'Thoda zyaada' has become the mantra for the Indian consumer, or at least that is what Ford must believe as it brings the Figo Sports edition to market. Well to be fair its not just Ford, as we have seen a few other manufacturers coming out with some performance or limited edition of their hatchbacks too. But while that has happened mostly in the premium hatch space, the Figo Sports is a nice addition to the compact hatch side of things too. The 'Sports' variant is also available on the Figo Aspire subcompact sedan, and in the hatch and sedan the edition is available on diesel and petrol engines that you already know from the range. We were invited to Ahmedabad for a quick drive on the new Ford Figo Sports in its diesel avatar - i.e. the 1.5-litre TDCi.
So What Is New?
Cosmetic changes to the car include a black roof, black alloys, and mirrors. The headlamps have also been blacked out. The Figo Sports gets an 'S' decal running along the length of the car along with a new mesh grille up front making the car look pretty different from the regular Figo. Rounding it off is a spoiler at the rear, which not only helps with the looks but as Ford claims - also does contribute somewhat to better aerodynamics. You get an all-black treatment inside too, along with red contrast stitching on the seats and on the leather-wrapped steering wheel as well.
And even though engine specs remain unchanged, there are a few mechanical changes. Ford claims that the suspension has been stiffened up for better handling and a sportier ride. And by all means, the company has justified its claims. The springs have been shortened by 10 mm to accommodate the larger 15-inch wheels shod with 195/55/R15 tyres. That means wider and slightly lower profile tyres on the Figo Sports, and therefore better grip and handling. Yay!
How Does It Drive?
It would have been great if Ford had bumped up the power in its 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.5-litre diesel models. Or better yet offered us the 1.0 ecoboost petrol engine maybe (a la Baleno RS!). But since we have no such luck, let's tell you what does exist. We chose the 1.5-litre diesel and are happy to say that the engine still retains its familiar mid-range grunt that makes for easier driveability. The diesel engine makes close to 100 bhp and 215 Nm of torque and comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. With the fatter tyres and a stiffened suspension, the Ford Figo Sports definitely gets the excitement levels a notch higher than the regular Figo - especially when you push it a bit. This became more evident on our high-speed run from the Little Rann of Kutch to the Ahmedabad airport in order to catch our flight!
The car feels a lot more planted and exudes tremendous confidence while doing three-digit speeds on the highway. The Figo always had good handling and cornering ability. The fatter tyres enhance this and make it even more enjoyable. And because Ford has made only a few mechanical changes, all this 'sportiness' still gets you 24.29 kmpl - that is only a marginal drop of 1.5 kmpl compared to the regular Figo's mileage of 25.83 kmpl. The Figo Sports with the 1.2-litre petrol engine has a claimed mileage of 18.12 kmpl as against 18.16 kmpl on the regular Figo petrol. Surprisingly, the Ford Aspire has the same mileage figures as on the Figo, be it the Sports variant or the regular variants.
How Does It Measure Up On Equipment?
The Figo/Aspire Sports are offered on the Titanium variants of the 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.5-litre diesel. So the equipment list matches up to that variant, meaning you get dual airbags, ABS with EBD and a dock for your mobile phone. There's also Bluetooth connectivity, USB, Aux-in, etc. But no Sync system, no parking sensors, nor the reverse camera, which is a pity, because a lot of buyers looking for a premium sporty variant would want all the goodies. Ford would do well to offer the Sports with the Titanium Plus trim as well - at least against orders. Titanium+ gets you an 8.89cm multi-function display screen, SYNC applink with voice control, controls for the phone on the steering, and 6 airbags.
So Does It Make Sense To Buy One?
Yes it still does. The Figo is a car we have called segment-best on a number of occasions - and yes that is truer of the Aspire. The Sports variant gives you even better handling, and makes the car an even more compelling buy. Well built, safe, sporty and good value - that's how we see the offerings. What is sad is the lack of that extra kit mentioned earlier, and the missing Sports edition on the 1.5-litre petrol with its dual-clutch automatic transmission. But still, at Rs. 6.32 lakh for the 1.2-litre petrol and Rs. 7.22 lakh for the 1.5-litre diesel, the Figo Sports is well worth your consideration. The Aspire Sports is also priced well at Rs. 6.51 lakh for the 1.2-litre petrol variant and at Rs. 7.61 lakh for the 1.5-litre diesel variant (ex-showroom, Delhi).