Fab­u­lous FIGO

BRIAN BAS­SETT drives the new Ford Figo 1.5l TDCI Hatch­back Trend in the Western Cape.

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

RE­CENTLY, I spent a week in the Western Cape, both in cen­tral Cape Town and in the Her­manus area.

To fa­cil­i­tate my trav­els I was of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to drive the re­cently in­tro­duced Ford Figo diesel by the Cape Town-based Ford me­dia fleet.

The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Figo was in­tro­duced in 2015 and is avail­able in both petrol and diesel for­mat. The car, which comes in hatch­back and sedan de­signs, has three spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els, namely Am­bi­ente, Trend and Ti­ta­nium, with the Ti­ta­nium spec be­ing avail­able with a six-speed auto box matched to a 1,5 litre petrol en­gine.

The new Figo is made in In­dia and Brazil, where it is badged as the Ford Ka. I looked for­ward to my week with the new Figo with in­ter­est, as it re­places a car that has been with us for a long time and has a con­sid­er­able rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity and dura­bil­ity and, which will be on the fore­courts of many sec­ond-hand car deal­ers for quite a while to come.

The new Figo also rep­re­sents Ford’s de­sire to build on the suc­cess of its first sub-B com­pact car in a very com­pet­i­tive mar­ket seg­ment at a dif­fi­cult eco­nomic time.


The Figo uses Ford’s Ki­netic 2.0 de­sign lan­guage, seen in both Fo­cus and Fu­sion. The front end has a trape­zoidal grill, in­spired by As­ton Martin and flanked by elon­gated head­lights, which are swept back in aero­dy­namic fash­ion. There is also a black grill be­low the colour-coded bumper flanked by fog lamps. The bon­net is raked and the roof rises eas­ily to a rear spoiler in the hatch and merges seam­lessly into the tail to cre­ate an over­all pre­mium de­sign. The car comes with 14-inch al­loys, which com­pletes the pre­mium de­sign ex­pe­ri­ence.


The new Figo has a wheel­base of 2,491 mm, mak­ing it one of the most spa­cious cars in its league. The in­te­rior is fin­ished in good qual­ity black plas­tics and the seats are cov­ered ro­bustly in light grey and pat­terned black fab­ric, which cre­ates a pleas­ant, light in­te­rior.

The driver’s seat is man­u­ally ad­justable six ways and the steer­ing col­umn can also be ad­justed, so you should have no trou­ble in find­ing the right driv­ing po­si­tion for your­self.

The three-spoke steer­ing wheel is pleas­ant to han­dle and the ana­logue di­als are di­rectly in front of the driver, al­low­ing ab­so­lute con­cen­tra­tion on the road. Con­trols for the front and rear elec­tri­cally op­er­ated win­dows and colour-coded side mir­rors are on a panel on the driver’s door, from which the car doors can also be locked.

All con­trols are easy to reach and op­er­ate.

There are over 20 stor­age spa­ces in the car, most con­ve­niently placed for easy ac­cess. In the new Figo I also found a car that is as com­fort­able in both head and legroom terms at the back, as at the front. Four adults will sit com­fort­ably in the car, ir­re­spec­tive of dis­tance trav­elled.

The Figo comes with elec­tronic tem­per­a­ture con­trol, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, a four-speaker CD/USB/ AUX au­dio sys­tem and plugs for your elec­tronic toys.

The boot pro­vides 257 litres of lug­gage space with the rear seats in place and 445 litres with the rear seats folded down in 60/40 fash­ion.

Safety and se­cu­rity

The 1.5l TDCI Trend has dual front driver and pas­sen­ger air bags, ABS with EBD, re­mote cen­tral lock­ing, a perime­ter anti-theft alarm and child locks, as well as en­gine im­mo­biliser.

Per­for­mance and han­dling

The Figo’s 4-cylin­der, 1, 5 litre, tur­bocharged diesel en­gine de­liv­ers 74 kWs/215 Nm via a smooth fivespeed man­ual gear­box.

The torque avail­able makes the car easy to drive on na­tional roads and pass­ing long trucks is easy. Ac­cel­er­a­tion to 100 km/h takes 11,4 sec­onds, but 80 to 120 km/h in fourth gear takes only 8,5 sec­onds. Fuel con­sump­tion is around five litres per 100 km, but drive slowly and that comes down.

I took the car from Her­manus to Cale­don, a dis­tance of around 40 km each way. The road winds through beau­ti­ful Cape coun­try­side with very lit­tle traf­fic and in­cludes the cross­ing of Shaw’s Pass, which is quite steep and wind­ing in places. I know the road well and use it about twice a year, so I let the car have its head and found that it stuck to the road like a leech.

Cor­ner­ing at speed is no prob­lem and the car re­sponded to ac­cel­er­a­tion with a throaty roar so com­mon in small diesels. On the open road I loved the car, but all good things come to an end and I found my­self in the cen­tre of Cape Town, which at least pro­vides one with a good view of Ta­ble Moun­tain when stuck in Ad­der­ley Street traf­fic.

The Figo, how­ever, is also an ideal town car. Ag­ile, ma­noeu­vrable, easy to park, pleas­ant and re­laxed to drive with great en­gine flex­i­bil­ity be­tween the gears.

Costs and the com­pe­ti­tion

The Ford Figo TDCI 1.5l Trend will cost you around R205 000, which in­cludes a four-year or 120 000 km war­ranty, a two-year or 40 000 km ser­vice plan, as well as a five-year anti-cor­ro­sion war­ranty and three-year road­side as­sis­tance ser­vice.

This area of the mar­ket­place is crowded with com­pe­ti­tion from VW, Toy­ota, Re­nault and Suzuki, Honda and Tata, to name a few. So shop around and ne­go­ti­ate a deal. In these dif­fi­cult eco­nomic times it’s a buyer’s mar­ket.


The Figo 1,5 turbo diesel de­liv­ered an as­ton­ish­ing 3,9l/100 km with hasty driv­ing be­tween Cape Town and Her­manus.

Wear­ing size 12 shoes nor­mally means a strug­gle to get into the rear of smaller cars, but the Figo proved very com­fort­able.

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