New Ford Figo Brings Kinetic Design for Economy & Small Cars in India

Say goodbye to the two-box design strategy for economy cars and hello to kinetic design with the new Ford Figo.

When the desig n team for the new Figo met with the marketing team from India, the direction was clear: ''We Want More''. After deciding on packaging objectives that needed to be met, such as reducing the overall length of the car to suit the Indian market, the designers were given the go-ahead to apply a near-clean sheet approach to both the interior and exterior.

Exterior Design:

Starting with an excellent structure and chassis, both interior and exterior designers took the Ford kinetic brand philosophy and applied it to the new Indian model.

"Fortunately for us, we had a great car, terrific architecture and solid proportions from the global chassis and structure," said Scott Strong, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa (APA) design director. "We started with a vehicle that already had a good stance and a nice contemporary silhouette."

According to Strong, while initial concepts were well received, the design team was encouraged with feedback from clinics that Indian customers were ready for a fresh approach to new small car design.

With the backing of Ford management and the Indian marketing team, the design team went to work adding more personality to the Figo and strategically taking elements of the global Ford kinetic design philosophy and adding them to the new interior and exterior designs.

The new designs were presented at a second round of customer clinics and shown to a group of potential Figo buyers. By the second clinic, designers knew they had hit the nail on the head with the Indian consumer.

Figo's exterior styling follows the global kinetic design elements that help harmonise the car with other models in the Ford global line-up, including Focus and Mondeo.

Starting with the tri-plane front end, elements including the split line on the top of the bonnet line up perfectly with the top of the headlamps and combine to give the car a sporty and aggressive appearance and develop the car's unique personality. The car's large headlamps have a dynamic shape that helps define the element of speed and agility for the Figo.

Underneath, the lower grille opening emulates what now appears on many global Ford models. The lower grille, painted black, is flanked by removable inserts that can be supplanted with driving lamps that are available as an accessory through Ford dealers. The upper grille, also painted black, pulls from Ford kinetic design with the "cat whisker" shape.

All models have a large pronounced "FORD" emblem located in the centre of the grille. On High-series models, the grille is complimented with a chrome strip running along the top of it.

The distinct Figo front fenders also include the side turn indicator lamp ornamentation that is found on many Ford passenger cars today. Trimmed in chrome on the high models, the small chiselled section behind the trim provides the starting point for the "comet tail" side treatment that has been designed through both side doors and carries into the quarter panel.

On the bottom, doors also feature extensive light catching sculpting.

High-series models also include door handles painted to match the body colour, adding to the upscale presence of the vehicle.

To ensure a quiet interior, doors on the Figo include new rubber seal designs to decrease wind noise inside the passenger compartment. On models equipped with diesel engines, double seals are used at the door openings. The daylight opening (DLO) or the side glass area features a black B pillar and is surrounded by black trim. The long, fast DLO adds to the sporty stance of the Figo.

From the rear, the Figo continues with kinetic design cues. The rear back light, along with a subtle hint of a spoiler located in the tailgate adds to the dynamism and muscular appeal. The rear back light is flush-mounted for reduced wind noise. On High-series models, a rear wiper and nozzle sprayer are included. The centre high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) is located in the rear roofline. To help ensure visibility in city traffic, the new tail lamps are located high in the rear quarter panel.

Pronounced arches over the rear wheels reinforce Figo's well-planted footprint.

Interior Design:

The personality that Figo expresses on the outside carries over into the interior of the vehicle with an all-new design that communicates a simple elegance with quality, character and honesty.

The overall strategy was to make the driver and occupants feel special regardless of the trim level that a customer chooses.

On the inside, Figo provides some of the best interior ergonomics and proportions including 1084 millimetres of front legroom, 1358 millimetres of front shoulder room and 1001 millimetres of front headroom.

Second row proportions are best in the segment with rear seat leg, shoulder and headroom at 860 millimetres, 1300 millimetres and 959 millimetres respectively.

On Entry-level models, the overall theme is subtlety combined with harmony.

The instrument panel is free flowing and smooth with a textured surface. The instrumentation on the Entry series includes a speedometer and fuel gauge. Warning lights for engine coolant, oil pressure and voltage are included in the cluster to alert the driver.

Also included are alerts for 'door ajar', 'headlamps on' and seat belts. Diesel models include an alert for 'water in fuel'. All models include a 12-volt power socket to charge personal items, including cell phones. High-series models also are equipped with power windows for the front doors. Quarter windows are fixed on all models for extra security. Rear doors are fitted with child door locks that prevent children from inadvertently opening doors while the car is in motion. When activated, doors can only be opened from the outside. On High-series models with automatic door locks, all doors automatically lock after the vehicle reaches a speed of seven kilometers per hour.

Both the Mid- and High-series models have front and rear doors fitted with cloth inserts that match the seat fabric design. High-series models also include pull cups with a painted satin aluminum finish. The rear seat for the Figo has been newly designed to include a full folding rear seat back that greatly increases cargo carrying capacity. When folded down, cargo carrying capacity is nearly doubled to easily accommodate large suitcases. Truck capacity is a generous 284 litres – the largest in its class.

Three-point safety belts are provided for the outboard rear passengers while a lap belt is included for the middle passenger. To help passenger egress from the car, folding passenger grab handles are provided above each passenger door. Front and rear doors swing out 72 degrees respectively, for easy entry into the passenger cabin. All models include full carpeting throughout the interior. Increased sound insulation has been added under the hood and at the firewall to ensure a quiet cabin environment.

Housed in the centre of the instrument panel of the Mid- and High-series model is a standard AM/FM radio with CD/MP3 capability. The 100 watt radio includes two AM and three FM bands. Scan and preset scan can be used to scan all six preset frequencies in a particular band. An auto-store function can be used to scan and store up to six frequencies in default locations.

Radio Data System (RDS) is standard on all Figo audio systems. RDS is a communications protocol standard that embeds small amounts of digital information in conventional FM broadcasts, including time, station identification and programme information. RDS also includes an additional text feature that displays the track name.

A sensitivity setting on the radio allows stronger or weaker signals to be delivered at optimal range. Speed-sensing volume also is standard. This helps maintain the volume level of the radio based on external noises.

Connectivity for the iPod is included with an "Aux-in" port located on the front fascia of the radio. An accessory function for USB also can be added. A scan function that helps drivers navigate through hundreds of songs is available and plays a new track every ten seconds.

An equalizer function ideally sets the sound for different music genres, including jazz, pop, classic and rock. Users can also adjust the bass, treble, balance and fader function as desired. High-series models include Bluetooth connectivity. A simple tap on the redial button of the audio screen calls the last number used. Customers can access their phonebook, missed calls, received calls, dialed numbers and redial though the car's speakers.

Drivers also can accept or decline any call on the audio unit. Other functions included are second call alert, swapping of calls between current and new calls, call mute and privacy mode. The audio unit also can be security coded with a password that needs to be authenticated when the unit is removed from the battery.

Four speakers are included in the Mid- and High-series models and are located in the door trim.

Inside and out, the design of Figo lives up to its name – cool!

Courtesy: Ford India


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