By Franky Johnson
The new Figo is not a re-make of a previous model, but is an altogether new vehicle, new right from the ground up.
The new Ford Figo is introduced with a nine model range – six are hatchbacks, three are sedans, two of the hatches are diesels, and there is a PowerShift Automatic version available in both the petrol and the diesel models, and all are powered by 1.5 litre engines.
Having driven a 6-speed diesel manual and a 6-speed Powershift auto at the Gauteng launch, I’m sure that the new Ford Figo is destined to be another Ford success story. The new Figo offers buyers a choice of three trim and equipment levels, starting off with the affordable Ambiente line-up, which includes both body styles and engine choices, and is also well specked. It comes standard with body-coloured bumpers, 14” steel rims with full wheel covers, rear fog lamps, tinted windows and manual air-conditioning, along with the MyFord Dock and Bluetooth-enabled four-speaker audio system with USB and AUX inputs.
On the safety and security front, the all-new Figo Ambiente comes with driver and passenger airbags, ABS, key-operated central locking, and an anti-theft alarm system.
The Figo Trend models add a comprehensive dashboard instrumentation which includes a rev counter and gearshift indicator, colour-coded door handles, 14-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps and electric adjustable exterior mirrors. Also standard are electric windows front and rear with one-touch function for the driver, child locks for the rear windows and a drive-away locking function.
The Figo top spec Titanium is distinguished by its eye-catching chromed headlamp bezels, electronic climate control and SYNC with Bluetooth and voice control and has six airbags. The driver's seat is four-way adjustable, the remote-operated central locking is linked to the MyKey functionality while the Titanium PowerShift models get ESP with Hill Launch Assist.
The styling of the new Figo follows that of the latest Ford Focus and Ford Fusion with the distinctive trapezoidal grille, a raked bonnet and attractive elongated headlamps. The swept-back lines of the windshield and A-pillars impart the all-new Figo with a distinctly dynamic appearance, whist the sweeping, curved lines flowing from the front to the rear create a sense of movement.
The five-door hatch incorporates a rising roofline with a sporty spoiler and neat tailgate accentuated by two distinct crease lines, while the sedan has sharp, clean edges for the deck lid and tail lights, smoothly sculpted wheel arches for a cleaner look, and the Titanium model adds chrome inserts and detailing to the headlights.
According to Ford, the speed lip under the front of the car further enhances aerodynamic performance by deflecting air away from the underbody, the side mirrors are optimised to minimise drag and reduce wind noise and the aerodynamic design helps to keep occupants cool.
On the inside, the styling echoes that of the Ford EcoSport and Fiesta, so if you know your way around those you’ll have no trouble getting accustomed to the new Figo. The dashboard has been up-graded, and the extra silver and chrome details around the cabin, gives the new Figo a more premium appearance. The interior is fairly generous in terms of space, with plenty head, leg and shoulder room, the front seats feel nice and supportive and are fully adjustable to suit both short and tall. The steering wheel is adjustable for rake but not for reach.
Moving to the rear, the bench seat of the new Figo will accommodate three adults in reasonable comfort, with a generous amount of head, leg and shoulder room, and wide opening doors make it easy to get in and out.
For the storage of oddments, the new Figo has no less than 20 smart storage spaces and convenience features strategically located around the cabin, including bottle holders in both front doors that will hold a 1.5-litre and a 1.0-litre bottle at the same time, a large glove box big enough to fit a laptop, three cup holders for front seat occupants and a convenient bin for rear passengers at the back of the centre console.
A hidden side compartment built into the driver's side of the dashboard will keep small items safe, and is only accessible when the driver's door is open. In addition, there is a small rubberised deck under the air-con controls, meant specifically for your cell phone. Then there is the flip open Ford MyDock which can be used as a small storage space when not serving as a info screen.
Boot space in the sedan model is incredible for a car in this segment, swallowing up to 445 litres of luggage, and capacity can be further extended when the rear seat backs are folded down. The boot in the hatchback models measures a handy 257 litres, which is spacious for a sub-compact hatchback, plus in the Trend and Titanium models, the seat-backs split 60/40 and can be folded down to increase capacity substantially.
The build quality is far better than the outgoing Figo – the plastics feel robust and well-screwed together, the dials for the HVAC system are well detailed and feel good to the touch, while most of the buttons in the dashboard have a more premium look.
According to Ford the powerful air-conditioning unit was developed specifically for hot climates, and the unit in both vehicles that I drove was able to cool the cabin quickly, and as both were Titanium spec models, both had automatic climate control.
As mentioned the new Figo is available with two engine options. The 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine develops 82kW of power and 138 Nm of torque and petrol consumption is given as just 5.6L/100 km but on the test drive we averaged 9.09 L/100 km, but we were pushing it quite hard.
The diesel models are powered by a 1.5-litre Duratorq TDCi engine that develops 74 kW of power and 215 Nm of torque, reaching its peak at a low 1 750 rpm. Average fuel consumption is given as a very frugal 4.1L/100km, but once again we were pushing on and averaged just 6.67L/100 kms, which is still very good.
With all the manual models power was transferred to the front wheels through a five-speed gearbox, while Ford's advanced six-speed PowerShift Auto transmission is available on the 1.5 Titanium, in both hatchback and sedan guises.
The Figo provides a dynamically competent drive which is amongst the best in the segment.
Prices for the new Ford Figo start at R158 900 for the 1.5 litre Ambiente Hatch to R205 900 for the 1.5 Titanium Sedan PowerShift Auto, and include a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, a two-year/40 000km service plan, three-year/unlimited km roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 20 000km on both petrol and diesel derivatives.