Ford had just introduced the 2019 Figo facelift in India a few days ago. It essentially gets some visual and mechanical updates, along with extra features to attract buyers to this accomplished contender. The new Figo is powered by a pair of new three-cylinder petrol powertrains from Ford’s Dragon series (1.2-litre-manual/1.5-litre auto), and also the excellent 1.5-litre diesel from the outgoing model.
We are in Jodhpur to see if the 2019 Figo lives up to its predecessor’s ‘fun-to-drive’ moniker, or if it pushes the envelope even further. Read further.
The cosmetic upgrades on the 2019 Figo may feel subtle in these shots, but in the flesh, it looks fresh especially when viewed head-on. There’s a sportier honeycomb mesh grille that’s not only finished in glossy-black, but now fills the grille in entirety. Besides that, the lower bumper now has a more angular design, along with a snazzy fog lamp surround that’s finished in a bright matt blue shade.
While the silhouette is similar to the outgoing model, you’ll still notice the new shape 15-inch alloys finished in glossy-black (in Blu version). At the rear, only the mildly restyled lower section of the bumper catches your attention. We have to admit that all these tweaks make the 2019 Ford Figo more attractive than ever. In fact, when spotted from a distance, the new Blu variant (in white paint), is similar to the older Figo ‘Sports’ version.
While the 2019 Ford Figo soldiers-on with essentially the same cabin/dash layout, the biggest highlight has to be the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s brilliantly incorporated between the air-con vents with very few physical buttons, and actually looks good. Although it performs decently, it isn’t the Sync 3 that’s found in the Aspire/Freestyle. This also means that there are no phone mirroring functions such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or even MirrorLink.
What’s also new on the Blu variant are the matt blue trims on the door pads that’s further complemented by blue seams on the seat upholstery. Subtle, but I just love it! Everything else is same from the older car, like the quality levels. Sure, the quality of plastic may not look upmarket, like other segment players (read Maruti/Hyundai), but they’re definitely sturdy, and feel like they’ll stand the test of time. Like before, there’s lots of space behind the gear shifter, and the front door pads to hold your stuff. However, the rear storage is limited to two seatback pockets and one centrally positioned 500ml bottle holder.
Since the seating is the same too, you’ll find that the well-cushioned front seats have enough contours to offer a comfortable ride with adequate knee and headroom. Even the rear bench is quite accommodating with good knee-room (scooped-out front seatbacks), adequate headroom, decent thigh support, and an appropriately angled backrest. What’s new here though, is the addition of the adjustable rear headrests, which just nails the safety aspect.
When it comes to the 257-litre boot, it can easily swallow a large suitcase with a few shopping bags. However, as the rear-seats lack the split-folding feature, there’s no option for those looking to partially increase the boot capacity.
As for the equipment list, the 2019 Ford Figo is smartly equipped with a touchscreen infotainment system on all three variants. Then, there are the new features on the top-end ‘Blu’ variant such as auto head lamps and rain-sensing wipers. These join the already long list of features, the highlight being the segment-first six airbags. The new Figo does not get DRLs and phone-mirroring features on the infotainment system, and this can be deal-breakers for some buyers. Meanwhile, those looking to buy the petrol automatic need to know that it will only be available in the mid-variant ‘Titanium’.
The new Figo will be available in three engine options - two new petrols from the Dragon series and the 100bhp/215Nm 1.5-litre diesel (five-speed manual) from the outgoing Figo. Both petrols are three-cylinder setups that include a 1.2-litre 96bhp/120Nm that uses a five-speed manual gearbox, and a 123bhp/150Nm 1.5-litre unit with a six-speed automatic gearbox (torque convertor). Both five-speed manual gearboxes (1.2-petrol/1.5-litre diesel) are not only new, they are almost 15 percent lighter, and requires 40 percent lesser gear oil than the older car. We drove both the 1.2-litre petrol, and the diesel version.
Let’s begin with the new 1.2 petrol (claimed 20.4kmpl). Upon ignition, the first thing you notice is the refinement of this motor at idle. And then, off the mark, it surprises us with an effortless take-off to get into motion. However, as there’s not much grunt until 2700rpm, one is required to constantly shift gears at lower speeds to keep the engine revving in the optimum range. Post that though, the motor gets into its own with a relatively adequate mid-range punch that allows it to pull all the way to the 6500rpm redline. Having said that, overtaking needs to be planned in advance as performance is just about satisfactory. Also, its only when you rev the motor hard that its true three-cylinder nature becomes obvious. However, what makes the entire driving experience hassle-free is the new five-speed gearbox that has a well-defined gate with short throws and requires very little effort to engage.
As for the refined 100bhp/215Nm 1.5-litre diesel unit (claimed 25.5kmpl), there may be a few vibes at the pedals, but it simply shines when it comes to performance. Release the clutch, and the new diesel Figo darts forward with a strong tug. There’s a mild surge at 1600rpm, after which, the motor lugs strongly till about 4000rpm. Post that, however, the engine loses steam on its way to hit the red-line. But, what’s nice is the effortless and flexible manner in which the power is laid down on the road. As a result, there’s no need to constantly shift gears, even when slotted in fifth gear. Speaking of which, even if there was a need to shift, you’ll find the new gearbox to be smoother, with a more positive shifting action. This is a welcome change from the older car’s rubbery feel from the gear lever.
The Figo Blu (top model) gets a retuned damper setup that gets thicker anti-roll bars to complement the new 15-inch alloys with 195 section tyres (Ambiente and Titanium get 14-inch with 175 section tyres). This iteration too continues to draw a fine balance between a forgiving ride and potent handling. It continues to dampen even bigger potholes pretty well, and when the speeds increase, the ride gets impressively flatter. Ford has also worked on the steering to make it slightly lighter than before. Besides that, the feedback is the same, so you get the same direct steering which is not only quick to turn, but also progressive enough to let you know what’s happening at the wheels. It is this combo that makes it a hoot to drive around corners, and at high speeds. As for the brakes, this Ford does a good job of instilling confidence each time you want to shed speed. There’s good feedback at the pedal too.
Let’s put things in perspective here. The 2019 Ford Figo falls short of expectations due to absence of some key features like LED headlamps, DRLs and phone mirroring functions on the new infotainment system. We have to admit that these can be deal breakers in an otherwise brilliant package. One that simply shines thanks to Ford plonking a new peppy petrol engine, fitting new manual gearboxes and freshening up the dash with the new infotainment system. These fresh additions join the Figo’s existing list of fortes, such as comfortable seating, and the sorted ride-and-handling combo. The icing, of course, is the pricing which seems to be spot-on with the competition. Ultimately, we feel that Ford has really nailed it this time with the 2019 Figo!
Pictures By Kapil Angane