Ford’s popular entry-level hatch, the Figo, has come in for a bit of a refresh. With competition in the sub-B segment of the market hotting up – with the introduction of the new Suzuki Swift (or Ignis, if you prefer) and vehicles like the ever-popular Toyota Etios, Kia Picanto, Honda Brio and Hyundai Grand i10 not slowing down – it couldn’t have come at a better time.
We took the mid-level 1.5 Trend Auto Hatch (at R207 900) for a spin to see how it gets on.
What can I expect from the Figo?
The subtle facelift adds a mild edginess to the Figo’s overall rounded appearance, which looks really good when combined with the Trend’s new silver painted grille and body-colour mirrors and door handles. The overall appearance is quite mature.
Moving inside, the cab has received subtle changes, too. There’s a redesigned audio system (more on that later), and some material trim upgrades to increase overall comfort. The overall interior environment is simple, basic, even, but it is ergonomic and well built.
Occupant space is good – especially so in the rear, where there is a lot more leg- and headroom than expected. You’ll not want for cabin stowage space either (the boot, by the way, measures a fair 256 litres and expands to 1 490 litres of utility space via the Trend’s 60/40 folding rear seat).
Undoubtedly the Figo’s party piece is the dash-top My FordDock. Normally hidden from view under a flip-up cover, the My FordDock allows one to cradle their phone – and connect it to the vehicle’s audio system via USB – for easy reference to navigation, for example. Because the phone sits in a landscape position, one is also not tempted to try read and reply to messages on the road… While the dock won’t accommodate “plus”-size phones, it works really well and it would be great to see similar innovations in other cars.
Is it loaded with lots of safety features and other nice toys?
The Figo follows the mantra of “everything you need, nothing you don’t”. There really is little that buyers of the Trend-spec models will miss out on. Standard are front foglamps, powered mirrors and front and rear windows, a rear window washer/wiper, a trip computer, manual aircon, and an old-school four-speaker audio system with Bluetooth.
I’d have liked remote audio controls, which are only available on the top-spec Titanium model.
Safety features are quite comprehensive and include dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, hill launch assist and traction control. You also get remote central locking with immobiliser and alarm.
What’s it like from behind the wheel?
In addition to the facelift, the Figo also gets an entirely new drivetrain. As with the model it replaces the engine still measures 1,5 litres in capacity, but this time round loses a cylinder. It gains power, though; with figures of 88 kW (+6) and 150 Nm (+14).
Dubbed the 1.5 TiVCT (twin independent variable camshaft timing), it is a sweet three-cylinder in the best Ford tradition. This naturally aspirated unit revs freely, pulls strongly and sounds quite exciting, too.
It’s paired to a new six-speed automatic that replaces the previous PowerShift transmission (of which I was not a fan). This new box is a vast improvement and shifts smoothly and quickly in everyday driving. Overall, Ford claims the new powertrain combination will return a combined fuel consumption figure of 6,5 l/100 km. I managed 8,9, which is closer to the claimed urban figure of 8,2.
The Figo rides and handles well; feeling sturdy through bends and comfortable the rest of the time.
Should I buy one, or look around?
The new Figo competes in a serious segment with some heavy-hitting players. This list price of this automatic Trend model places it in the higher reaches of the segment. It is, however a very good option, feeling solidly built and larger than it is. Its new drivetrain also makes it a far more attractive option that it was previously.
The Figo comes with a four-year/120 000 km warranty, three-year/unlimited km roadside assistance, five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty and a four-year/60 000 km service plan.
CyberStoep rating: 7/10