Finding the right car is a tough job when you are not buying it for yourself. My parents needed another car in our hometown for use on weekends and maybe a short highway drive once a month. Annual usage wasn't even going to cross 7-8K kilometres. A budget of Rs 7-9 Lakh was decided to be good enough, but I was still not in favour of buying a new car. While my parents were debating on what to buy while considering everything from the Tata Tiago to Mahindra Scorpio (yes, both were outside the budget window), I was scouting for a 2-4 year-old used car because I couldn't see the point in buying a new car for such little use. I was given a budget of Rs 4.5 lakh for a used car and I found some really nice used cars including a Polo, Vento, EcoSport and Linea over a month. However, my parents weren't comfortable with the idea of buying a used car and I was told to decide on a new one. The first option was to get the 1.5-litre petrol EcoSport, but Rs 10 lakh was too much money to pay for a car that would just sit in the parking lot for most of the year. Enter the hatchbacks and chopped sedans. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai were not considered at all. The Tata Zest was dismissed because it's a Tata. Another Fiat Punto was considered but after the local dealer tried to outsmart customers, that idea was also dropped. The Honda Jazz was too pricey for what it offered. Disliked the petrol engines on the Polo and the Ameo. Eventually, we came back to Ford and looked at the Aspire. Asked here in forum as well and MotuSid and Roshun also suggested the same for around Rs 7 Lakh.
There were some price cuts on the Titanium variants of the Aspire making it a really sweet deal. To top that off, there was some limited period cash discount when we bought it in October. Rs 17,000 - 18,000 cash discount, free 4-year RSA and warranty, free third service (company gives two free otherwise) and we ended up paying Rs 6.1 Lakh (+48K later for registration in our hometown) at Noida Ford. Since then, it has been driven for around 3,500 kilometres, mostly with me chauffeuring my mom to relatives'. Apart from the obvious stuff, here are some bits I liked or disliked: LIKES
Nice steering wheel and feel, not unusually light
Plenty of storage spaces in the front
Decent sound from in-built music system, do note that my reference here is our Punto which came with pathetic speakers. Bluetooth, USB, AUX available.
Reasonably comfortable ride even on bad roads (drove on some of the worst roads in UP)
Lid on top of dashboard that doubles up as phone holder (image attached). Aux port right behind it. I prefer aux over Bbluetooth for audio so it works really well. Open Android Auto put the phone on the dock and fold the cable right behind
Reasonable rear legroom
Plenty of headroom
Decent looking dashboard
Engine sound past 4,000 rpm
Equipment on offer for the price - electric mirrors, automatic climate control, ABS, airbags, etc;
Looks - Not a winner by any margin but considering that most chopped up sedans (boot-ified hatchbacks) look very disproportionate, it is slightly better. I still prefer the Figo hatchback though.
Experience at Ford workshop
Doesn't feel as solidly built as other Ford cars, bootlid feels unusually light
Small wheels. 14-inch alloys ruin the side profile.
Very strong focus on efficiency. Shift light that pops up at 1500-2000 rpm (on petrol), diesel like gearing, hideously large fuel gauge, too small tacho (actually they are both same size but why would someone need a fuel gauge as big as tacho)
Low torque (duh, it's a 1.2 petrol) means overtaking requires some planning (or a downshift)
Not as planted as the Punto at high speeds.
No storage spaces for rear passengers.
Too many buttons for the music system. Looks like they placed an entire Nnokia phone dialler there.
Very thin AC vents in centre
OLED displays - The car has those green self-lit OLED displays instead of the usual black LCD displays with backlight. I prefer driving/riding with the pilot lamps on. On most cars, turning on the pilot lamps would also turn the LCD backlight which you won't mind even during day. On this, the OLED display dims as soon as you turn the pilot lamps on. Of course it makes sense to dim those displays at night but it should be linked to the headlamps and not the pilot lamps. As a result, almost everything on the displays is barely visible during the day.
No temperature gauge- WHY? Just why? Just an overheat light which will probably glow up by the time one has already figured out from the drop in power.
Beige interiors, personal preference
Will update with more personal observations and some more photographs as the car clocks more miles with me behind the wheel.
Nice observation Akshay Sharma. I agree with most of the points you have put up so far. Personally, I prefer buying a brand new car to a used one as you get the assurance of a manufacturer warranty. Also, it is hard to guess how much love the previous owner showered on the car in the case of buying a used one. Like you, even I hate this trend of compact hatchbacks - most of them look plain weird. Even I feel the Aspire is the best looking compact sedan in the market currently. Like you, even I have a Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD back home and every time I step into a Figo, I can’t help but compare it to the Punto. Even I have felt that the Figo Aspire gets a bit light at high speeds, but nothing scary like say the Hyundai Verna. The Punto feels stable mainly because of the kerb weight I feel. Initially, I was bit sad that Ford has diluted some of the steering feel that was present in the older cars like Ikon and the Fiesta. When my dad bought the EcoSport Ecoboost a couple of years back, even he noted that it was not as heavy as the Ikon that he previously owned. Still, he was happy with the feel as it was better than the Honda City he had tested a day earlier. The MyFord Dock is a useful feature as well. It’s a neat little slot to place the phone and play music through the Aux-in port while using navigation. Somehow, even I feel that the music quality out of the Aux-in port sounds better than when connected through Bluetooth. Your car seems to be well equipped too especially with the electric-folding mirrors, auto climate control and airbags. The sound system and speakers are quite good too. The first thing I did when the Punto was delivered was to change all four speakers. The standard ones seemed to sound tinny and lacked clarity. So we got two pairs of Blaupunkt speakers and two tweeters. The 14-inch wheels is a bit of a downer too. It does spoil the side profile of the Aspire. If the car was your own vehicle that you would drive every day, I would have suggested upgrading the wheels and tyres to 15-inch. The OLED display that dims when the park lamps are switched on is something I have never really observed before. That’s a good point you have made there. Even I hate beige interiors and Ford should have at least given customers an option especially when the Figo hatchback only comes with black/grey trim even in the top-end Titanium trim. Looking forward to more images and reviews of the car.
NikilSJ Finding the right used vehicle is tiring. I have my own set of filters and dad has good mechanical know-how which means we actually considered only 4-5 options after looking at close to 24-25. We weren't exactly looking for very old vehicles but just barely old to reduce the initial steep loss in value. I usually skip popular cars simply because they attract all sort of owners and also attract high price in used market. The distance our car has done over these three months was mostly because I took it on some weekend drives so that I can notice if anything needs attention during first service (and well, new car). I guess it will do similar distance till the 1 year service comes up. High speeds aren't exactly disturbing. Just that Punto is much more confidence inspiring, even when you are way past legal speeds. The steering is good compared to what other cars in the segment have to offer. Dzire and others are too light. I often keep driving around EcoSport as well and it has similar steering feel as Aspire. I have never driven the Ikon but the steering on Fiesta and the previous Figo felt slightly better. If it was my car, it would have been Figo and not the Aspire. The 14 inch wheels sort of work on the hatch. The audio for me either comes from USB or Aux. Wireless audio has a long way to go before it can actually please everyone (Apple listen up?). Even when you look at other audio gear, 8-10K on wired headphones will get you better quality than 22-24K on wireless. About the display, I feel that it is easier to notice the vehicle for others in mirror if the pilots are on, especially when driving on roads covered with trees. The display would have been perfect if it would dim just with the main lamps. Btw is your Figo also the 1.2 petrol variant? What sort of fuel consumption are you observing? I managed 13.6 on highway which I considered decent until I took a 1000 km old 1.5 petrol EcoSport on a 1500 km drive and managed 13.9.
Akshay_Sharma, I don't have a Figo. I have a Fiat Punto 1.3 MJD. The steering, like you mentioned, is very confidence inspiring. I guess it is because of the weight of the engine and the solid metal sump guard underneath. I totally agree with you on the audio bit. I am the sort of guy who pours over countless reviews before I buy a set of cans. My Punto doesn't have music streaming capability so it's quite alright. Annoyingly, it doesn't have an Aux-in port as well. All there is a USB port in the glovebox which has a mind of its own. For this reason, I have to burn my music onto CDs. A friend of mine owns a Figo 1.5 diesel which has done 20k odd kilometres. He has been getting 19kmpl consistently which is pretty impressive. The torque spread is better than my Punto as well.