Test drive and review of the 2021 Ford Figo 1.2 petrol automatic

Test drive and review of the 2021 Ford Figo 1.2 petrol automatic

2021 Ford Figo automatic: what is it like on the outside?
The Figo automatic carries the same styling that debuted on the facelifted model from 2019. The ‘Cellular’ grille design, the clean front bumper with the C-shaped fog light housing, and the slightly sportier rear bumper make the Figo look contemporary enough. Notably, the diamond-cut, 15-inch alloy wheels are part of the BS6 update. On the whole, the Figo still looks smart and well-proportioned.

2021 Ford Figo automatic: what is it?
What you see here is the third evolution of the Ford Figo automatic. Originally launched in 2015 with an 110hp, 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and a dual-clutch transmission, the Figo auto was redone in 2019 with a new 123hp, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit that came mated to a 6-speed torque converter auto gearbox. The latter version was discontinued for the BS6 era earlier last year, and the long overdue replacement has just gone on sale and is the subject of this review. The latest Figo auto features the same 6-speed torque converter auto gearbox but comes powered by a smaller, 96hp, 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. The use of the smaller engine qualifies the Ford for tax benefits available to sub-four-metre cars with petrol engine displacement less than 1,200cc, and resultantly, the pricing has been favourably realigned too. The promise is of torque converter smoothness for AMT money.

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Styling remains the same as that seen on the 2019 facelift.

2021 Ford Figo automatic: what’s it like on the inside?
Stepping inside, you’ll see that here, too, everything has stayed the same as the facelifted car. The cabin has an all-black theme, with piano black inserts on the dashboard, steering wheel, gear lever surround and door panels that give it a more premium look (but are fingerprint magnets). The dashboard itself has a layered design, though its overall layout is showing its age. For example, the tray above the 12V socket – ideal for placing you phone while charging – is not nearly large enough to accommodate many phones we use today.

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The dashboard design has started to show its age, though overall quality is still good.

The free-standing, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes centre stage on the dash, and while it responds well to touch and is relatively straightforward to operate, the interface looks basic. More importantly, it misses out on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, which is something that even more affordable cars offer. AUX connectivity, Bluetooth and embedded navigation are part of the package.

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Front seats offer plenty of comfort with good cushioning and under-thigh support.

Up front, the seats are comfortable and offer good levels of cushioning and under-thigh support. The driver’s seat height adjust should help you find a comfortable driving position, though telescopic steering adjustment would have been appreciated. The view out is quite good with no major blind-spots, though the small rear-view mirrors (while effective for their size) leave room for improvement.

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While knee room is pretty good, rear seat headroom is tight, especially for taller passengers. The rear seats also offer good under-thigh support, with good amounts of knee room – courtesy of the scooped-out backs of the front seats. However, the backrest is a touch upright, which when paired with the tapering roofline means headroom for taller passengers will be tight. Its 257-litre boot isn’t the largest in the segment and its high loading lip means putting in big bags will take more effort.

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The 257-litre boot is well shaped, though its high loading lip makes loading large items a chore. On the equipment front, the Figo automatic is available in the mid-spec Titanium and top-spec Titanium+ trims. The equipment list is headlined by class-leading safety features like six airbags and electronic stability control. Comfort and convenience features include automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers and auto headlamps, push-button start/stop, a rear parking camera and electric release for the tailgate via key fob or switch in the cabin (no physical release present on the tailgate, which can be a bit annoying). Modern amenities like LED headlights, keyless entry, a wireless charger, rear AC vents and a cooled glove box are missing, however.

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With no exterior button to open the tailgate, you’ll have to use this this interior release or the key fob. While the Ford Figo has not been rated on crash safety by Global NCAP as yet, it’ reassuring to know that its sedan sibling, the Aspire, secured a 3-star safety rating from GNCAP back in 2017. For reference, the Figo’s chief rivals, the Maruti Suzuki’s Swift and Hyundai’s Grand i10 Nios, were both rated 2 stars on crash safety.

2021 Ford Figo automatic: how does it perform?
Engage ‘D’ on the auto ‘box and you’ll find that the Figo gets going smoothly, owing to its well-executed creep function. Initial responses to the accelerator, however, tend to feel a bit rushed and this calls for very precise pedal modulation in stop-go traffic. It’s not AMT abrupt, so to speak, but it’s not quite torque converter slick either. Things get better as you build speed. The 6-speed torque converter goes through the gears smoothly and feels nicer than the AMTs offered on rivals. Under heavy acceleration, the shifts are noticeable, though only just, and the gearbox holds the gear all the way to the 6,500rpm redline. Ford has also given the first three gears a shorter ratio, to mask the dull spot below 2,500rpm that is prevalent in its manual counterpart. This complements the engine really well and makes it a lot nicer to drive in the city.

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