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Ford Aspire: The Underrated Champ | CarHunt

Oct 09, 2018

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1) The 1.2 litre petrol Aspire, mated to manual transmission, generates 96 PS @ 6500 RPM and torque figure is 120 NM @  4250 RPM. It’s the most powerful compact sedan in its class. For the diesel variant, that award goes to Ameo that produces 110 PS from its 1.5 litre turbo diesel mill and is mated to a 7-speed dual clutch tranny, Aspire gets the larger cousin of 1.2 litre motor in form of 1.5 litre three cylinder engine putting out 123 PS @ 6500 RPM with torque rating of 150 NM @ 4500 RPM. This 1.5 litre petrol is shared with Ecosport. ‘Dragon’ is nickname given to newer 1.2 and 1.5 litre petrol mills from Ford. Both are three cylinder engines. 1.5 litre turbo diesel in Aspire makes 100 PS @ 3750 RPM with torque output of 215 Nm @ 1750-3000 RPM. This diesel is our pick; minimal lag, exciting on open roads.  

2) Aspire has segment best safety features like front side and curtain airbags, TCS, ESP, HHC and Emergency Assist. Standard safety features include dual airbags, ABS+EBD, adjustable front and rear headrest and rear parking sensors.

3) No diesel automatic variant for now. Ford missed out on a golden opportunity to dent Amaze’s sales. Even Dzire is available with diesel automatic option; upto 20% of Dzire’s sales are from automatic variants.  

4) Petrol automatic is limited to just one variant which is one below the top-end variant. So it misses out on few important features like side and airbags, Emergency Assist, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto etc.

5) Touch screen infotainment system, that includes GPS and reverse camera, is available from the mid-trim, Trend+, itself!

6) Top-most variant, Titanium+, doesn’t get active safety features like TCS, ESP and HHC while the Titanium automatic variant doesn’t get side and curtain airbags. Weird feature fragmentation by Ford.

7) Telescopic steering adjustment, smart key access and front armrest aren’t provided in an otherwise feature loaded car. Unlike its elder sibling, EcoSport, or its rivals, Aspire doesn’t get projector or LED headlights in any variant.   

8) Comes standard with a 2-year warranty that can be extended to 3 additional years or 1 lakh kilometers. Ford is aggressively marketing low maintenance cost and lower cost of spares. The image of high maintenance coupled with expensive spares did dent Ford’s brand image in the past.

9) Front center mounted antenna looks dated now. We hoped the facelift model will have it relocated to the rear. Though, on the whole, aesthetics are more than contemporary with a nicely integrated boot.  

10) Refinement is of tall order at lower revs except some vibrations at idle. That said, lower end torque could have been better in the 1.2 litre petrol. However, its has a strong midrange and makes up for the low end grunt, but the time one explores upper range of powerband, engine noise rises up significantly. Best is to enjoy its torquey midrange.

11) Ford has tuned suspension of Aspire quite well, only larger irregularities filter through. Rest the suspension does its job silently without much drama. Handling by compact sedan standards is entertaining, more than what one expects from a family sedan.  

12) ARAI rated fuel efficiency figures are 20.4 KMPL and 19.4 KMPL for lower three and top two trims with 1.2 litre engine respectively, 16.3 KMPL for 1.5 petrol with AT and 26.1 KMPL with 1.5 litre diesel.  

13) We expected some changes in instrument console to make it more engaging.  Rivals have moved on. An instrument console with more contemporary design would have uplifted ambience of cabin we feel.