It is not easy to pack the driving dynamics of a full-size sedan into a sub-4-metre compact sedan. A shorter wheelbase and overall decrease in length could affect ride comfort and driveability. In most cases, compact sedans could not even improve up on hatchbacks in such matters. However, the new Ford Aspire rewrites these rules and offers an experience that could match bigger sedans.
Compact sedans are not new to India. Tata was the pioneer in this segment with Indigo CS. Tatas Zest and Tigor too fall in this category. The other compact sedans include Maruti Suzuki's Dzire, Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent and Volkswagen Ameo.
Why go compact?
Compact sedans are seen as an upgrade from hatchbacks. Since they are below four meters in length, the car maker also gets lower excise benefits, which they pass on to consumers. Compact sedans more or less match a full-size sedan in features and other specifications; the only issue being a smaller boot. But, for a small family, this boot should be more than enough for all purposes.
The big, small car
A small sedan is for those who need a bigger boot with a hatchback. In a country like ours, a compact sedan can also give your social standing a big boost. Compact sedans are mostly bought by younger generation who wish to have a better lifestyle. For the older generation too, the compactness of a small sedan helps them handle the vehicle easier than a full-size sedan. In short, Aspire is a small sedan with all the luxuries of a big car and appeals to buyers of all ages.
Ford has been selling Aspire in India for the past three years. It was the American car maker's first small sedan, which was globally unveiled in India. It was also developed in India keeping in mind the demands of customers here. Hence, it is one of the best small cars that suit Indian conditions. The new Aspire incorporates all the new features that have been introduced in the past three years and a few more that could see it through in the near future too.
The new Aspire continues with Ford's new kinetic design language. The highlight is the grille that reminds one of Maserati, what Ford calls the cellular grille. The car gets 15-inch alloys, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlamps, among others.
Big changes inside
The inside gets two-tone black and beige dashboard that are usually seen in luxury cars. There are enough storage spaces, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, power-folding wing mirrors, automatic AC, leather seats, sporty steering wheel, bigger dials, keyless entry and push button start. There is nothing to complain about features and luxury in the new Aspire.
Aspire is the only car in the segment to get six air bags. It is built with stronger steel that will help protect passengers during accidents. It also gets ABS-EBD, hill-launch assist, and electronic stability programme that is seen only in bigger cars.
We drove the 1.5-litre diesel variant. The 100 bhp unit has been carried forward from the previous Aspire but in a retuned version. It develops 213 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm, providing good driveability. The engine is much smoother, NVH levels have reduced, gear slots have become much more precise, and the steering position has improved. Aspire also handles bad roads extremely well. Overall, it can be described one of the Fords that offers good driveability. The company claims it delivers up to 26 km per litre mileage. The new Aspire also comes with two petrol options - a 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit that was introduced with the Freestyle, and the 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit that was introduced with the EcoSport facelift.
The petrol variant start with Rs 5.5 lakh and diesel with Rs 6.45 lakh. The top petrol model costs Rs 7.24 lakh and diesel Rs 8.14 lakh ex-showroom. Warranty is for five years or for one lakh kilometres. Besides, Ford has also lowered its costs for parts and maintenance.
Test drive: Kairali Ford. Ph: 9961044444