Driven #32: 2015 Ford Figo Aspire TDCi Titanium+

Ford has a notorious reputation in India with just one of its models selling well at any point in time. Be it the Escort, Ikon, Fiesta, Figo or Ecosport, they have all stayed true to that legacy. In its bid to change that image, the American manufacturer has launched a slew of new models over the last few months with the Figo Aspire leading the charge. The Aspire is not just an extension of Ford's successful Figo nameplate but also marks the brand's entry in one of the fastest-growing and most-competitive segments in the market. Yes, the Figo Aspire has jumped head on into a segment where Maruti-Suzuki, Honda and Hyundai aren't letting the new comers settle down. Add to it the perception of expensive maintenance associated with Ford and there is a lot riding against this car.

The Figo Aspire has started off well in its first few months on sale but has the car got what it takes to overcome the odds, sustain sales and succeed in the Indian market? Let's find out. 


Designing a compact sedan for India has got to be a challenge for even the best automotive designers in business. Slapped with multiple constraints with the most significant being the need to restrict the length of the car under four meters, it is not that difficult to end up with a design that's disproportionate and awkward. That's precisely why Ford's designers deserve a pat on their backs for their work on the Figo Aspire. It isn't the most proportionate compact sedan out there but it easily is the best-looking one in the market right now.

Creating a positive impression from the word go, the Figo Aspire strikes a chord at first glance. Its sharp nose characterized by the hexagonal grille inspired by Aston Martin looks fabulous while the sleek horizontal chrome slats and swept back headlights further ups the style quotient. The Blue Oval logo sits atop the grille and not on it like it does in most cars. The ridges in the front bumper and the prominent 'power bulge' in the hood adds muscle to all that bling up front. The profile is not the best angle to view the Figo Aspire with the short overhangs, long wheelbase and puny 14-inch wheels resulting in an awkward stance. Fact is, the Figo Aspire looks better than most of its competitors in this angle too and that tells a lot about the prevailing 'aesthetic' sense in this segment. Stubby rear view mirrors with integrated repeater lamps and a strong shoulder line housing the door handles are nicely done. The rear, again, is well designed with large wraparound taillights setting the tone. The boot lid has an integrated lip spoiler as well as a character line that connects the taillights.

Though the Figo Aspire has generous application of chrome, the shiny metal looks classy in this car. Even the thick chrome bar that runs across the boot lid and the front fender inserts add to the appeal of the car and aren't gawdy to look at. Ford could have reduced the number of badges at the rear though. With different fonts, sizes and offsets, the Figo, Aspire, Titanium and TDCi badges fill up the empty space in the boot lid well but look cluttered. The design of the alloy wheels could have been better too, given that the Ecosport and the old Figo had great-looking wheels.


Manufacturers these days are adopting a common design theme in and out for models across segments. Ford is no different and the Figo Aspire's cabin borrows heavily from its siblings, the Ecosport and Fiesta.

What is not borrowed is the instrument cluster that appears barebones at first look. Move past its simple looks though and this cluster provides you with all that you need and then some more. A large speedometer houses the LCD screen that displays the odometer reading. A steering-mounted stalk lets you toggle through information like trip meter, outside temperature, average speed, average and instantaneous fuel efficiency and distance to empty readouts. An analog tachometer sits to the left and a large fuel gauge to the right of the speedometer. There is also an 'Econo' mode which, when turned on, prompts the driver to shift up at optimal revs for better fuel efficiency. The prompting is done by displaying a green 'up arrow' symbol.

The three-spoke steering wheel is good to hold with nicely-shaped thumb recesses. The glossy black insert is great to look at but is an instant dust magnet. The center console is a direct lift from the Ecosport with an array of buttons stacked like those in the Nokia smartphones of yore. The layout is starting to look a bit dated and Ford should think of moving onto sleeker touchscreen-based units that are the norm these days. The climate control buttons below, though a tad smaller than what we would have liked, look neat and classy. The chrome-ringed rotary dials with their knurled finish stand out and are great to touch and operate. The USB and Aux inputs are placed right in front of the gearstick along with a 12-volt power outlet.

The Figo Aspire might be a compact sedan slugging it out in the mass market but Ford has put in a lot of efforts in designing the car's interiors. Don't believe us? Let's give a few examples. The recess right below the climate control unit has a ribbed texture to prevent items from sliding around. The superb integration of multiple controls including headlamp leveling, front and rear fog lights and remote boot opening in a single panel to the right of the steering wheel is another job well done. Are you looking for a secret place to hide your wallet from prying eyes? There's one to the side of the dashboard visible only when you open the driver's door. The front doors can hold a 1.5-liter bottle and two 1-liter bottles each with some space left for more! This, without a doubt, is a well thought-out cabin.

The front seats are spacious and accommodating with a healthy height adjustment range. The beige leather upholstery is exclusive to the Titanium + variant and adds to the plushness of the cabin. The rear seats are far more spacious than we imagined and the Figo Aspire offers more knee room and shoulder room than even the bigger Fiesta. Even after adjusting the front seats for six-footers, the rear seat still had ample space to comfortably seat three adults. Of course, the middle passenger would feel unwelcome with the raised floor. 

The Titanium + trim level we drove gets the ‘SYNC with AppLink’ infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display screen in the center console. It supports USB, Aux, MP3, CD and Bluetooth audio inputs and accepts voice commands as well. Working through the SYNC system is a bit overwhelming initially but gets progressively simpler once you are used to it. Unlike the Ecosport we drove earlier that struggled to understand Indian accents, the Figo Aspire had no problems listening to us. The Aspire also gets Ford’s industry-leading Emergency Assistance that calls the police and gives them the GPS co-ordinates in case of an accident. Making its debut in the Aspire is the new ‘Ford MyKey’ that allows owners to set speed limit, volume limit and let out an audible speed warning. It’s simple, intuitive and might come in handy when handing the car over to others. 

All variants of the Figo Aspire gets dual airbags as standard with the Titanium + getting segment-exclusive six airbags. Knowing how well the old Figo’s body structure fared in the Global NCAP tests, the Figo Aspire should be amongst the safest cars in the segment. We will wait for crash test results to vouch for that statement though! The long list of features in the Figo Aspire include power-folding mirrors, ABS with EBD, Guide Me Home headlamps, leather seats, adjustable front and rear headrests and steering mounted audio controls. Push Button Start, reverse parking camera, reach adjustment for steering and auto-dimming mirrors are conspicuous by their absence.


Figo Aspire’s engine lineup includes a 1.2-liter petrol, a 1.5-liter petrol exclusive to the 6-speed automatic transmission and a 1.5-liter diesel. The car we drove had the diesel mill under its hood with 99 horsepower and 215 Nm of torque. Though the engine is shared with the Ecosport and Fiesta, the Figo Aspire was the first model to get it in a higher state of tune. Of course, Ford has now updated the other models in the lineup as well. 

Turn the ignition on and the Figo Aspire cranks up with an unmistakable diesel clatter. Refinement levels are acceptable at low revs and increases as the revs climb. Though the engine gets a fixed geometry turbocharger to boost output, the lag is well-controlled and hardly evident. It’s a boon inside the city as the response in low revs is simply brilliant. The car shoots off the line and the linear power delivery ensures your daily commute within the city will be an easy affair. But, it’s an open road that this motor craves for. Show it an open stretch of tarmac and you will see the Aspire cross triple digit speeds in no time. Despite the absence of a sixth gear, the Aspire is an extremely capable cruiser and can munch miles for hours without breaking into a sweat. The mid-range packs a punch and you can drive the car in third and fourth gears all day. Power tapers off near the redline but you will hardly feel the need to rev this engine so hard.

The 5-speed manual gearbox is nice to operate with a reasonably light clutch and well-defined gates. That said, we would have preferred an additional gear in the Aspire, given the power on tap and its cruising ability. Though the Xcent and Dzire are more refined and have smoother gearboxes, the Figo Aspire would leave them in the dust when it comes to outright acceleration. The Amaze is no longer the segment benchmark in this category. 

Ride quality is excellent and the Figo Aspire’s suspension is tuned for comfort. At city speeds, the Aspire gobbles up bumps and potholes with ease. The biggest of undulations filter into the cabin with a loud thud though. As speeds build up, the soft suspension setup’s limitations are exposed and the Aspire isn’t as composed as you would expect a Ford to be. Handling is predictable but body roll is quite evident when you flick the wheel enthusiastically. Where the old Figo and Fiesta handled as if they were on rails, the Aspire handles like any other decently-sprung compact sedan would on road. The steering is light at low speeds and weighs up well as you go faster. Still, its not a match for the fabulous hydraulic power steering in the old Figo. If you’re one of those smitten by the magic in cars like the Ikon, Mondeo or Fiesta, the Figo Aspire will not please you. For everybody else in the mass market, this is one of the better-handling compact sedans on sale.

Braking is good and the presence of ABS with EBD meant that the Aspire shed speeds without losing its composure. The pedal offers good bite and the Aspire won’t surprise you with its antics in case of an emergency. The car scores big in fuel efficiency too with 15 - 16 km/l easily achieveable inside the city. Even after some spirited driving during our test drive and extensive idling for the photo shoot, the average fuel efficiency in the MID was still 18.2 km/l. A big thumbs up!



Ford might be late to the compact sedan party but the Figo Aspire is a truly capable product. The big-selling Swift Dzire falls short on rear seat space and comfort, the Xcent lacks power in its diesel avatar and the Amaze has disturbingly low-rent interiors. The Zest was a good all-rounder at launch but people’s lack of faith in Tata prevented it from posing a threat. That brings us to the Figo Aspire. It looks good, pampers occupants with a host of features and a plush cabin, packs a punch with diesel power, returns good fuel economy and boasts of a comfy ride. It might not steer and handle as well as the old Figo or Fiesta but that's hardly what the market wants. If we are on the lookout for a diesel compact sedan right now, our money would be on the Figo Aspire!

Photography & Editing: Bharath Rengaraj & Aravind Ramesh


  1. Great review and nice pictures of the Aspire. I own one and am really surprised why this is not selling more like Honda Amaze or Maruti Dzire.

    1. Thanks for the complement. Keep reading Anything On Wheels. Forget about Dzire, the Aspire deserves to sell more than Amaze and Xcent!