If you're a millennial, the chances are that you would have at least heard of the first 'Josh' machine of India if not driven it, the Ikon. The last-gen Fiesta, the Fiesta S, the current Fiesta and the last-gen Figo are the cars enthusiasts swear by, for the handling prowess they offer. So, when the news of a sportier Figo broke, trust me, I was almost on my knees begging for an opportunity to get behind its wheel.
Unfortunately, to please the masses, Ford had to sway towards making the new Figo ride a bit soft, which took away all the sportiness it had to offer. This took away one of the defining characteristics of the Ford - its driver appeal.
But with the introduction of Sports Edition of the Figo, Ford has again raised hopes of enthusiasts in India. It's the 1.5-litre, 100PS diesel Ford Figo Sports that I'm driving. The Figo Sports gets a retuned suspension, and that's exactly what I wanted. Is the Figo Sports finally the performance hatchback that you can buy on a tight budget? We find out!Design
The Figo Sports is certainly sporty – and it has 'sports' written all around it when you see in the white exterior colour. The Figo is handsome, and the sporty bits add the right amount of spice that should make this recipe tasty.
The newer bits include the front honeycomb grille, blacked-out headlamps, 15-inch black alloy wheels, black contrast roof, black outside rearview mirror (ORVM) housings, door decals with ‘S’ lettering and a body-coloured roof-mounted spoiler.
The Figo Sports couldn't have looked more sinister than what it does with the new grille and blacked-out headlamps. The wheels, 15-inchers, look particularly large for a hatchback of the Figo's size but are we complaining, no certainly not. They get low profile but wide 195mm section tyres that should offer better grip on the tarmac.
I'd have personally loved to see the Figo Sports getting the same treatment that Ford offered on the Fiesta S. 'S' badges on the outside and a dedicated exterior colour to make it stand out. The decals are sticker-y, to say the least, and don't do justice to Figo Sports abilities.
Get inside, and a sporty all-black cabin welcomes you. There's piano black finish on panels that are done in silver on the regular Figo. The leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever look all the more sporty, and premium too. The Figo also gets red stitching which adds to the overall racing theme. The Figo Sports is based on the Figo's Titanium variant, so you also get a host of features like climate control system, dual airbags, phone dock, power foldable ORVMs, height-adjustable driver seat, etc.Performance and Handling
The Figo Sports gets the same 1.5-litre, 100PS turbo-diesel engine that the standard Figo gets, and it's already a powerful unit. The engine is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission which is again the same that you get in the regular Figo. With the engine-transmission setup remaining the same, is the Figo Sports really sporty, that's something I asked myself when I first got to know it.
But before I tell you what does the engine have to offer when the pedal is on the metal, let me inform you that there's a slight dip in the fuel efficiency figures of the Figo Sports, which Ford attributes entirely to the fatter tyres on offer. The Figo Sports Edition diesel has a fuel efficiency of 24.29kmpl, which is 1.54kmpl less than the standard Figo with the same engine-transmission setup in the same state of tune.
Again, why the 'Sports Edition’ badge then? Because of the suspension setup. Ford has altered the suspension setup of the Figo making the springs stiffer and reworking on the anti-roll bars. The springs are lowered by 10mm which compensates for the bigger tyres. In case you're unaware, both the Figo and the Figo Sports stand 174mm over the ground.
Once you drive it, you instantly feel how the stiffer suspension setup changes the character of the car on the road. The ride is firm, undoubtedly, and you also feel the surface a lot more, but thankfully, the Figo Sports was never uncomfortable.
Take the Figo Sports to corner carving, and it plants a big smile on your face when you feel the minimal body roll. The steering also delivers a better feedback compared to the standard car, which alleviates the fun on the run. And match the drive setup with an amazing drivetrain producing 100PS on top mated to a slick 5-speed 'box, and you have a hatchback that will pamper the enthusiast in you.
However, not everything is as good in the Figo Sports as you would have liked. The tyres, for example, aren't the best and struggle with the high torque lower in the range leading to wheelspin. The steering too isn't as communicative as you'd want.Verdict
A short drive in the Figo Sports makes one thing transparent – that Ford still wants to listen to the pleas of the enthusiasts, and the Figo Sports is a step in the same direction. The package is also not too expensive, with Ford asking for about Rs 50,000 premium over the standard model in the same variant. Yes, you don't get the additional power, so the metrics remain the same, but the Figo Sports proves that it's not always that you need extra power to remain ahead, but it's the entire package that defines the character of a car.