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

Face Off: Hyundai Xcent vs Honda Amaze

Hyundai Xcent_Honda Amaze

The Indian car market is right now cluttered with these small and nimble cars known as “compact sedan’s”. Ever since Maruti decided to stick the swift with a boot, though the outcome was awkward styling, the Indian buyers took a liking to this platform, so much so that the desire sold around 1,97,685 units in the last 12 months. In reality that’s more than some car makers wish to see in their sales report of their whole model range combined!

In Action:

Honda Amaze, based on the Brio has done wonders for Honda. It restored the lost sheen of Honda into the Indian car market, it is arguably the car responsible for kick starting Honda’s big comeback, contributing to 63% of the company’s sales last year. The bursting demands for such cars just shows that more and more Indians are taking a liking towards these types of cars. Maybe it’s the compactness, meaning practical drive around town or maybe it’s the friendly styling these cars carry or maybe it’s the thought that you get a sedan for the price of a premium hatchback.

Not wanting to be left out on this race for jackpot, Hyundai launched very recently its version of a compact sedan in the name Hyundai Xcent. One look in the front and its crystal clear that it is based upon its best seller, the Grand i10. Going up against a tough competition with the Honda Amaze. Does the Xcent have what it takes to prevail?

Hyundai Xcent_Honda Amaze

Looks:

Trying to incorporate a spacious cabin and a boot to go along with that in a 4 meter platform would be any designer’s nightmare. Having said that, the Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent are well proportionate cars. This is due to the fact that both have a similar sized bonnet and the sheer length of the rear makes them look like actual sedans. The trunk offers practicality as well, with the Amaze offering 400 liters of boot space and 407 liters for the Xcent. Design wise, we would say both are winners in their own way. While the Honda Amaze comes with sharp line and cohesive shape makes it look sporty. Hyundai Xcent’s stylish front grille and chrome detailing make it look quite upmarket. However Hyundai could’ve worked better on making the rear a little bigger. So the choice of preference by the design would be any individual’s opinion.

Interior:

These cars are manufactured in the hopes to cater the 4-5 people’s family, keeping in mind the requirement of space and comfort. This is where the Honda Amaze shines over the Hyundai Xcent. Honda stretched the Brio’s wheelbase for the Amaze by 60mm giving it more legroom, making it better spacious than its competition. The seats are also made with good cushioning making it the more comfortable. The Xcent has derived its seat from the Grand i10 hatch, altered just a little. The cabin of the Xcent can house tall passengers with ample of legroom and headroom, but the narrow cabin makes it suit two passengers than three. Moving over to the front the Xcent does a good job, the two-tone effect and the cabin quality is excellent in its class. You get good console, great fit n finish and a very stylish and modern looking dashboard. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Amaze. What it makes up in the cabin space it lets down in its cockpit. The materials in the dash feels very cheap plastic and screams budget. The audio system, the AC and the whole dash package feels little from an old car.

Features:

Hyundai Xcent takes the cake in this one. Go for the top end SX (optional package) and you would be bombarded with features that would send some executive sedans home crying. There’s auto climate control, a rear AC, rear parking sensor and rear view camera with a display, key-less entry and go, a cooled glove box, a 1GB hard disk for music, Bluetooth, USB aux in and CD player. For Xcent these are serious selling points against the limited features of Amaze with its electric folding mirror and USB and aux enabled audio system but no CD player or Bluetooth, it lacks in climate control.

Performance:

Hyundai Xcent retains the Grand i10’s new 1.1 litre 3 cylinder engines trying to minimize the cost but revamped it to get a little more power and torque producing 81bhp @ 6000rpm for the petrol and 71bhp @ 4000rpm for the diesel. Hyundai Xcent performs really well in the city conditions with abundance in power in the lower and mid range, but it suffers in the highway as it has no top-end grunt.

Honda Amaze on the other hand is a pocket-rocket and that’s no surprise having bigger 1.5 liter engine than the Hyundai Xcent, it produces 98.6bhp and 20.3Nm of torque. The refinement of the engine is a letdown but however the Honda Amaze produce ample amount of torque in every band range. Though the Amaze has a bigger engine of 1.5 liter engine it claims a note worthy mileage of 18kmpl for petrol and 25kmpl for diesel, while the Hyundai Xcent produces an average of 15.7kmpl on city and 19.1 on highway for petrol considering it’s just a 1.1 liter engine.

Bottom-line: It is notable each of these cars shine in their own ways. But overall the Honda Amaze would be a much better option, but that doesn’t mean Hyundai Xcent is a bad compact sedan, all it needed was some cabin space and some grunt in the engine. Thus a common person can enjoy the practicality as well as the sedan’s platform in these compact sedans.

Honda India Website: https://www.hondacarindia.com

Hyundai India Website: http://www.hyundai.com/in