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Ford’s no-fuss Figo

Ford’s new-look Figo has gained improved specification levels to make it a stronger contender than its predecessor in the entry-level market.

 

Ford has lifted its game in the compact car segment with an extensively updated entry-level model, the Figo. Importantly, all derivatives in the new line-up are now powered by a recently developed, three-cylinder, petrol-fueled engine that displaces 1,5 litres. The unit – which, like the car, is manufactured in India – is equipped with twin independent variable camshaft timing (TiVCT) to improve torque responses and top-end power.

In this respect the engine is credited with outputs of 88kW and 150Nm – substantially higher than the figures produced by rivals in the segment – and is said to return good fuel economy figures coupled with low running costs.

Along with the engine, a new, high-tech six-speed automatic gearbox has made its debut in the range. Exclusively available in the five-door Trend hatch, the unit replaces the previous generation’s PowerShift transmission and is said to boast greater refinement thanks to a significant reduction in noise and vibration.

Manual derivatives employ a five-speed gearbox equipped with an EcoMode function and a shift indicator that informs the driver of the ideal point to shift up or down a gear to reduce fuel consumption.

 

“The Figo is an important model for Ford in South Africa, as it is represents the entry point for customers into the brand,” says the company’s General Manager of Marketing, Tracey Delate. “The latest model brings with it a fresh new look and equipment upgrades, and we have rationalised the line-up with a view to making it a more competitive and compelling choice in a segment where value for money and affordability are the primary purchase considerations.” 

 

From this perspective, Delate points out that Ford has introduced for the model a new service plan, which takes the original two-year/40 000km offering to a comprehensive four-year/60 000km period.

“The plan covers the vehicle for up to four services over a period of four years – a unique offering in this class that is sure to create a stir in the local market,” she says.

Key to the Figo’s modern, refined appearance is an attractive new front end distinguished by a refreshed bumper design that houses a restyled honeycomb grille to reflect the company’s latest design language.

The feature is complemented by eye-catching detailing for the front fog lamp surrounds, framed by creative accents that link the lower bezel to the upper section of the bumper, giving the model a dynamic and elegant flair.

 

New chrome inserts in the headlamps add a further dash of sophistication, in Ford’s view imparting the model with far greater stand-out appeal when compared with the predecessor. The sporty stance is further enhanced by stylish, new, dual-tone, multi-spoke, 14-inch alloy wheels for Trend models, and updated wheel caps for the 14-inch steel rims on Ambiente versions.

 

At the rear, the styling benefits from subtle yet effective changes to the tail light clusters, along with an all-new bumper design that gives the car a notably more contemporary character.

A new White Gold colour option is available exclusively on Figo Trend models to complement the carry-over options that can be specified across the range: Oxford White, Absolute Black, Smoke, Deep Impact Blue, Ruby Red and Moondust Silver.

 

 

The interior of the Figo has been updated too, particularly around the centre console and upper instrument panel. The cleaner design, chiefly focused on the audio system, enhances ease of use. New fabric inserts on the door panels and the selection of a new, modern fabric for the seats further helps to enhance interior ambience. 

 

 

From a value for money perspective, the Figo boasts an impressive range of standard comfort, convenience and safety features. The entry-level model, the Ambiente, is available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback.

It is equipped with electrically powered front windows with one-touch operation on the driver's side, a factory-fitted immobiliser, electric power-assisted steering, tilt adjustment for the steering column and headlight level adjustment.

A built-in audio unit is standard with an integrated display and four speakers, offering Bluetooth connectivity, a USB slot, as well as Ford’s unique Device Dock in the upper section of the centre console for connecting and powering smart phone devices. Driver and passenger airbags are standard, along with ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD).

Additional features offered with Trend models – which are also styled as sedans or hatchbacks – extend to remote central locking, a seat belt reminder for driver and front passenger, power operated rear windows with child locks, a rear window defroster, a perimeter anti-theft alarm and a gear-shift indicator for manual models.

Externally, the Trend is distinguished by 14-inch alloy wheels, powered side mirrors, the distinctive chromed grille, front fog lamps and full colour coding for the door handles and mirrors. Further, the automatic version is equipped with Hill Launch Assist.

On the road all variants in the range feel peppy in terms of responses. The Trend version equipped with an auto box – which incorporates a torque converter – tends to react quickly and efficiently to most demands, while models with manual transmission are characterised by light clutch action and smooth shifts through the H gate.

While many three-cylinder engines send to vibrate and sound gruff, the unit in the Ford is smooth and quiet by comparison – easily capable of propelling the car to the national speed limit, with plenty of power available for overtaking manoeuvres.

Brakes appear good in normal road driving, while steering is light but accurate. The cabins of both hatch and sedan are airy and reasonably spacious and comfortable by compact car standards.    

  

PRICES:

Figo 1,5 TiVCT Ambiente Hatch 5MT              R181 300

Figo 1,5 TiVCT Trend Hatch 5MT                    R190 600

Figo 1,5 TiVCT Trend Hatch 6AT                     R205 700

Figo 1,5 TiVCT Ambiente Sedan 5MT             R187 200

Figo 1,5 TiVCT Trend Sedan 5MT                   R196 000

 

All models are sold with a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited kilometer corrosion warranty. A four-year/60 000km service plan is included.


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