It’s becoming somewhat of a motoring industry cliché: introduce a new compact hatchback, but here’s the trick, don’t get rid of the old one – instead re-engineer it to a slightly lower spec level, freshen it up with a nip/tuck and price it well below its successor. Volkswagen have done it successfully with the Polo Vivo, Chevrolet have recently done it with their Spark Lite and now Ford have followed with the new Figo.
Built exclusively in Chennai, India, Ford have based their new Figo on the fourth generation Fiesta that ended production in 2008. The Fiesta Mk4 underpinnings mean the Figo retains a fun character in contrast to its biggest competitor, the Polo Vivo, which could be construed as more mature.
South Africa is the first market outside of India to receive the new Figo, a car which Ford say will appeal to a wide audience, although their core target is the typical student of 18-years. Ford SA’s CEO, Jeff Nemeth, says the company expects to sell between 700 to 1 000 units per month until year-end and, with the Figo’s blend of specification and pricing, it’s easy to understand why.
The new Ford Figo is available with either a 1,4-litre Duratec petrol engine, or a 1,4-litre Duratorq diesel. The petrol engine produces 62 kW and 127 N.m of torque, while the diesel has maximum power outputs of 51 kW and 160 N.m. Fuel consumption for the petrol engine is rated at 6.6 l/100km, while the diesel requires just 5.3 l/100km. CO2 emissions are 156 g/km and 139 g/km respectively.
Unlike the Vivo, the Figo is available exclusively in a 5-door body style and, instead of an options list, has just two specification levels for buyers to choose from. The base spec is known as the ‘Ambiente’, which is available in both petrol and diesel guise, while the ‘Trend’ is the higher spec model and is only available with the petrol engine.
However, Ford’s Ambiente base spec is streets ahead of its Vivo rival, offering ABS, air-con and radio/CD/MP3-player as standard – options that would set you back a hefty R12 000 on VW’s 1.4 Vivo. The Figo Trend model includes a few extra luxuries, such as a height adjustable driver’s seat, body colour exterior mirrors (electronically adjustable), front fog lamps and alloy wheels. All Figo’s are equipped with driver and passenger front airbags.
But it’s not just the equipment list that gives the Figo the edge. The Fiesta Mk4 DNA has been carried over in terms of the Figo’s feel and road manners.
The interior plastics and mouldings feel substantial for a car in this segment, something which can be said for the Figo’s overall construction too. Ford say they paid close attention to noise/vibration/harshness (NVH) levels to deliver a car that is quieter than its competitors.
Driving in and around Johannesburg we found both 1.4 engines offered enough ‘go’ for their capacity. The ride and handling was both comfortable and composed, with a dash of dynamism, which the previous generation Fiesta was known for.
There’s even more good news for consumers though, as pricing starts from just R109 900 for the 1.4 petrol-fuelled Ambiente model. The 1.4 Trend and 1.4 diesel Ambiente both sell at R125 000.
We’ll bring you a full report in the near future, but our first impressions suggest Ford may have knocked the competition for a six with the Figo.
|Ford Figo 1.4 Duratec Ambiente||R109 900|
|Ford Figo 1.4 Duratorq Ambiente||R125 000|
|Ford Figo 1.4 Duratec Trend||R125 000|
Prices include a 4-year/120 000 km warranty and 5-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 20 000 km for petrol derivatives and 15 000 km for the diesel.