Enjoyable, after all! That’s the phrase in query. Nevertheless it’s additionally a phrase that’s been synonymous with Fords for so long as most of us can keep in mind; sure, even in India. The Endeavour could also be a little bit of a pachyderm, however just about each different Ford on sale, proper from the times of the Escort, has been great enjoyable to drive. Of the present crop, the Figo has the potential to be probably the most enjoyable – it’s probably the most compact, it’s not raised off the bottom just like the Freestyle or the EcoSport, and it isn’t burdened with a boot just like the Aspire. Plus, Ford tells us a bit of magic from the much-loved, and now-defunct, Sports activities Version has been sprinkled onto this facelifted Figo’s chassis, after which, after all, there’s the brand new 1.2-litre ‘Dragon’ petrol engine with a meaty 96hp.
Traditionally, the Figo has at all times had one fundamental sparring companion when the query of enjoyable driving arose. The Maruti Swift, after all – one other hatchback gifted with inherently nice driving dynamics. Nevertheless, whereas the primary two generations flew that flag proudly, this third one has grown in stature and gotten a bit mushy. Nonetheless, we couldn’t think about not having it right here with us. Extra of a debate was whether or not or to not embrace the Tata Tiago; it’s from an entire section decrease, in spite of everything. This, although, is the JTP – a warmer, fettled model of what’s already fairly a fun-to-drive hatchback. Its turbo-petrol engine, borrowed from the Nexon, makes it probably the most highly effective right here, and that racy physique package makes positive everybody is aware of it, too.
So the stage is ready, and hopefully, we’ll have the ability to reply the query: Which enjoyable new hatchback for lower than Rs 9 lakh would you be finest off shopping for?
It doesn’t take lengthy to see that the Tiago JTP is the one which shouts about its sporty credentials the loudest – it’s, in spite of everything, the one purpose-built efficiency variant right here. It’s received larger, 15-inch wheels and wider tyres than the usual automotive, sporty bumpers and skirts throughout, blackened wing mirrors and roof, a fake diffuser, twin chrome exhaust suggestions, a spoiler and, my private favorite – a hood scoop!
The Figo we’re testing won’t be a particular efficiency variant, nevertheless it positive appears to be like the half. That’s as a result of the top-spec trim (for now) known as the Titanium Blu, and it comes with a few beauty updates. The wheels right here too are an inch up on the lesser fashions and so they’re painted black. And, just like the JTP, the wing mirror caps, roof, grille and headlamp shrouds are additionally painted black. The Figo even has some ‘go sooner’ decals on the perimeters and on the rear, to not point out the great blue accents within the entrance bumper.
The Swift has none of these items, and actually, any sportiness it has comes from its distinct, two-box silhouette and floating roof, which harks again to its predecessors however is now a bit extra rounded (there’s a theme forming right here). Certain, the two-tone 15-inch wheels have a little bit of sportiness to them, the LED headlamps and their DRLs give a piercing look, the grille is exclusive, as is the C-pillar-mounted rear door deal with, however total, this third-generation automotive appears to have gotten a bit podgy.
Inside too, the Tiago JTP and Figo Blu have been tarted up with distinction colored trim bits – purple for the Tata, blue for the Ford. And whereas within the Figo it’s restricted to the door handles and a few stitching on the seats, the JTP even has purple surrounds for the AC vents and flooring mats, and it additionally will get you bare-metal pedals. The Swift isn’t too dangerous on this division both. Certain, there are not any wild distinction colors, nevertheless it does have a flat-bottom steering wheel and a typically sporty look to the dashboard.
On the plus facet
What it does have is a protracted gear checklist, which is smart given it’s now moved virtually into ‘premium’ hatchback territory, and has a worth to match. This ZXi+ will get you auto local weather management, auto LED headlamps, a 7.Zero-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and fairly a bit extra. The Figo, disappointingly, doesn’t supply these important smartphone connectivity choices (its Aspire and Freestyle siblings do) however matches the swift on most different counts. It even goes a step forward by being the one one to supply auto wipers, an auto-dimming inside mirror and 6 airbags! That is an space the place you’re reminded the Tiago is from a section decrease as a result of although the engine has been turbocharged, the gear checklist has not. As an illustration, the AC is handbook, there’s no keyless entry or go, power-fold wing mirrors or adjustable rear headrests. The small, 5.Zero-inch touchscreen is clunky and difficult to function and doesn’t have smartphone connectivity, though apparently, the common Tiago has been up to date with a 7.Zero-inch display screen and Apple CarPlay on the time of scripting this, so this one ought to comply with go well with sooner or later. Value a point out is the Tiago’s eight-speaker Harman audio system, which sounds nice, however then so does the system within the Figo.
Practicality makes excellent
The opposite factor about automobiles like that is that they’ll’t be one-trick ponies – it can’t be all enjoyable and video games. In addition they need to function household hatchbacks, so practicality performs an enormous function. On the boot entrance, the Swift, Figo and JTP have 268, 257 and 242 litres of house, respectively. They may not appear too far aside, however in real-world use, the Figo and the Swift have an enormous benefit. After all, the 2 higher-segment (and larger) automobiles have a bonus. Within the again seat, the Suzuki and Ford are clearly extra spacious, notably in width and headroom, however on legroom, the Tata isn’t all that far behind and feels spacious sufficient in its personal proper. As for consolation, the Swift feels the widest and finest for 3, so simply edges a victory right here, however the Figo is shut on its heels and its bigger home windows provide you with a greater sense of house than the Suzuki. The Tiago is finest for 2, and its (properly supportive) seat contours maintain it that manner too.
The place the Tiago actually begins to remind you of its lesser section once more, nonetheless, is in smaller
particulars across the cabin. Inside high quality, although it set new requirements for Tata Motors’ small automobiles, simply can’t match as much as the opposite two; switches and stalks don’t perform with the identical fluidity or precision, and a few of the plastics really feel decidedly scratchy as compared. Then there’s the stowage areas – the Swift and Figo have giant, well-thought-out areas for bottles, cups, cellphones and different knick-knacks, and whereas the Tiago does have first rate storage, it merely isn’t as a lot or as giant as what you get within the different two. One exception, although – the Figo doesn’t have rear door pockets in any respect.
Right here’s the place issues begin to flip within the JTP’s favour. With 114hp and 150Nm, the little Tata towers over the opposite two on the output charts, because of its turbocharged 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine. As compared, the Figo’s new 1.2-litre, three-cylinder naturally aspirated motor does a good 96hp and 120Nm, whereas the Swift trails behind, with the venerable four-cylinder 1.2 Okay12 engine making 83hp and 113Nm. Nevertheless, the Swift, regardless of being the biggest automotive, can be the lightest by miles, at simply 885kg (the Figo and Tiago weigh 1,026 and 1,016kg, respectively).
That weight benefit, mixed with the best way the Okay12 is tuned, make the Swift the swiftest from a standstill, which makes it preferrred in stop-and-go site visitors. At low to medium speeds, that low-down pep additionally means you could possibly feasibly get most of your driving achieved with out getting out of third gear.
The brand new Ford engine, sadly, has a really weak backside finish, and you end up shifting gears quite a bit, and making an attempt to maintain the revs above 1,500. However the largest offender is the Tiago – it merely feels useless earlier than the turbocharger spools up, and that’s solely exacerbated by an unsettling jerkiness at low revs, which is probably going right down to the engine’s calibration. You may study to drive across the Figo’s weak backside finish, however pottering round city within the Tiago JTP is apparent irritating. And sure, that is regardless of whether or not you might have Sport mode activated or not.
There’s additionally a little bit of looseness within the Tiago’s gear lever, however when you’ve gotten used to that and learnt your manner across the gate, shifts do really feel optimistic. Shifts on the Figo’s new 5-speed handbook really feel good too, with a bit of little bit of heft and a optimistic throw – nice enjoyable once you’re driving aggressively. The Swift, as compared, has lighter and simpler shifts, however their brief throws could make you’re feeling fairly concerned.
|Ford Figo||Tata Tiago JTP||Maruti Suzuki Swift|
|Projector headlamps||NA||Obtainable (Halogen)||Obtainable (LED)|
|Keyless entry and go||Obtainable||NA||Obtainable|
|Touchscreen infotainment system||7.Zero-inch||5.Zero-inch||7.Zero-inch|
|Apple CarPlay/Android Auto||NA||NA||Obtainable|
|Auto local weather management||Obtainable||NA||Obtainable|
|Rear-view digital camera||Obtainable||NA||Obtainable|
|Energy-folding wing mirrors||Obtainable||NA||Obtainable|
|Auto-dimming inside mirror||Obtainable||NA||NA|
|Adjustable rear neck restraints||Obtainable||NA||Obtainable|
Kicking it up a notch
The Tiago JTP is the quickest automotive right here, as testified by our trusty Vbox. The Swift could have the sting off the road, however the Tata quickly catches up, and at 60kph, it’s a tenth of a second forward of the Maruti, whereas the Figo is an entire second behind each. The gaps solely widen on the 100kph mark, the JTP doing it in 10.76sec, the Swift in 11.96sec and the Figo trailing behind at 13.80sec. However the place the Tata’s mammoth turbocharged mid-range actually comes into play is in in-gear acceleration. For the reason that turbo is already spooled up, it’ll do 20-80kph in third in 9.86sec and 40-100kph in fourth in 12.99sec, each numbers a number of seconds forward of the opposite two!
The most effective half is that the JTP’s efficiency is quite gratifying too; inversely proportional to how annoying it’s at low speeds. Preserving the engine on the boil is a enjoyable sport in itself on a pleasant, empty street and also you’ll get pleasure from tearing by way of this brief however meaty powerband. After all, you’ll have to show your self when to shift up, as a result of the rev counter doesn’t have a standard redline (the needle, as a substitute, lights up purple once you’re close to it; very distracting). A giant draw back, although, is the sound from this three-cylinder motor, which works from a low-frequency bray to a loud mechanical thrash because the revs rise; it’s by no means actually nice to the ears.
The Figo, then again, makes a superb three-cylinder sound – a pleasant thrum that sounds higher and higher as you go increased up the rev vary. And it’s a rev vary you’ll need to discover, given this engine’s weak backside finish. The reality is, as soon as previous that useless zone low down, the 1.2 Dragon wakes up fairly properly and has a reasonably meaty mid-range. Properly, by usually aspirated requirements anyway. The facility feels extra lumped collectively than within the Swift, which feels freer-revving however with its energy unfold thinner. Talking of the Swift, its 1.2 Okay12 engine is by far probably the most refined right here, and although you may hear it when you rev it out, it most likely isn’t as efficient at goading you on because the Figo’s.
Love dealing with
And it’s not simply the Figo’s sound that goads you on. As with most Fords, it’s the dynamics that actually win you over. The pre-facelift Figo had the fettled Sports activities Version (with stiffer anti-roll bar), and classes from there went into the taller, softer Freestyle, after which filtered again down into this automotive. The result’s simply great. There’s an uncanny eagerness with which it tucks right into a nook, and it behaves so predictably, it allows you to push your limits with the boldness that the automotive can deal with it. The steering is the very best right here, with pin-sharp accuracy, plenty of scrumptious really feel and little or no off-centre slack. Physique management is sweet, and admittedly, I feel it’s secure to say that is the very best dealing with hatch for the cash.
Which makes it all of the extra spectacular that the Tiago JTP is just a few small factors behind the Figo within the dealing with division. They’ve actually nailed it with this one – taking an already sound-handling hatchback and making it even higher. In nearly each space, it solely marginally trails behind the Ford – not fairly as sharp on turn-in, a smidge extra physique roll, a contact much less grip – however that’s it.
By itself, the Swift has its dynamics fairly nicely sorted out, however in comparison with these two, it feels a bit mushy within the springs. It additionally feels its dimension, and its expanded dimensions actually present within the corners, with probably the most physique roll of the bunch. Greater than that, nonetheless, is the steering that simply doesn’t provide you with sufficient data from the entrance wheels and doesn’t weigh up as a lot as you’d like; tremendous for on a regular basis use, however not nice for an fanatic’s automotive.
Equally, the softer suspension provides the Swift an impeccable low-speed journey high quality, however there’s simply an excessive amount of vertical motion when you decide up velocity and it doesn’t provide you with a variety of confidence on the freeway at three-digit speeds. The opposite two, with their barely tighter and firmer setups, really feel far safer, and it hasn’t come at the price of on a regular basis consolation both, so it’s a much better compromise.
In case you had been craving for the enjoyable, chuckable Swift of outdated, you’ll come away a bit of dissatisfied. It’s traded a variety of the unique’s playfulness for house, consolation and maturity. So, what it’s misplaced in enjoyable dynamics, it’s made up for by being a better-rounded hatchback. In actual fact, as a household automotive, it’s the very best one right here – the very best geared up, probably the most spacious, probably the most sensible, and although we haven’t taken the opposite two on a gas economic system run but, the Swift is more likely to be probably the most gas environment friendly too. However then it’s the costliest by fairly a margin, and if what you need is a premium hatchback, why not stretch a bit additional and get a correct one, like a Baleno, Jazz or i20? Within the enjoyable stakes, it’s not fairly what it was once, and inferior to the others.
The Tiago JTP is an absolute firecracker. Hats off to Tata Motors for doing a particular efficiency mannequin and placing a lot effort into souping it up. The efficiency is one factor, the appears to be like are one other, nevertheless it’s the dealing with that actually impresses – and it’s additionally the most cost effective. It’s a completely bold automotive that delivers on the efficiency promise, nevertheless it’s the execution of extra on a regular basis issues the place Tata nonetheless hasn’t fairly caught up. It’s not as sensible, low-speed drivability is closely compromised and the inside high quality can’t fairly match as much as the opposite two. It’s nice for a enjoyable blast, nevertheless it’s not the best to stay with as your each day driver. It’s virtually there; Tata Motors merely has to tremendous tune it and work out the niggles to get it proper.
The Ford, true to kind, is probably the most enjoyable dealing with, however that’s not the one factor that wins it this check. Its engine has its flaws, particularly in low-speed driving, and it’s lacking some key gear for
a automotive of its class. Nevertheless it’s the automotive that finest does each roles – the premium household hatchback for
the varsity run, plus the go-kart you’ll need to take to the hill station on the weekend by your self. It received’t even stretch your funds as a lot because the Swift will both, and the very best half is, in order for you economic system as nicely, the diesel engine is simply as a lot enjoyable.
|Value and Verdict|
|Ford Figo||Tata Tiago JTP||Maruti Suzuki Swift|
|Value (ex-showroom, Delhi)||Rs 6.65 lakh||Rs 6.39 lakh||Rs 7.41 lakh|
|Verdict||The most effective mixture of practicality, premium really feel and enjoyable.||Fast and nice to drive however a bit tough across the edges.||A mature, premium hatchback, however not as thrilling to drive.|
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