FORD FIGO 1.5 TDCI TREND By Richard Wiley

FORD FIGO 1.5 TDCI TREND By Richard Wiley

I happened to be in India where the new Ford Figo saloon was first shown to the world in February 2014 but it took until the latter half of 2015 for Ford SA to unveil a nine-model avalanche of sub-B segment Figo models made up of six hatch derivatives and three saloon models.

On the launch event, I also recalled being impressed by the 1.5 oil burner that powered some of those models so it was good to get a week behind the wheel of a Figo 1.5 TDCI Trend hatchback on home turf.

Allow me to kick off with my favourite subject – paintwork.  The Figo that arrived on my driveway was black, heaven forbid, and definitely not my favoured colour. But this was different. The paint positively gleamed and exhibited the best surface finish of any Ford I have tested. Furthermore, under the black hue lay a sparkling array of multi-colour metallic particles which made the Figoglow in direct sunlight.

Hats off to the India plant on achieving a near 100% approval rating from yours truly who couldn’t resist getting the wax out to add to the enticing glow!

The Figo feels solid on the road and was free of rattles. Comfort is good enough for four on firm, cloth-upholstered seats and occupants are provided with such niceties as air con and electric windows not to forget central locking. Luggage space with seats up is really only good for two as the generous depth is compromised by restricted length.

If the Figo is very much an archetypal budget car in terms of space and equipment, it’s a cut above as a driving machine which may come as something of a surprise.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time behind the wheel largely thanks to the really excellent 1.5l turbo diesel motor and a wonderfully slick 5-speed manual gearbox which truthfully could do with a 6th gear to make cruising even more relaxed.

The diminutive diesel provides an amazingly effortless cruising gait with 120 clicks easily creeping up to140 while the motor emits a pleasant but never intrusive thrum. It produces its best work between 2 000 and 3 500 RPM when the torque, up to 215Nm of it, makes easy work of town running, offering punchy acceleration with a relaxed demeanour.

Max power, by the way, is 74kW with 0-100 delivered in 12.1s and the top end is listed at 175 km/h.

Fuel consumption averaged an excellent 6.8 l/100km which improved to 5.6l/100km on the motorway at around 120 km/h.

This Figo rides on alloy wheels shod with 175/65R14 tyres that help provide decent pliancy. The overall feel, though, is solid – much more like a bigger car – with little body roll and thanks to a wonderfully smooth clutch action and slick gear-shift, smooth progress is the order of the day.

The disc/drum brake combination provides good stopping power, but is over-assisted at low speed, and the power steering is acceptably responsive and linear, all of which makes for a car that really is a good drive.

The Figo with diesel propulsion really is an attractive proposition and is frankly light years ahead of the petrol 1.5 which suffers from a torque deficit that will be especially evident at altitude. Give ‘em a try and you’ll soon find out that diesel rules the extensive Figo line-up.

Price:  1.5 TDCI Trend 5-door R203 900 (May 2016)

Warranty: 4yr/120 000km

Service Plan: 2yr/40 000km

Roadside assistance: 3yr/unlimited km

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