 110 bhp under its disposal.

Model
Price (INR lakhs) ex-Delhi
Transmission
Engine Capacity
Max Power
Max Torque
VW Polo GT TSI
8.58
7-speed DSG
1,198 cc
103 bhp
175 Nm
Honda Jazz V
7.89
CVT
1,198 cc
87 bhp
110 Nm
Nissan Micra XV
7.05
CVT
1,198 cc
75 bhp
104 Nm
Honda Jazz S
7.03
CVT
1,198 cc
87 bhp
110 Nm
Ford Figo
6.92
6-speed AT
1,499 cc
110 bhp
136 Nm
Suzuki Baleno
6.76
CVT
1,197 cc
83 bhp
115 Nm
Nissan Micra X Shift
6.40
CVT
1,198 cc
75 bhp
104 Nm
Honda Brio
6.35
5-speed AT
1,198 cc
87 bhp
109 Nm
Hyundai Grand i10
6.29
4-speed AT
1,197 cc
79 bhp
112 Nm

Looks, Style, Design
The new Figo looks completely different from its predecessor. It is a new design with new dimension and a new platform. At a first look it appears smaller than the old Figo but it actually is longer, wider and taller than the old one. Long and wide is good, but an increase in height, although gives you lot of headroom, increases the body roll slightly.


The Figo hatchback carries the same design from the Figo Aspire compact sedan which was launched before it, sans the extended boot. Large aggressively styled headlights and the huge Aston Martin like hexagonal grille are the two things dominate the front design. The new Figo has a slightly raised and prominent shoulder line that gives it an firm and aggressive stance. The rear is also well proportioned and looks lot better than the Aspire.

The 14-inch alloy wheels look decent but we wished they had been more aggressively designed. By no means they look as good as those on the Elite i20 and the New Jazz.


Overall the new Figo is one of the better looking hatchbacks in the market today. We always are of the opinion that looks are subjective. One person would love it, the other would hate it. For the same reason it would be unfair to choose the better looking car between the Elite i20, New Jazz and New Figo. If you ask us, we would go with the Elite i20 for its exterior looks.

Since we are reviewing the automatic version of the Figo hatchback we'd like to tell you that the Elite i20 does not come with an automatic variant and hence for this review any comparison made with Elite i20 would be unfair!

We restrict our comparison of the Figo automatic with two cars which we consider as worthy competitors out of the list of  nine automatic hatcbacks available in India at the moment - the New Jazz and Suzuki Baleno.



Unlike the beige interiors in the Figo Aspire, the Figo hatchback gets all black interiors with grey and silver highlights. Everything is the same inside the Figo as in the Aspire expect for the all-black+grey theme. The automatic variant does not come with the SYNC infotainment system but features the MyFord Dock which actually is a storage-cum-mobile-holder at the center of the dash.

The dash is well designed, it looks bulky and gives you a feeling of a big car. Although the quality of plastics is not the best of the best but is decent enough.


Comfort, Space & Convenience 
The Figo is quite comfortable for long journeys. The suspension is great, it damps out all the rough patches on the road. The thing that impressed us the most was the Figo's ability to handle rough, broken and pothole ridden roads.

Both the front and rear seats are comfortable for long journeys. The driver's seat and steering wheel can be adjusted for driver's with different heights giving you a personal-cum-comfortable driving position.


The Figo is spacious from inside, we could fit two 6-ft tall people one behind the other and yet have plenty of leg space for both of them. The rear bench can fit three people easily and when not in use can be folded fully down to create some extra space for your luggage. But there is no 40-60 split option for the rear bench.

Some interesting features on this new Figo are the Guide Me Home headlamps, boot release button on the key and gear number indicator. The Guide Me Home headlamps stays on until you press the lock button on the remote key, which is useful in situations where there are no streetlamps and you have to walk few steps in the dark till you reach your home or destination.


With a press on a button on the remote key you can unlock the boot-lid, quite a handy feature and saves some effort making you more lazy. On the instrument panel you can see the gear number and it also prompts you to shift up & down. This comes in handy for beginners who are not quite sure in which gear the car should be for optimum performance.

You might wondering what's the use of this feature in an automatic car. But then, there is the sports mode where in you can manually choose the gear to be in by pressing the gear-up (+) and gear-down (-) button on the knob.


Performance 
The Figo AT is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine which produces max power of 112 PS @ 6,300 rpm and max torque of 136 Nm @ 4,250 rpm and it mated with a 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission.

Now these figures are unbeatable on paper in its class. The Ford Figo is the most powerful automatic hatchback you can buy in India at this moment under Rs 10 lakhs. It even beats the VW Polo GT TSI in number of horsepower (see the table).



The Figo AT can easily hit speeds of excess of 160 kmph, ideally a cruise speed of 120 kmph would be more comfortable to handle. The performance of the automatic gearbox is what matters most here and we have mixed reactions for it.

For casual city driving, put it on D and forget it. The 6-speed automatic transmission takes care of all the gear changes and you wouldn't that bother about the recurring power loss that is felt between the gears.



But take it on a highway or for a long trip, we wouldn't completely rely on the automatic transmission. The problem is, with slight change in driving style from normal to aggressive, the computer that controls this automatic shifting doesn't respond as we would expect it to.

Put an aggressive foot on the accelerator pedal and what you get is an unexpected delayed downshift which results in a jerk. Simply put, the response of the automatic transmission is just not accurate enough towards a sudden change in driving style.

Thus we preferred to drive the Figo in a semi-automatic mode, referred to as letter S on the gearbox, and shift the gears up and down ourselves especially when we had to overtake a slow moving vehicle in front of us in a hurry.


In the S mode, the shifting up of gears in done by you while the computer takes care of all the downshifts i.e. you do not need to shift gears down manually while slowing down. Now that comes in handy, again for less experienced drivers and for lazy drivers like me as well.

Like its predecessor the new Figo is great in terms of handling. The steering is nicely weighted and gives enough feedback and confidence. The Figo is real good at cornering, we enjoyed throwing the Figo hard into the corners and it took them really well. Handling has been the forte of this hatchback ever since it was introduced in its initial avatar.

In terms of mileage, the Figo AT dissappointed a lot. We could only manage 9.2 kmpl in city and 10.8 kmpl on the highway.



Verdict
The Ford Figo AT is the most outstanding automatic hatchback in its class on paper. On road, it doesn't feel as aggressive as it should feel since its the only hatch in its class to sport a big 1.5-litre engine, thanks to a dull torque at the low and mid rpms.

But the reason you buy an automatic is the sheer comfort and ease-of-use. The Figo AT ticks all the checkboxes in this case and outperforms its competition for the price it carries. Simply put, there is no match to the Ford Figo AT when it comes to a package of ease, comfort, power and style. Even Suzuki Baleno and Honda Jazz lag behind it.

But the only thing that goes against the Figo AT is the fuel economy. If you can live with that kind of mileage, the Figo AT is the best choice out in the market at the moment.



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About Vivek Manjarekar

Thanks for reading our post. We at MotorZest always strive to bring you the best news and quality reviews on cars & bikes in India. Do follow us on our social media platforms to have great conversations!
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