Produced by Ford India, mainly for developing countries, the Ford Figo has made a name for itself here in South Africa as an affordable alternative in the group B segment. Offering a variety of standard features Ford owners across the board will be familiar with, the Figo places itself firmly as a competitor to the Polo Vivo, and some smaller Hyundai cars.
The Figo has to be the only car that has a certain place, or MyFord Dock if you will, for your smartphone. This is clever, because it allows for charing your phone without using any of the power outlets. It also allows perfect placement for said phone should you want to use it as a GPS. It may not fully integrate with your device, but it does offer some interesting features, such as text to speech. You talk and it listens, allowing you to make calls and listen to music you have stored on your phone.
It also comes with 7 colour options, but is only offered in 4 here in SA. The very interesting thing is that there is no button or lever to open your boot with inside of the car, but you can open it with the remote.
The best part of this, and all new Fords, is the MyKey device. It “promotes responsible driving” according to Ford. You have the ability to limit speed, audio volume, seatbelt settings, etc. In short, it is the perfect car to lend out because you are can be sure it won’t be abused.
While closely related to the Fiesta, this Figo is a car on it’s own. It’s design clearly draws from the higher end of the food chain, especially sporting the Aston Martin-esque grille, making the Figo far from unattractive. It’s almost imposing front end somehow just works, and walking across the car, there is no indication that this is actually a car selling for just under R200,000
It somehow keeps the genetics in line too. There are no evidence of any corners being cut, and from some angles, even the sedan manages to attract some attention.
It is important to remember that the Figo is supposed to be a budget car, and to be a budget car, some sacrifices has to be made. While build quality seems solid, and shut lines are decent, the use of plastic is overwhelming. It doesn’t really feel nice to the touch, but it does not feel like flimsy milk-bottle plastic either.
Both the hatch and sedan variants offers enough space to be comfortable, and while legroom may be cramped for a full sized adult at the back, the front will handle even the tallest of us with ease.
Ford has done an excellent job in making sure the consistency between models are there. Drive a Focus from the early 2000, and get into the new Fiesta, and it will be the same.
It feels like a Ford. Power comes easily and it never seems like it has to work harder than it should, and driving is extremely easy, balanced even.
Body roll is minimal, gear changes are smooth with the patient clutch allowing for abuse, and steering, although vague and overly assisted, is precise and quick.
The Figo does at times feel like a car from ten years ago, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, some may want a more modern feel to it, but In the bigger picture, it does still remain a budget car.
In most cases, Ford tends to offer the most bang for your back, and the Figo is arguably no different in this regard. The model I drove is the 1.5 Ambiente Sedan, and it goes for R179,000. It offers only the SYNC system, and some safety features. No electric windows, mirrors in the sun visor mirror, drive away central locking, or any other convenience features we have come to accept as standard. So in order to satisfy my needs, I will have to go for the Trend, which starts very close to R200,000.
In my opinion, just look out for a decent demo model, and you will get a very good, reliable little car which is perfect for the school run, work commute, and occasional visits to family you don’t want to see.