For city driving conditions, compact sedans are the most practical ones. The demand for this type of cars is going on increasing and most of the manufacturers have a compact sedan in their portfolio. Ford entered this segment in mid-2015 with the launch of the Aspire. The car sold in decent numbers initially but then rivals like the new Maruti Dzire and Honda Amaze entered the market, and now Ford has given a mid-life update to the Aspire.
Exteriors – The headlights of the Ford Aspire are now smoked, but incorporate neither projectors nor DRLs. The grille of the car is chrome surrounded and the fog lamp housing also gets some chrome treatment. At the rear, there are faux air vents on either side of the bumper. The side silhouette remains the same but the Titanium variant now sits on 15-inch alloy wheels.
Interiors – The car welcomes you with a new 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system which gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The absence of buttons on the centre console makes it look better. The additional features include – auto-dimming IRVM, reverse parking camera and sensors, start/stop button and automatic headlamps & wipers.
There is a decent amount of headroom and legroom at the rear. Due to the width of the car, three adults on the rear seat will make them feel cramped. The Aspire gets a new key fob which has a boot release switch, however, the car doesn’t get an electromagnetic tailgate opener. The sedan also misses out on a passive entry system which could be added in the near future.
Performance – There is no change to the diesel powertrain but the petrol variant is offered with two new engine options. The 1.5-litre diesel unit is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox that churns out 100 PS and 215 Nm of torque. There is no option of an automatic gearbox with the diesel variant. The power delivery is linear but the diesel motor redlines at 5000 RPM. The car does a 0-100 km/hr sprint in just 9.72 seconds. The engine is refined and the clutch is light but the motor gets noisier as the revs build-up.
The new 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine is paired with a 6-speed torque converter, producing 123 PS and 150 Nm. Whereas, there is another 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol unit which is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission that makes 96 PS and 120 Nm of torque. The engine is peppier in the low-end and after a hesitant mid-range the top-end is punchy and redlines at 6800 RPM. The petrol unit returns a mileage of 13-14 km/l while the diesel motor gives 16-18 km/l.
Driving Dynamics – The Ford Aspire has a good balance of ride and handling. The dynamics have improved with the fitment of bigger wheels. Most of the bumps are absorbed easily and ride quality is very pliant. The steering offers good feedback, it is light at low speeds and gradually weighs up as the speed increases. There is a certain amount of body roll in the car. The brakes on this car offer great stopping power, however, the ABS is over sensitive and pulsates too much under heavy braking.
Safety and After Sales – The car gets 6-airbags, ABS and EBD. The Aspire has scored 3-stars in adult occupant safety and 2-stars in child occupant safety in Global NCAP tests. There is a 5-year/1,00,000 km warranty on the Aspire. Ford is increasing their dealer and service network. Apart from that, the spare parts of Ford are coming cheaper than before. The average service cost for the diesel Aspire for the first 10 years at an interval of 10,000 kms is just Rs. 4577/-. The service cost is even cheaper for the petrol variant.
Verdict – The Ford Aspire has been one of the best cars in the segment and with additional equipment and cosmetic tweaks, it’s going to attract more buyers. Both petrol and diesel engine variants have offered great performance while being efficient as well. With a reduction in price and lowest service cost in the segment, the Ford Aspire is the most value for money compact sedan.