In this issue of Nepal Drives, we find ourselves under the sweltering hot sun of Jodhpur, the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is a popular tourist destination famous for its fortresses, street food, and incredible culture. Our coordinates take us to an old area of Jodhpur where the blue-painted houses make for an incredible extravaganza for the eyes. This is also why the Jodhpur is often known as the Blue City.

As we took in the serenity of the beautiful city from the Mehrangarh Fort, our attention swerved to the All-New Ford Figo ‘Titanium Blu’ trim. The perfect companion to help us explore the old city.

The adventure begins.

An early morning flight from Kathmandu to Delhi and a connecting flight to Jodhpur had us arrive at the civil enclave airport in Jodhpur, India. After collecting our luggage, we proceed towards the palatial Taj Hari Mahal hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, we are given a brief presentation on the All-New Ford Figo. After a sumptuous haute global meal, we are ready to get on the road.

Compact Outside.

The design of the All-New Figo has been smartly executed to ensure it looks compact from all angles. The car we’re provided with is the top-of-the-line Titanium Blu variant.  The redesigned front fascia sports a new cellular grille (chrome studded on other variants), sweptback headlamps and a re-profiled bumper with C-shaped bezels around the fog lamps. On the side, it gets new multi-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels and new wing mirrors. The rear gets a revised bumper as well along with tweaked taillights. The sporty design is complemented by a contrasting dual tone roof.

The dimension of the car has not been changed. It continues to retail with the same measurements. It measures 3886 mm in length, 1695 mm in width and 1525 mm in height. It continues to have a wheelbase of 2491 mm with a ground clearance of 174 mm.

Roomy Inside.

Inside, Ford has made some significant changes that distinguish the new Figo from the old model. The Blu’s interiors are accentuated by stylish blue strokes to leave a sporty appeal.

You get a revamped dashboard and an updated central console with a new 7.0-inch floating touchscreen unit similar to that seen on the new Aspire and the Freestyle. The infotainment system doesn’t get Ford’s SYNC3 system and misses out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep the competitive pricing intact.

The Engines.

We put the two manuals to test – the 1.2 litre Petrol and the 1.5-litre diesel. The new 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine from the company’s Dragon series is the same unit as seen in the new Aspire and the Freestyle. This motor delivers segment best 95 BHP of power and 120 Nm of torque. It comes mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.

The 1.5-litre similarly boasts of a segment-leading 121 BHP and 150Nm torque, and it’s mated to a 6-speed torque-converter automatic. Similarly, the powerful 1.5-litre diesel making 100 BHP and 215 Nm is carried forward but with a new 5-speed manual gearbox.

 

What’s more?

The features it brings to the competition is unrivaled. The new Figo is quite a feature-rich car, which makes it one of the most value for money offerings within the segment. It comes packed with a wide array of convenience technologies like a reverse parking camera, best-in-class automatic climate control system, two USB slots, push-button start/stop, electrochromic IRVM, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic headlamps among many others.

The 1N/2D Blu Safari.

Kaylana Lake, situated about 8 km to the west of Jodhpur, is our destination for Day 1. More on the lake later, but before reaching the lake, we take a short driving detour towards the road to Jaisalmer. Wide roads, sparse traffic and hardly any pedestrians make this drive a breeze.  The speedometer secretly moves past 100 kph in a seemingly effortless manner and highway cruising becomes a relaxing pleasure. Good thing that none of us are prone to car sickness.

After approximately an hour of straight forward motoring, we finally stop at the Kaylana Lake – a manmade lake which was built in 1872. Sprawling over an area of 8 km, the Kaylana Lake is the best spot to witness sunset and bird watching. The twisties around the lake provide a good chance to test the overall dynamics. With agile, fun-to-drive dynamics, the new Figo is comfortably maneuverable and less tiring.

On top of that, the Electric Power-Assisted Steering makes the compact hatchback nimble and responsive.  Back to base, we have plenty of time to relax in the garden and interact with the top executives from Ford India before calling it a day.

It’s a sunny morning in the Blue city, the power windows are rolled up and the auto A/C is turned on.  It’s a perfect day to explore Rajasthan’s second-largest city and time to test the frugal 1.5-litre diesel engine.  Starting early means we also have the road pretty much to ourselves and a chance to put the motor to test.

We start with the Ghanta Ghar, also known as the clock tower of Rajasthan. 19th-century clocktower stands at the centre of the marketplace – and it’s still working! 

A short photographic break and few “Sir,aap Nepal see hain?”(Sir, Are you from Nepal?) questions later, we drive to the immersive Mehrangarh fort which is a quick 15-min drive from the old city-center. The new Figo’s supple drive quality exhibits a proper road behaviour carving through the traditional bazaar.  Taking the new Figo up a narrow two-lane uphill with tempos, Innovas, and tourist buses rushing down hastily is not something you take gently. But it feels completely comfortable in the car because of the Hill Launch Assist. Also, the seats have better support to make every journey comfortable.

Sitting on a rocky cliff perpendicular above the city of Jodhpur, the 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India.  Named after the sun deity of the Rathore dynasty, the fort is an epitome of opulence, glory, and royalty. Rudyard Kipling has aptly said that the fort is “a palace that might have been built by Titans and colored by the morning sun”. The majestic fort is enclosed by thick, imposing walls and contains a museum, courthouses, gardens, and several magnificent palaces with vast courtyards and elaborate architecture. A trip to the fort provided us the glimpse of royal past of Jodhpur and the grandeur of brave Maharajas.

A quick hide and seek with our fellow journos ahead as we send the new Figo through corners on our way back. After all the car feels agile through bends, with less body roll and accurate steering. The suspension also does a good job over bumps and the 15-inch alloys zips easily through the streets.

While old tempos and two-wheelers battle fender-to-fender to move through the traffic, the Figo’s small dimensions mean it’s a doodle to drive around. The kilometers pass easily while we talk about the impressive quality of driving and in no time we reach the second sightseeing spot for the day – the Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum.

The Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur is a part hotel, part museum, and part palace. The palace’s museum is highly recommended for its display of items ranging from weapons to an array of stuffed leopards to antiques to some fascinating crockery to various trophies to vintage cars and an amazing collection of clocks. All in all, it is a masterpiece of brilliant architecture and boasts of a wonderful assemblage of Rajput and Victorian bond.

To sum it up.

Even though we had a short stint with the new Figo, the overall media drive event provided an immersive brand experience to deep dive into the new model. The all- new Figo storms the competition in nearly every comparable note in a data sheet strengthening the company’s fun-to-drive credentials with its best-in-class power, segment-best technologies, and best-in-class safety. But, can it redefine benchmarks in this competitive segment? We find out in the local review next.

In a nutshell, the last 48 hours looked like this:

4 flights

2 climate zones

6 hours of sleep

Interaction with 15+ fellow auto journalists

6 hours with the All-New Ford Figo

4 hours of touristy things

8 hours in transit

1 window seat