Two months and over three thousand kilometres later, we say goodbye to our long term vehicle, the Ford Aspire. In this report, we'll give you a lowdown on all key aspects of the vehicle and how various technologies work in real-world situations.
First up is the design!
The Aspire looks sporty up front with a large chrome grille and swept back headlamps. Yes, it is reminiscent of the Aston Martin's front design language to an extent, which is a big positive at this price-point and makes the Aspire stand out viz-a-viz its competition. Unlike the front, the rear and the side profile is a simple layout with a single chrome strip running and merging with the tail lamps at each end. Some may find the stubby boot not blending in with the entire car's design language, but why complicate a good yet simple looking silhouette. The design is neat and is pleasant to look at. We would have loved a bigger 15-inch alloy wheel instead of the 14-inch along with an option of a black paint scheme to add to the bold styling of the Aspire.
Move inside the Aspire and the beige upholstery with a black centre console and a part black dashboard exudes sportiness while offering an airy aura. Each part feels premium and well-built. The Aspire we had was the top-end Titanium model with automatic climate control and an integrated audio system. The perforation on the leather upholstery also makes the material breathable and one would not end up with a sweaty back. Bolstering on the seat is good even for a six foot tall passenger up front. What could have been a nice addition is a lumbar support or individual arm rest for the front seats, which would add to comfort over long hauls. Another area of improvement is the integrated audio system. Although it is a SYNC system, which has good ergonomics with above average sound quality, the small display and a phone-like keyboard looks dated. While each door upfront gets space to hold a bottle, the rear gets just pockets behind the front seats. There are no door bins or cup holders in the arm rest, which some of the competitors do have. For those airport runs or weekend trips, the Aspire has a reasonably large boot with a storage volume of 359 litres. There are cars with larger boots but the design of the boot makes it easier to stack up multiple bags/ objects of various sizes.
Does it ride well?
The Ford Aspire is set on the softer side by Ford standards but for our roads this setup provides a great balance. In fact, the Aspire's ride quality and be compared to some executive sedans too. The suspension soaks up the undulations well and keeps the cabin insulated over potholes, keeping the occupants in comfort. And, despite having a soft suspension setup, the Aspire isn't bad around tight corners. Dial the steering into a sharp corner and the compact sedan remains poised. Yes, it isn't as sharp as the earlier generation Figo or the Fiesta, but the balance the Aspire strikes between comfort and handling is one of the best in its segment.
The Ford Aspire we had was a petrol powered unit which has a 1.2 litre mill under the hood. Throughout our driving on the highway and the city, the engine remained sprightly, provided it was spinning above the 1,700 rpm mark. Below this, the transmission needed a downshift to complete a quick overtake. That said, the motor has a large and linear rev range and does not run out of breath till the redline. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, the configuration is a gripe. We feel the low end could be stronger, considering crowded city roads. Another grouse is the gearbox, which has a rubbery feel and slotting in gears doesn't feel precise. Overall, the Ford Aspire's powertrain will impress those looking for a refined and spirited drive, owing to the strong mid-range and top-end power delivery. The drivability, however could've been better and with a fully-loaded car, the low-end performance could be a much more visible issue.
A critical issue for buyers in this segment is fuel-efficiency and the Ford Aspire scored well on this front, both within the city and on the highway. We drove the car for a total distance of 3,662 km and on the highway, the Aspire covered 16 km for every litre of petrol. Within the city our driving cycle included Gurgaon-Noida commutes during rush hour traffic and short weekend getaways. Despite the heavy traffic, the little Aspire returned an impressive average fuel-efficiency of 12.4 km/l over the last two months.
So, here is the round-up!
All good things must come to an end and the same is the case with our time with the Ford Aspire. While we had driven the Aspire earlier for a short duration, the long-term experience turned out to be an eye-opener in many aspects. With impressive fuel-efficiency, a smooth and adequately powerful engine, sorted handling and ride comfort and a reasonably-sized boot, the Aspire makes for a good family car. It will especially appeal to those who enjoy driving as the Aspire offers an engaging experience. There are things though, which could've been better such as the occupant & storage space at the rear along with a simpler and more modern infotainment system. In addition, the rubbery gearshifts and low-end torque too leave room for improvement.
However, putting all of this into consideration, we would score the Aspire an impressive 8/10. What makes the deal better is that after the recent price-cuts, the Ford Aspire's value-for-money quotient has one up significantly. Add to this the lowest spare parts and service cost in its segment and the Aspire is an option you cannot ignore in the compact sedan segment.
If you have any other queries related to the Ford Aspire's day-to-day running, please feel free to drop a comment here and we'll try to answer at the earliest possible
* Impressive Ride Quality
* Good NVH Proofing
* Great Ride and Handling
* Weak low-end torque demands frequent gearshifts
* Dated infotainment system with no touchscreen
* Lack of cup holders and storage spaces for rear passengers
Date Acquired: 1st September, 2016
Kilometres Done: 3,662 kms
Fuel Efficiency in the City: 12.4 km/l
Fuel Efficiency on the Highway: 16.4 km/l
Price: Rs 6,80,150, ex-showroom Delhi