It’s been a month of Figoism now, and so far, so good. Figo means “cool” in Italian; and it indeed is!
I’m glad I made a good choice by selecting a vehicle that’s a good package for the price and class. Again, this is based on just one month usage and I hope it continues to perform well and please me the same way through thousands of kilometers and years ahead of us.
Here are the 30+ aspects I observed- through the selection, purchase and use of Figo for 30 days now.
- Bluetooth: I bought a Zxi variant and it comes with an integrated entertainment system. To start with, it integrates well (doesn’t look odd/ out of place). It feels good to use and is nicely built (not cheap/ has no confusing controls). I’m glad it has the regular and expected USB, CD and Radio options. But, more than that, I’m loving the bluetooth connectivity. I paired up my iPhone once, as soon as I bought the car and it ‘just works’. It connects automatically when I get in, and allows me to use car audio system for my calls, as well as play music from my iPhone – all using bluetooth. Just loving it! (Flipkart has some bluetooth kits if you’re interested.)
- Boot opening options: How many times have I bent down to fiddle with the two levers near the driver’s seat base and opened up fuel cap instead of boot? More than a few times. With my new Figo, I like the fact that it’s electric boot opener, as a button on the dashboard. Also, the key has a button (along with car lock/ unlock buttons) to release the boot lock remotely; very handy when I load the luggage first and then get in to drive.
- DTE: It’s Distance to Empty => Figo’s way of telling us how many more kilometers I can travel with the fuel available in the tank. It won’t be accurate to the kilometer but a nice estimate to start with. When on road, especially long drives and road trips, we do our own calculations to plan refuels. It’s good that now I can take my Figo’s opinion too and make better decisions!
- Remote in key: Previously, I owned a Santro. The key was just a key, and it had a separate remote control console. Like many others, my remote control device was my key chain. Now, the Figo has the remote control options (car lock/ unlock and boot opener) integrated into the key. This means, I can have a key ring of my choice; like the Jaguar I currently use!
- Backseat comfort: Front seats are of course comfortable in most of the cars. So, when in discussion, it’s always the back seat comfort. I like the position, seat and backrest angle, and the height very good. If my parents can travel in the back for an hour or two without complaints, that good enough for me. I tried it too for an hour the other day, sitting in the back seat, and I’m happy!
- Self timer for wipers: Apart from intermittent, low, hi and sooper-fast, I have an option to “program” the speed of the wipers. It’s on-the-fly time setting depending on the intensity of rain. I love features like this one- convenience and sophistication together!
- Programmable unlock: I can program the unlock option on the key to unlock ‘only driver’s door’ and not all. I like it. Not a very necessary feature but when am alone in chaos and too much public, or a market, it takes 4 secs to program the key to either unlock all doors, or just one for me. Good one!
- Door locks independent of ignition key position: All the cars I drove so far [in general] lock the doors immediately after I change the key position to ON, the position from where we crank the engine and start the ignition. So, after I get in and get ready, I always end up using the lock release lever on the driver’s door to let others get in. Figo doesn’t do that.
It waits until the vehicle catches 7 kmph speed to lock all the doors. Like.
The locks are not actually locks (see point 2 below). Dislike.
- Auto hazard blinkers: (Yet to test. Am waiting to cross 5000 kms so the restriction on high speeds is off.) According to the features list, when in high speeds, if the brakes are applied to slow down the vehicle drastically (a.k.a “sudden brakes”) the hazard blinkers automatically go off to warn the other vehicles on the road.
- Speed volume: Small but interesting option. When the speed of the car increases, there’s a buzz that increases too. It’s a mix of air resistance, engine noise, tyre sound etc. Among all these, if the audio was set for comfortable music listening experience, that won’t be enough. So, the volume of the entertainment system is increased a little to still maintain audible levels of music.
- Lane change indicators: Along with the regular turn indicators, there’s this feature I like in Figo. You tap the same lever gently and the indicators flash for three times. Perfect for cruises on highways!
- AC: That was the first thing we noticed within a few minutes of taking the car off the dealer. It cools the cabin pretty quickly and blows air kinda powerful too. We felt that it’s a little ‘too much’ for a small car but we can always tone down when not needed by adjusting the temperature or closing the vents. But again, given the heat we experienced in Hyderabad this summer, the AC performance like this feels a necessity. Let’s wait and see how it compares in the next summer.
- No vibrations: This is with reference to the steering wheel and the gear shift knob. I’m not sure if this is going to change as it covers miles but so far, I’m very glad about this.
- Boot space: One of the best in class! And it has a boot lamp too!
- Surcharge on Credit Card: I hate businesses who charge 2% extra on any transaction when we pay with credit card; and Ford is no exception. I bought my car at Fortune Ford, Towlichowki, but the surcharge is applicable with Mody Ford too, and either showrooms all over the city. They say it’s a standard all over India, with any automobile dealer; but that doesn’t change the fact that I hate these businesses. If a Kirana Store is asking for 2% extra because your bill is less than a few hundred rupees – I can understand that. Ford, for a couple of lakhs – unforgivable.
- Faulty door locks!!!: Not even a single person at Ford so far knows how the door locks are supposed to work. Not sales people, not store managers, not service heads, not customer care, not housekeeping staff, not security guards and not even the Figo security designer, if there is one.
Every-damn-body starts their conversation with “7 security features” of Figo, and stop after “doors lock automatically when the vehicle reaches 7kmph speed”. Nobody knows whether the doors should or should not open when the vehicle is in motion, say, at 100kmph.
If you start your discussion with “Why do the doors open as usual even when the vehicle is in motion?”, they say, “it’s per the design sir! You should be able to open your doors whenever you feel like. In fact, it is one of the security features in Figo!” What is it again? Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?
And, if you start your discussion with “I’m unable to open the doors when in motion, why?”, they say, “of course, sir! Why the hell would you want to open the door when the vehicle is moving?? That’s one of the major security features in Figo! We make sure that you and your kids are always safe!!”
Now, don’t ask me what the other 6 security features are!
- Headlamps & Horn: The vehicle is new, the reflectors are still shining and the headlamp glass is clear. So, for now, the bulbs that come with Figo are good. After a while when all the three conditions above are not exactly true, am sure I’ll have to change the bulb configuration. Actually, for better light on highways, I can change them now too! But the catch is- it will void the warranty! That’s the reason this point is covered under ‘unpleasant’ (for warranty, not light performance). Same with Horn. They sold me a car, with a horn of an Activa! :-/
- ‘Sound signal/ alarm’ for lock/ unlock: I like the central locking feature. I like the remote integration with key. I appreciate a separate option on the remote [key] for boot release too. But dammit, there is no sound notification for lock/ unlock operations! The blinkers do give a ‘visual signal’ but I really appreciate ‘sound signal’, however subtle it might be. So far, am standing right beside the car to confirm if the lock operation is successful. Which means, am not making good use of remote, am I? Again, the problem is: Ford doesn’t have that alarm sound equipment and if I get it done from other than Ford, 3 year warranty will be void!
- Warranty matters: If you do the following, you’ll void the warranty: anything.
Seriously! I can’t add fog lamps (from other than Ford), can’t change horn (my Figo has a horn of an Activa. Figo has no other options and I’m not allowed to get it done outside), can’t add a ‘sound notification’ for lock/ unlock operations (Figo has nothing to offer in this area and I’m not allowed to get it done outside), can’t change bulbs to that of higher power, can’t add amplifier for better sound (this, I don’t need and don’t prefer but just saying!). One of my friends’ raised an important question: “I see you are using a USB micro charger to charge your iPhone. Have you checked with Ford if that voids the warranty?”
Information on Ford site: It’s surprising that Ford can invest time/ money/ effort to make changes to the car but not update the features page on the website. They still showcase the features list of first generation Figo on the website. For example, they mention Ford Figo Diesel ZXi (the variant I purchased) to have no tilt-steering, and as having driver’s seat height adjustment. Mine has no seat height adjustment but I’ve got the tilt adjustable steering. Good that my preference matches with the product and not as listed on the site but isn’t that misleading??It’s now updated.
No big deal:
- Inverse controls: Turn indicators and headlight flasher are on the left, and wipers/ washers on the right of the steering column. Bonnet opening lever is on the left- near the navigator’s left leg. Ford- you were kind enough to sell right-hand drive cars in India. Could you please follow the market standards and set these controls right?
- Dipper: Actually, there is no dipper for Figo. There is something called as headlight flasher. Dipper means, you ‘dip’ the lights [on highways, especially] to short beam for a moment, from long beam. One objective is to enable the driver of the opposite vehicle for a better view, vision of the road ahead and of your vehicle too (right?). Figo’s headlamp flasher keeps the long beam intact and turns on the short beam too! !@#$%
This might still be helpful for other objectives of a dipper, as asking side and indicating an overtake, but not the first objective mentioned above.
You can still dip the lights in true sense, but it’s by changing from long beam to short beam, and back again, manually.
- Headlamps/ parking lamps control: Doesn’t come with the other steering controls. It has a separate ‘knob’ on the dashboard, that looks like a ceiling fan regulator. It’s neither excellent, not the worst, but just saying that it’s different!
- Price hike: The variants in Figo are LXi, EXi, ZXi and TITANIUM; LXi being the low-end and TITANIUM being the thopest! I paid 6.5 lakhs for Figo Diesel ZXi in June 2012. About an year ago, Figo Diesel TITANIUM costed just 6.4 lakhs. It’s more of a market thing than Ford thing, but this did come up a few times in conversations over this month.
- Floor mat locks: Actually, this is a very pleasant feature. You know, something like you’ve been wondering why nobody has thought of something so far. It’s a practical problem that floor mat at the driver’s seat gradually moves forward when driving, getting in/ out and gets under the ABCs. Accelerator, Break and Clutch, that is. So, once in a while, I drag it back and get in. I was happy to know that Figo has a floor mat lock; small lever at the seat base that will ‘hold’ the mats and won’t let it slip/ move. Bad that this lock is not available in the variant I bought.
- Red gauges: The instrument cluster is all with red indicators. The readings, meters, everything. The integrated entertainment system is with red backlight too. I would prefer a white backlight or a blue one. That’s just a choice may be, but I prefer cool colors than danger colors. But again, given the fact that the first generation Figo was released with pink dashboard, I appreciate the reduction of red/ pink there. A little more to go in the objective of making it ‘cool’, but headed in the right direction.
- Regular lamps and not LEDs: 2012 and Figo still has regular lamps. I mean, actual small size bulbs for cabin light and boot lamp. (There might be some design/ technical considerations for headlamp and taillamp clusters, but at least for cabin and boot lamps, LEDs are ideal). LEDs are much better in terms of maintenance, light power, cost and load on the battery. Also, I would prefer an option to switch off boot lamp. Weird, may be, but that’s my preference.
- Dead pedal: I wish Figo had a dead pedal. It really helps to ‘park’ your left foot aside when not using clutch. Sometimes, in anticipation of needing the clutch soon, we tend to just keep the foot ready on clutch lever and cause a little discomfort. If there’s a dead pedal, we can escape that discomfort, and also use clutch for better driving!
- Rear window open position: If you completely roll down the glass to the extent you’re allowed to, you’ve successfully opened 50% of it. I understand that the design [of the door shape] has got to do with the extent of glass rolling down. Interestingly, Ford calls it a security feature. (You have the child locks for the back doors, so as there are no power windows to lock, what if a kid rolls down the window and jumps/ falls off? So, they open only about half. :P Yes, Ford told me that.)
- No remote for audio system: For some it’s necessity, and I personally don’t care. I’ll be in the driver’s seat [more often than not] so it’s acceptable for me. However, just to mention, like other popular car entertainment systems, this integrated piece has no remote.
- Sedan feeling: Though my first car was Santro, I drove a lot of Accent Viva in the last year or so. With that I kinda got used to the sedan seating and comfort. And Figo offers exactly that. Front seating is a little low as I like it and rear seat is a little like a sofa [as in hatchback] for parents. So, it’s a perfect blend of what I want. Add good engine power, steering and suspension to the seating comfort and it’s nothing less than a sedan!
- Power windows lock: Absent.
- Trip meters: Just one. Why not 2?? I prefer one for fuel/ mileage tracking, and the other for actual trips.
- Reverse maneuver alarm: Absent. Ford has nothing to offer in this area; and if you discuss it with any dealer in the market for off-the-shelf ‘music bits’, you warranty will be void.
- Extended Warranty document: Have you ever seen a fake document? This one I received from Ford is the master of all cheap, fake documents – or that’s what it looks like. Ford offers 2 yrs warranty by default. I paid for an year extended warranty. As this third year coverage (120,000 kms) is not opted by everyone, they send you some paperwork to confirm the same. No, I can’t show you that document now- am too ashamed of it! And, shhh… it doesn’t even have a Ford logo on it! I just hope my warranty is extended for real.
- Water in Diesel indicator: Am still surprised how water gets into Diesel. And, according to Ford, this indicator is available for Diesel variants only; meaning, no chance of water mixup with petrol? Anyway, this indicator lights up when there is water in fuel and you immediately rush to Ford to get the filters cleaned up.
P.S.: This is not a full length Figo review. So, there are a few good aspects that are not discussed above, like:
- engine response
- steering performance
- brilliant ride comfort
- windows size that makes the interiors look spacious
Of course, a not-so-good aspect too like:
- ground clearance (I knew this before I bought my Figo, so it’s no surprise to me. I adapted my driving accordingly.)
These are as expected from the car and therefore need no special mention. If you’re looking for a complete review, it’s available on Team BHP.