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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ford Aspire Compact Sedan Review

I finally got to drive the Ford Aspire, thanks to new self-drive rental agency in town- Revv. More about the Revv self drive cars in this separate post. This post focuses on explaining my findings about the ford’s compact sedan.
The model I drove was mid variant diesel. It had driver airbag and most other features,  but not alloy wheels, central locking and few more fancy stuff available only in Titanium. (Driver and Passenger airbags are standard in all variants of Aspire, Titanium gets 4 additional side airbags.

I logged about 700 kms in 2 days in this aspire- about 500 kms in Day 1 and 200 on day 2. I felt that car’s ‘fun-to-drive’ element has been compromised a bit in favour of ride comfort. Unlike the old Fiesta which was fun to drive, new Aspire is certainly more stylish, comfortable and feature rich at par with its peers and time. But somehow I felt the core DNA is compromised. New Aspire gets all new diesel engine used in Ecosport. There is no one litre ecoboost petrol engine option in Aspire.


For my 700 kms drive, I Had to fill about 50 litres of fuel, which translates to a practical fuel economy of about 14 kmpl, this is after normal AC use and load (2 people on day 1, 5 people on day 2, lots of hills). A more economical driving could give a few more kms per litre (I had got 16kmpl average in old Fiesta Classic). Certified fuel economy is about 26 kmpl for Aspire Diesel

I somehow felt the horn was louder inside the cabin than outside- I could be wrong on this, but thinking of it, this is a very good idea- make the horn sound 10x louder inside the cabin than it is outside, so as to discourage drivers from honking unnecessarily.  I also had difficulty using the headlight flash (where we pull the lamp lever couple of times to flash the headlights and inform the driver in opposite direction that I am taking priority)- it wasn’t as smooth in other cars and needed more effort.

I felt rear view mirrors could have been better shaped. Ecosport’s rear view mirror shape is unique and stylish- may be the same could have been provided in Aspire.

The audio system is carried forward from Ecosport or new Fiesta- well designed, but doesn’t have any provision for touchscreen. Some re-engineering will be required if ford has to introduce touch screen entertainment in Aspire in next enhancement

Aspire gives a door ajar warning, but unfortunately doesn’t indicate which door is open. Generic door open warning is so 2013 feature. In 2016, even much cheaper cars like Tiago tell you exactly which door is open. Not knowing which door is open causes lots of embarrassment as everyone is required to open and shut their respective doors. Ford should fix this in next batch, as cost factor for this feature shouldn’t be too much.

Gear up indicator: Aspire comes with an up-shift adviser- if you are going fast in a lower gear, it advises you to change to higher gear. Unfortunately there is no downshift adviser- i.e. if I am going slow in a higher gear, it doesn’t advise me to downshift.

Door Jam: By day 2 afternoon, I had extended by booking by another day. But my date with Ford ended abruptly when driver side door got jammed and won’t open. The issue is not near the locking mechanism or B pillar. Issue was at the hinge that connects the door to car’s frame. If I had applied more force, I feared some structural damage, so I had to ask the rental agency for a replacement, since getting in and out of the car from passenger door is not convenient all the time. I am sure this is some very rare incident, but after key issue with an old Fiesta in Kochi few months ago, this was another Ford car rental going wrong.
Ford Aspire on road price ranges from 6 to 10 lakhs depending on city and variant. At present no new Aspire/Figo cars are being sold due to a recall. Aspire gets lots of competition from Zest, Elite i20, Baleno, Dzire and Honda Amaze. New Volkswagen Ameo will also take the Ford head-on. To its advantage, Aspire has a bit more power, pretty good looks and is backed by a decent after sales network of Ford. However Aspire needs another round of upgrade, to keep it ahead of with various features now available in 8-10 lakh range competition cars.

Check more photos of Aspire here. Another Figo photoshoot pics here. 

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