Face Off: Ford Figo Aspire vs Honda Amaze

The sub 4 meter segment has been picking up immense pace here in India. With numerous sedans and even SUVs occupying this sector of the market, buyers have an immense array of vehicles to choose from. Currently,the Honda Amaze is the new leader in the sedan sub-section of the 4m segment with the Hyundai Xcent and Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire hot on its heels. The year 2015 marks the entry of American auto heavyweight Ford into this highly lucrative yet ultra competitive segment of the Indian market. With the launch of the Figo Aspire, Ford hopes to reclaim some of its lost glory from the Koreans and Japanese. We pit the all new Ford Figo Aspire against the highly sought after Honda Amaze to see whether the American sedan has what it takes to come out on top.

Exteriors

Ford Figo Aspire:

The design of the Ford Figo Aspire was first previewed with the Ka Concept car showcased at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo. Up front we have Ford’s now signature horizontally slatted grille flanked by large muscular headlights. The car evidently lacks a bit of flair however, it is by no means a disappointing design. It is equal parts aggressive and subtle.

The Figo Aspire fights in the same sub 4m segment as the Honda Amaze
The Figo Aspire fights in the same sub 4m segment as the Honda Amaze

Honda Amaze:

The Honda Amaze borrows heavily from the manufacturer’s Brio hatchback. While some may argue that the results are far from appealing, the Amaze manages to produce a harmonious mix of aggressive cuts and effeminate curves. However, the Amaze too falls short in this segment.

The Honda Amaze has been a massive hit among Indian buyers since its launch
The Honda Amaze has been a massive hit among Indian buyers since its launch

Winner: Draw

Interiors

Ford Figo Aspire:

Fans familiar with the EcoSport and Fiesta’s cabin will instantly feel at home inside the new Ford Figo Aspire. The American car maker has employed roughly the same layout for its all new compact sedan. The interiors are a conventional combination of beige and black with the dashboard featuring Ford’s SYNC infotainment system and a three spoke steering wheel fitted with the now common steering mounted controls for audio playback and Bluetooth connectivity. Despite being a budget offering, the large multi-function display and the gloss black finish on the steering wheel and the center console provides the Figo Aspire with an upmarket feel.

The interiors of the Figo Aspire is far more upmarket than its rivals
The interiors of the Figo Aspire is far more upmarket than its rivals

Due to the compact nature of the sedan, rear leg room may prove a little too less for tall passengers. However, the beige color scheme provides an airy feel to the Ford Figo Aspire’s cabin. The interior features numerous cubby holes and compartments for miscellaneous items.

Honda Amaze:

The Honda Amaze features a slightly underwhelming cabin. Honda’s stock music system offers minimal features and the control knobs for the air conditioning system feel far too low-cost. With Honda sticking to a strict budget, the cabin of the Honda Amaze feels a little drab with no striking or radically innovative design elements present. However, Honda has made clever use of slightly thinner seats with more padding allowing for a more spacious cabin than most sub-4m sedans. The increased leg room coupled with the beige interior of the cabin delivers an illusion of mid-size sedan. However, the lack of rear AC vents may result in slightly uncomfortable rides with too many passengers sitting in the rear seats.

Honda has made small adjustments in seat width and choice of materials to provide the maximum space possible for the Amaze's occupants
Honda has made small adjustments in seat width and choice of materials to provide the maximum space possible for the Amaze’s occupants

Winner: Ford Figo Aspire

Under the Hood

Ford Figo Aspire:

Ford offers both petrol and diesel variants for the Ford Figo Aspire. The petrol driven Figo sedan if available in two flavors: a modest 1.2 l four cylinder mill that churns out 87 bhp @ 6300 RPM and 112 Nm @ 4000 RPM and a more powerful 1.5 l unit that produces an impressive 110 bhp @ 6300 RPM and a peak torque of 136 Nm @ 4250 RPM. The American car manufacturer offers a sole diesel engine in the form of a 1.5 l TDCi mill that produces a segment standard 99 bhp @ 3750 RPM and 215 Nm @ 1750 RPM.

Ford offers one of the widest array of engine options to choose from
Ford offers one of the widest array of engine options to choose from

While the base petrol variants and all diesel models of the Figo Aspire are offered with a 5 speed manual gearbox, the range topping 1.5 l petrol variant of the sedan comes fitted with a six speed automatic gearbox.

Honda Amaze:

The Honda Amaze is also offered with petrol and diesel engines. Honda’s familiar 1.2 l i-VTEC motor does duty in the petrol variant of the Amaze while the diesel model houses a 1.5 l i-DTEC engine. The Amaze’s petrol variant produces 87 bhp @ 6000 RPM and a peak torque of 109 Nm @ 4500 RPM and is offered with a 5 speed manual gearbox as well as a five speed automatic. Honda’s 1.5 l i-DTEC engine produces 99 bhp @ 3600 RPM with a peak torque figure of 200 Nm coming in at  1750 RPM.

Honda's EarthDreams diesel engine is now rivaled by that of the Figo Aspire's
Honda’s EarthDreams diesel engine is now rivaled by that of the Figo Aspire’s

Winner: Ford Figo Aspire

Verdict

Though the Amaze set the benchmark for most sub-4m sedans, American car maker Ford has produced a phenomenal rival in the form of the Figo Aspire. The Figo packs in more horses under the bonnet, more features inside the cabin and offers a slightly less mellow design and aesthetics.

The Ford Figo Aspire is guaranteed to become a segment best seller
The Ford Figo Aspire is guaranteed to become a segment best seller

Ford Figo Aspire

"Ford Figo Aspire"

Indian compact sedan segment is rapidly increasing and every car manufacturer is trying to get the best out of it. Ford took good use of this opportunity with the sub-4m category by launching the EcoSport. It has done well for the company so far but that hasn’t stopped them from introducing another all-new car. It is the second generation Figo with an added boot, the Figo Aspire. Here is a review on this vehicle that carries a showroom price starting from Rs. 4.90 lacs.

"Ford Figo Aspire"
Image Source: http://auto.ndtv.com

Engines

The Ford Figo Aspire is available across all dealerships in India. This car comes with three engine options. A 1.5 TDCi diesel and two petrol engines (1.2-litre and 1.5-litre Ti-VCT). Ford has added the Ecosport and Fiesta’s engine into the Aspire. However, the engine has been tweaked to offer more power. The engine now produces 100PS and 215Nm of torque and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The diesel engine offers 25. 83 kmpl, which seems pretty impressive. The petrol 1.2 motor is a heavily tweaked engine seen in the current Figo hatchback. The engine has received variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides, apart from other updates. The Ti-VCT (as it’s called) engine produces 88PS of max power and 112Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The automatic transmission variant however gets the larger 1.5 Sigma petrol also seen in the EcoSport. The unit produces 112PS and 136Nm of max power and torque. This variant even features ESP, traction control and hill launch assist. The hill assist system basically prevents the car from rolling back by applying the brake for a few seconds. The claimed fuel economy figures are 18.16kmpl and 17kmpl for the 1.2 and 1.5 variants respectively. These are pretty impressive mileage figures and are certainly worth competing against Maruti and Hyundai.

Exterior:

The Figo Aspire carries Ford’s very own Kinetic design language that aims at offering a premium and dynamic theme. The vehicle has a bold yet hexagonal chrome grille. The vehicle carries swooping headlamps and makes up for a futuristic design. The vehicle comes with 14-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels looks stylish and go well with the overall design. Just so that the vehicle remained under 4m lengths, the rear end was shortened. The rear side is a smart design and has D shaped tail lamps.

Interiors:

The Figo Aspire has quite a stylish interior and seems uber-cool. The Dashboard on this vehicle is same as the one found on Ecosport. The steering wheel, centre console and information screen look very similar to the EcoSport and Fiesta. There are dual-tone black/beige dash and beige seats and door pads. Depending on the variant, there’s either gloss black or silver finished inserts. The steering wheel also houses the controls.

The seats are comfortable and even feature leather upholstery (first in segment). There is good support up front but the rear seats could have offered more support and could have been made larger. The Boot space on this car is around 360 litres that seems less than competitors like Amaze or Xcent. The Aspire comes in four different trim levels namely – Ambiente, Trend, Titanium and Titanium+. The Ambiente trim offers a dual tone interior, adjustable front and rear headrests, front power windows, tilt adjust steering, multi information display, keyless entry, electric boot release and driver and passenger airbags.

 

"Ford Figo Aspire"
Image Source: http://auto.ndtv.com

The Trend adds front fog lamps, gloss black elements, rear armrest, steering mounted controls, rear power windows, mobile phone dock and a Bluetooth stereo with four speakers. The Titanium trim also gets auto climate control, power fold mirrors, ABS with EBD and an adjustable driver seat. The Titanium+ is the fully loaded variant and it also gets segment first leather seats, the 4.2-inch information screen with the Sync feature, CD player, side and passenger airbags (very impressive and first in segment but passengers don’t get grab handles), Ford MyKey (a programmable key that when used can limit speed and stereo volume level).

All the aforementioned trims are available in 7 different shades- Ruby Red, Sparkling Gold, Oxford White, Tuxedo Black, Deep Impact Blue, Ingot Silver and Smoke Grey. Additional accessories such as illuminated scuff plates, rear parking sensors, mirror mounted reverse camera and GPS, ambient lighting and shark fin antenna are available at various Ford dealerships.

 

Bottom Line:

With the existence of other notch backs competing tough in the segment, Ford is a new entrant. The Aspire is undoubtedly a powerful and elegant car with a great engine. With a decent price tag, this vehicle should heat up competition a little more. However, a cautious buyer considers service more often than not. If Ford expands its service stations, there might be scope for the Aspire.