Ford has never been more serious about India. It’s clear that Ford wants to leap into the big league alongside Maruti, Hyundai and Tata, which is a huge challenge, which is why the company is throwing everything behind its new hatchback. The all new Ford Figo.
COOL IS HOT
The Figo — an all-new nameplate, which in colloquial Italian means ‘cool’, is actually a re-skinned version of the previous-generation European Fiesta hatch (Code:B256) on which the Indian Fiesta saloon (Code: B376) is also based.
The Figo’s nose is particularly distinctive and bears a strong resemblance to other ‘Kinetic’ Fords with a slim upper grille and a large and inverted lower grille which impart a sense of energy and motion even in these photos. The lights, though not as radically elongated as other modern Fords, have that stretched back look and look quite striking. The side profile and glass area look a bit old-fashioned and betray traces of the previous Fiesta hatchback.
From the rear, the Figo’s roots are also obvious with the high-mounted vertical tail-lights and rear quarter-glass that characterised the Fiesta hatch and Fusion here. However, a different tailgate, completely new tail-light design and a smooth, chunky bumper update the looks dramatically. The Figo manages to look quite contemporary and the design and styling should work well in the segment of the market it plans to compete in.
The Figo will get a completely fresh interior package which means a brand new instrument panel, seats and trim. According to Ford insiders, the interiors are expected to set new standards for small hatchbacks combining class-leading aesthetics and functionality. Built on the same 2486mm wheelbase as the Indian Fiesta and Ikon, the Figo is expected to have a similar amount of passenger space as its saloon siblings.
The Figo will initially be launched with two engine options — a petrol and a diesel. The diesel engine is one that we are all familiar with — the same 1.4 Duratorq 68bhp motor that powers the Ikon and Fiesta saloons. The Duratorq motor is incredibly responsive at low speeds and hugely economical too which should suit the urban driving conditions the Figo will mostly cater to.
The Figo also gets a new all-aluminium 1.2-litre petrol motor which is essentially a scaled-down version of the 1.4/1.6 Sigma petrol engines that power the Fiesta saloon. Belonging to the same engine family, it shares common architecture like double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder an aluminium block and is expected to develop max power between 70 and 75bhp.
More car for less
Ford is pitching the Figo to Indian consumers from the plank of affordability which means it has to be cheap to buy and cheap to run. Prices will only be announced next year before the car goes on sale in March 2010 but company sources indicate that Ford is planning to launch the Figo with killer pricing that will shock its rivals. Ford has targeted the base Hyundai i10 (earlier it was the Santro) as its price benchmark for the 1.2 petrol Figo which equates to Rs 3.6 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The 1.4 diesel Figo is aimed at the Indica Vista diesel and can be expected to retail at around Rs 4.6 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).