The Ford Aspire is the 3-box sedan version of the Ford Figo, also known as the Ford KA in some markets. The Aspire was Ford’s 1st Compact Sedan for India when it was introduced in 2015, and has been since then doing well against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Hyundai Xcent, Honda Amaze, Tata Tigor and VW Ameo to name a few. Ford has recently given a mid-life update to the Aspire which includes mechanical and cosmetic changes. We drive the 2018 Ford Aspire on some excellent roads of Jodhpur for this extensive roadtest review.
The basic exterior styling on the 2018 Ford Aspire remains the same, with some additions being added to it. The front now gets the three dimensional premium cellular grill as Ford likes to call it. This grill gets matt chrome finish mesh styling with chrome surround lining, giving the face a rather dynamic look. The matt chrome finish grill looks classy and premium. The front bumper is now in an all new style and design with lots of design lines running on it. The key highlight on the bumper is the angular chrome element placed on the extreme corners just besides the new design round fog lamps. The headlamps now get black encasing on them adding to their appeal. The wheels get updated with 15 inch tyres with 195/55 R15 spec on new design multi-spoke silver alloys.
The side profile looks neat with a soft waistline that runs through the body colored grab door handles and mating with the tail lights. The wing mirrors are fully electric styled in body color adorning the turn lights on them. The rear styling remains the same with the neat-looking tail lamps and the thick chrome band running across the boot lid still in place. Like the front, the rear bumper gets a complete overhaul with a new style, sharper-looking bumper coming in place, enhancing the look on the rear.
Interiors & Safety
Like the exteriors, the interiors on the 2018 Aspire also get a good lot of updates. The cabin now is a airy-looking dual tone mix of fabric and plastics, with some classy looking piano black inserts on the door handles, steering, under the touch display and handrests. The front seats are pretty comfortable for most parts, but could have got some more bolstering for the back and under thigh. Height adjust is available on the driver’s seat. The steering gets a new fresh looking styling (also seen on the Freestyle) along with the instrument cluster which it also shares.
Quality of plastics used on the dashboard is a lot better than the older Aspire. The glove box has a nice click to it when it’s shut, also getting lighting to its insides. The center dash gets the trendy looking hi-res 6.5 inch Ford Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with reverse camera display on it with emergency assistance. Other features included on the 2018 Aspire are start stop button, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, auto dimming rear view mirror, automatic climate control ABS with EBD, hill assist, ESP, six airbags in the package list.
The front doors come with three bottle holders, but surprisingly the rear doors miss out on them. Twin USB ports and 12V charger placed on the front are a much needed add on to the cabin. The cabin feels a lot premium with these added features to the list. The overall build and fit finish is also a lot better.
Engine – Transmission – Drive
The 2018 Ford Aspire comes with three engine options to choose from. The all new 1.2 litre 3-cylinder TiVCT Petrol engine with 96PS of power and 120Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed transmission. The other engine in the lineup is the tried and trusted 1.5 litre TDCi Diesel option with class leading 100PS of power and 215Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The third engine option is the 1.5 liter 3-cylinder Petrol engine mated to 6-speed automatic transmission with 123PS of power and 150Nm of torque on it.
We drove the 1.2L Petrol and the 1.5L Diesel versions of the Aspire for our test. The 1.2L petrol is shared with the Freestyle, but the state of tune is different on this one. The engine feels a lot more responsive lower down the revs. Refinement levels are high and the car feels very peppy at all speeds. The gear shifts are smooth with a positive feedback, a light clutch with a progressive feedback which also helps in the overall performance drive on the car.
Overtaking is a breeze with power available throughout the rev range. The car feels composed and in control during high speeds where we touched 160kmph on it. The steering feedback is precise and well weighted. Braking is excellent, aided with the ABS with EBD keeping things in check.
The Diesel version is the other star performer on the Aspire’s lineup, with outstanding balance of fuel economy and power. The engine feels extremely powerful and torquey across the speed buildup and holds its pace flawlessly across the rev range. Ford has further enhanced its refinement levels and now the Aspire diesel feels a notch above the older one. The gear shifting is a bit notchy but within tolerable levels. Braking on the diesel version is a bit different feeling but the performance is at par with its petrol sibling. Cabin damping levels are high and not much outside or tyre noise is heard inside.
The suspension setup on both the versions we drove is tuned nicely, well balanced for our road conditions. The car went through some bad patches with ease that brought a smile on our faces. The ride quality offered on the cars is outstanding with a perfect blend of handling characteristics too. Overall, a fine update over the outgoing model.
The Ford Aspire 1.2L Petrol has a claimed fuel efficiency of 20.4kmpl while the 1.5 TDCi has a ARAI fuel efficiency of 26.1kmpl, we managed to get a fairly good mileage of 13.2kmpl on the Petrol and 16.8kmpl on the Diesel during our test run in real world driving conditions.
Ford has also roped in a first in class 5 year or 100,000 KM warranty that includes a 2 year factory warranty and a 3 year extended warranty on the Aspire, to make things sweeter.
The Aspire update is a fine example of how Ford is improving its product lineup by listening to their customers with the current market trends. The Aspire now comes loaded with just the right goodies on its list and also with smart and potent engine options which are also highly fuel efficient and refined. Not forgetting a few class leading features coming on the equipment list now.
The car looks trendy and drives excellent. The Ford Aspire now is an excellent choice in the segment, if you are looking out for a smart-looking compact sedan that’s loaded with features and that’s fun to drive. With a starting price of just Rs. 5.55 lakhs, making this one an even more sweeter deal.