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Fording a slowdown?

Ford decided to give Figo, it's only small car in India, a tweak, a mid life-cycle facelift, to usher in some excitement. Here is what they did. Sumant Banerji reports.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2013 15:19 IST
Sumant Banerji

When it was launched in March 2010, the Figo, Ford’s first and so far the only small car in India, was a runaway success. But a gamut of new entrants and ever intensifying competition has however begun to take its toll on the car. So Ford decided to give it a tweak, a mid life-cycle facelift, to usher in some excitement. Here is what they did.

How is it different?

The head and tail lamps have been redesigned, and the grille has become hexagonal. There are two new colours. Dimensions and wheelbase are untouched: in effect, it is not a major overhaul. The changes bring do in some novelty, albeit without enhancing the aesthetics of the vehicle in a big way.


The old Figo had one controversial aspect— terracota interiors in the top end Titanium variant. It was so radical that it divided opinion down the middle. Some raved and craved, the others cried hoarse. The former were possibly outnumbered, because that colour has got a quiet burial. What we have instead is a please-all blue grey dashboard to go with a beige bottom half.

The other big change is that the steering-mounted controls have given way to an extra lever behind the steering wheel, Renault style. What this means to manufacturing, we do not know, but it sure is irksome. Controls on the steering wheel are way more convenient.

A more refined drive?

It still houses the same set of engines — 1.2 litre petrol and 1.4 litre diesel. The diesel variant has been by far the favoured option, not just due to lower fuel cost but because it is a better drive. The engines have been recalibrated to improve power delivery at low speeds, though the change is marginal. Some effort has also been put towards reducing engine noise by better damping and making the the gearshift smoother.


The best part of the Figo has always been the pricing and that is still the case. It is by far a better car than the Chevrolet Beat, which is its direct competitor. If you compare it to the Swift, you can get one variant higher of the Figo compared to any Swift model. And Figo also offers more boot space. It may not be a better car, but sure is a better value proposition.