Ford Aspire facelift petrol automatic road test review

We usually tend to stick with the tried and tested. This applies to household appliances as well as motorcycles and cars. Shouldn’t the sales numbers of almost 20 year old products like the Hero Splendor and Maruti Wagon R be a reminder call? When Ford tried to break the mould by introducing its Aspire sedan in 2015, it was met with lukewarm response. Soon, the Aspire became the favourite with the taxi market. But, Ford was quick to react as well. They got the Ford Aspire facelift in the market within three years of launch of the original car. The high-ish price was brought down and while a couple of features were deleted, the pricing was termed as competitive.

Ford Aspire

Not only were the looks updated, but the engines too were revised. We had a go at the petrol automatic variant. Here is the full review of the Ford Aspire facelift automatic in India.

Engine and transmission of the Ford Aspire facelift automatic

I will cut straight to the chase here. Ford uses a new 123PS/150Nm naturally aspirated petrol engine with the new Aspire. Ford purists will remember that this engine was added to the new EcoSport sometime last year. This engine can only be optioned with a 6-speed torque converter at the moment. The claimed mileage is 16.3kmpl. However, in our tests, the Ford Aspire facelift automatic returned an overall average of 13.7 kmpl.

Now, that the numbers are out of the way, I can elaborate on the driving experience. Fire up the engine and you be impressed with the refinement. However, the EcoSport with the same engine is way more quieter. Slip the gear lever into D and the Aspire automatic has no issues creeping ahead with a full load. The car drives smartly through traffic and you will be hard pressed to notice the gear shifts. However, stomp on the accelerator pedal and you realise that the gearshifts happen closer to the redline. There is also a Sport mode and this one holds on to a gear much longer. There are also small buttons on the gear lever that let one select the gears manually. However, given the restrained space on offer, selecting a gear becomes fiddly.

Sport mode also means the throttle becomes a bit more jumpy and could be a bit uncomfortable when in traffic. Instead, slot the gearbox in D mode and let the vehicle handle the shifting duties. There are two other engine options – a 96PS 1.2-litre petrol and a 100PS 1.5-litre diesel. Both can be ordered with new 5-speed manual gearboxes only.

Cabin of the Ford Aspire facelift

Believe it or not, I never liked the infotainment system of the old Aspire. It seemed very confusing even to pair your Bluetooth device. However, the introduction  of a new touchscreen unit from the Freestyle helps sort out things. A surprising element is that one ends up getting a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with the Ford Aspire facelift Titanium trims while a smaller 6.5-inch unit is available in the top-spec Titanium+ trims. Titanium owners will not get Android Auto or Apple CarPlay too. There though is navigation and I think the smaller 6.5-inch unit works better. The 7.0-inch unit feels a tad laggy and surprisingly a customer who was present during our FB live video corroborated with the same.

The music quality of the system is good though. Ford has also spruced up the cabin with the use of beige and grey along with piano black finish on certain parts. The instrument cluster in my opinion needs a change. It looks quite old already. The seat are supportive and there are USB plug-ins as well as charging socket available. There however are no rear AC vents and while there are bottle holders in the front doors, the rear ones don’t have a provision. The boot space at 359 litres is not the best and the loading lip too is high.

Safety features of the Ford Aspire facelift

Ford offers six airbags with the Titanium+ trim. However, since the petrol automatic is available only in the Titanium trim as of now, there are only two airbags. By the way, dual airbags, ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors are standard across range. Unlike last time, the base Ambiente trim also gets a passenger side outside rear view mirror. The automatic variant though also gets Hill Climb Assist which prevents a rollback while driving uphill for the precious few seconds when the driver lifts his foot off the brake. There is also electronic stability program and switchable traction control.

A rear view camera as well as manual day and night mirror are also offered. The camera (display comes on the infotainment system) doesn’t have dynamic guidelines though the clarity is good. The accuracy of the parking sensors too is good.

Ride and handling of the Ford Aspire facelift

Ford uses an independent McPherson strut at the front and a twist beam type at the rear. The steering is an electrically assisted unit and feels a bit vague, especially in corners. The suspension though has just been set up just right. All the small bumps are dispatched with ease while the bigger ones may cause some minor jolts. What’s pleasing is that the suspension is silent in its operation as well. The handling will please the enthusiast in you. This Ford knows how to keep its driver entertained as well as happy.

The 3-cylinder hum of the engine is apparent at idle through vibrations from the door beadings. In the cabin though, there are no vibrations to speak about.

Design of the Ford Aspire facelift

We have spoken extensively about the design elements of the new Ford Aspire. You can check the details on this link . I will conclude on this part by saying that the Aspire now gets two new colour options and looks more desirable than before.

Final words on the Ford Aspire facelift

At Rs 8.49 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the Aspire petrol automatic is costlier than the corresponding petrol automatic versions of the Dzire by Rs 2,000 and the Amaze by around Rs 38,000. The Ford though offers a five year or one lakh km, whichever is earlier warranty.  It ticks all the right boxes.  Given the number of enquiries Ford has received for this particular automatic trim, it looks like the Ford Aspire facelift will finally ring the cash registers at the Blue Oval’s Indian arm.

The vehicle was provided for a review by our well wisher Karan Asrani from Harekrishna Ford

Things we like in the Ford Aspire facelift

The touchscreen infotainment system, ride and handling package, safety features

Things we don’t like in the Ford Aspire facelift

Rear seat is a bit cramped especially for three grown-ups, efficiency of the petrol automatic, skimping of certain features

 

Trivia

The previous Ford Aspire at the end of its life cycle was going for huge discounts. There are certain features which Ford has removed in the new Aspire including leather seats as well as Ford MyKey option. This has led to the new Aspire being priced better than the older one.

Images by Donald Dsouza

 

 

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