Jithesh

Ford Figo 1.4 TDCi Titanium - 30,000 Km Ownership Review

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Who would've thought that just a casual walk into a showroom would be the start of a long-lasting attachment to a beautiful car? I was actually on my way to the Volkswagen showroom to test drive my then dream car - the Polo. I was hell bent and determined that that was the car I would own, after a lot of research through international magazines, websites, and our favourite ACI.

The Ford showroom happened to be on the way and I thought I'd just have a check-in on the Figo. I was well aware that the Figo was the previous generation Fiesta from Europe and I used to drool over the latest Fiesta hatchback during my stay in England. So I was pretty disappointed that the new Fiesta wasn't coming to India and India was proving to be yet another "dumping ground" for off-the-shelf vehicles.

But on close inspection, a lot of qualities of the Figo came through, the trump card being the honest pricing. That beat the Polo (Highline TDi) by a cool 2 lacs! I had read a lot of good reviews of the 1.4 TDCi motor that was carried over from the earlier Fiesta sedan from ACI mags and was pretty confident about that.

I would like to mention here about the good work done by you guys in ACI and congratulate you for giving such honest and accurate information about the car. In fact, I have nothing new to mention here about Figo than what was not mentioned in ACI. And the fact that Figo was the Car of the Year of ACI and also the most awarded car at the time was not something to be ignored.

Design and Engineering

I was not a big fan of the earlier European Fiesta which the Figo was based on, but the facelift with the Kinetic design theme is quite stylish and the headlights are my favourite bits of the car. I personally think that the original Figo headlights are much better than the new headlights on the facelifted version. I like the Figo's clean lines and the good proportions. The squatty stance with four wheels on four corners gives it a sporty look and is key to its exceptional handling.

I am no engineer but I can testify that the Figo is a well-engineered and solid car. After two years and 30,000 kms through our non-existent roads (obstacle course would be a proper name!), the car surpisingly enough has no rattles in the cabin. This in sharp contrast to the Swift I used to own earlier, which had so many rattles and squeaks that felt like the car was falling apart!

Engine and Performance

The 1.4 TDCi is the true gem in the bargain. Though the max output is a modest 68bhp, the Figo not once felt out of breath due to the clever tuning of the engine. Most of the power is developed at a low RPM and the turbo-lag is hardly noticeable. With clever use of the gearbox, the Figo can be quite fun to drive with excellent pick-up and could surprise many fellow road-users. I get an average fuel economy of 18-19 kmpl, which is sufficient for this class of car and very easy on the pocket. Also the AC does not the drain the engine of power, much like bigger cars. The four cylinders and larger capacity do the trick (compared to three cylinders on the Polo), despite the figures looking poor on paper.

I have used the Figo extensively on the highway and in the city, it copes up with both situations comfortably. On the highway it cruises comfortably around 120 kph, which is adequate (although over the speed limit!).

Ride and Handling

There is no question here that Ford makes the best driver's cars on this side of BMW. Ford's rich rally heritage in WRC explains that. The Figo sticks to corners like a leech with very little body roll and has fantastic balance. The chassis is so capable that the engine feels under-powered and it always urges you to push the car.

Compared to cars in its class, the Figo has a decent ride, which tends to get a bit choppy at low speeds. This is a slight trade-off for the excellent high speed manners and stability. Overall, Figo is car that will keep both the driver and passengers happy!

Modifications Done to the Car

I am a serious car buff, but I hate to break the car down for the sake of performance or visual upgrades. I upgraded the wheels to TIARA alloy wheels (by Bridgestone) and Yokohama 195/60 R14 tires. This has enhanced the ride and handling considerably and made the Figo much more exciting to drive.

This was the only modification done to the car and the Titanium version that I own is pretty well equipped with bluetooth enabled 2-DIN audio system (which has excellent sound quality), two airbags and ABS.

Problems Experienced so Far

My car is well looked after and serviced at the correct intervals. Figo has been trouble free except for a steering-rack damage that I experienced recently. The Ford Service guys advised me that this was due to the aftermarket alloys and bigger tyres. I severely doubted that argument and thankfully through a discussion elsewhere in this good forum I learned that this is a common fault in Ford cars, usually rectified during warranty.

Conclusion

Likes:

1. Excellent performance and mileage of the diesel motor

2. Exceptional ride and hadling

3. Massive boot for this class of car

4. Spacious and comfortable cabin with good legroom at the rear

5. Solidly built together

6. Good quality audio system that gives very clear sound for music lovers

7. Precise hydraulic steering with great feedback

8. Usability - small enough for cities and large enough for highways

Dislikes

There is only one that I can think of - the poor after sales back-up from Ford. Ford is nowhere near Maruti or Hyndai in their service, in spite of the hard work put in by the management at Ford. The success mantra for Maruti is that they have multiple dealers in the same town/city, which develops healthy internal competition to give good service. A lot has been done to improve the service quality and to lower the prices of spares by Ford, but they still have a long way to go. Perhaps Ford can use Maruti as a case study to find out "how they do it?"!

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Nice review Jithesh. I own a Figo as well,but sometimes in the highway I feel that it runs out of breath.Apart from that as you said it delivers very good mileage and is economical provided it is driven between 80 and 100. If you floor it down it goes till 170 on the speedo.

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