Ford has introduced the new Figo with freshened up styling, improved comfort and more standard features. Competing in a very competitive and important segment where value for money and affordability reign supreme, what does the new Figo promise?
The Figo is Ford’s most important product. I can imagine you are asking yourself “how?” when Ford produces so many high end well balanced vehicles like the tarmac ripping Mustang, cars like the fantastic compact city SUV which practically started a new segment – the EcoSport.
Let us use an example that is closer to home to explain. Remember that uncle of yours that supports his favourite soccer team religiously win or lose he is behind his team. Even in the face of new teams, funded by billionaires, he remains faithful and content with his very own team. If you back-track a couple of years you will discover that there was a point of time where that team captured his heart and imagination. This is a time when he was a “free agent” when his mind was open and objective. Attempting to get your uncle to support a different team today may not be impossible but will certainly be difficult. That’s brand loyalty.
Many of you may have already connected the dots between the uncle example and why I described the Ford Figo as the most important Ford product. The reason is pretty simple. A good number of Figo prospective customers are young people who are first time car buyers and who have not yet attached themselves to any car brand. It is the job of the Figo to ensure that after a young person purchases it they never leave the Ford family. So the Figo should do three things firstly, it should offer all the styling and features that will make this young person want to make that purchase; secondly, it should be priced well enough that this young person will be able to afford it; thirdly, and most importantly, the Figo should be able to capture the person’s heart in such a way that when they upgrade and purchase their next car it is once again from the Ford stable.
The Figo does come standard with all the necessary features that you need from a car, such as front electric windows, factory-fitted immobilizer, power steering wheel, driver and front passenger airbags and ABS brakes. However what will really please potential buyers of the Figo is the Audio system which comes standard with four speakers and a USB slot to easily pump your favourite tunes. It also features Ford’s supercool Device Dock where you can place your mobile device on the upper section of the centre console and get to charge it as well as view things like Maps from the device, this is a really simple but nice touch. The audio system also has Bluetooth. But, I have learned over the years that the ‘Bluetooth’ written on your Audio system may not do what you think it does so I ensured that I tested it on the Figo. See a vehicle may have Bluetooth but not Bluetooth media audio what this means is that the Bluetooth functionality is only limited to making and receiving voice calls and you will not be able to play your music wirelessly through Bluetooth. Fortunately the Figo does have Bluetooth media audio and I did connect my mobile device quite easily and played my tunes.
The Figo is offered in both hatch and sedan guise. The sedan is a great option for someone requiring larger boot space and, from an exterior perspective, the sedan is a larger car. If you believe that size matters then the sedan is the one for you. The hatch appealed to us more than the sedan did, it is more hip and trendy. Both sedan and hatch feature a new front bumper with a honeycomb grille. The honeycomb grille is a great addition to the Figo and gives it a more upmarket appearance and is also something which is not normally seen in this segment. The Figo is available in Ambiente and Trend trim.
The Trend comes standard with alloy wheels while the Ambiente comes with steel wheels with updated wheel caps. We honestly do not like wheel caps on cars, they are a headache as they tend to be easy for people steal and are not durable, you end up driving with one black wheel. We, however, can understand the use of steel wheels and wheel caps in this segment of the market where costs have to be kept as low as possible to allow as many people as possible to afford to own their very own vehicle. A friend of mine once commented that he doesn’t need do any high adrenalin activities like sky diving or bungee jumping because he gets heart-stopping adrenalin action each morning when he catches a taxi to work and gets a bonus round when heading back home. So if you’re in a similar position as my mate and “fear is a factor to you” the Figo was designed for you and prices kept low just to ensure that you can afford it.
The updated interior looks decent and something one can live with on a daily basis, we do have some questions on the durability of some of the materials used on the interior. However, to be fair, one cannot assume just by looking at materials that they aren’t durable a fair test will come once the car has been driven a bit and we will be happy to report back how they held up. The boot space is quite good but I do think this came at a sacrifice and rear seated passengers will not be too happy. Your tall super-model significant other will have to jump in the front passenger seat. While this is a not a limousine I would have been happier with just a bit more legroom at the back.
The Ford Figo works very well as a car for someone starting out their career with prices starting from an affordable R181 300 and four year/60 000km service plan included at that price there is no question about value for money. There’s no question about the Figo being a fantastic package either and its owner will have made a good purchase. In this very competitive segment its true challenge will come from its competitors but Ford has put forward a really strong contender.
Our choice would be the Figo 1.5 TiVCT Trend Hatch with the manual transmission priced at R190 600.
Figo 1.5 TiVCT Ambiente Hatch 5MT R181 300
Figo 1.5 TiVCT Trend Hatch 5MT R190 600
Figo 1.5 TiVCT Trend Hatch 6AT R205 700
Figo 1.5 TiVCT Ambiente Sedan 5MT R187 200
Figo 1.5 TiVCT Ambiente Sedan 5MT R196 000
All prices include four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty and a four/60 000km service plan.