The bad news first. The Figo Aspire is not the harbinger of beautiful sub-four metre sedans. Like its competitors, the Aspire looks disproportionate. It also lacks rear AC vents and any sort of visual or auditory parking aid.Still with us? Great. Because, these things aside, what you see here is an extremely sound dynamic package. The Aspire, in our short drive in laid-back and beautiful Udaipur, showed quite a lot of, er, zest and pep that it hides beneath its humble appearance. There are three engines to choose from, of which we sampled two.The 1.2-litre petrol (87bhp, 112Nm) is just about up to the task. You need to work it up to a good 3,000 revs to get it going. And, beyond 5,000, you get steady but glacial progress. The good thing with the 1.2, though, is despite it not being a powerhouse, it doesn't need you to change gears frequently.That sticks for the 1.5-litre diesel (99bhp, 215Nm) as well. But, cross 1,500rpm, and this little sedan is open to a world of possibilities. On our roads, the Aspire never reminds you that it is a mere budget hatch that's been converted into a sedan and should be treated accordingly.
See more pictures of the Figo AspireIt's obviously very adept at handling city runs. But, the surprise with the Aspire is its back road hill-climb ability. It doesn't have enough power to make its tyres squeal around hairpins. But, the engine provides enough poke for a quick ascent, and the chassis ensures minimal roll while you're at it. Moreover, ride quality over bad roads (and even no roads) leaves no room for complaint. You could complain about crosswinds affecting the Aspire at speeds of above 150kph. But then, you could also complain about a tail-end batsman's inability to play a bouncer. There's decent room for three in the rear, and sufficient space for a good chunk of luggage in the boot. The steering isn't from the golden era of the Ikon or the original Fiesta, but it's accurate and precise enough to make it much better than the Aspire's direct competition.The Aspire gets power windows on all doors, six airbags on the top variant, ABS and the centre console from the EcoSport and Fiesta complete with voice assist, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The Aspire is based on the new international Ka. As is the new Figo hatch, which we hope will look better, as it doesn't have to include a boot into its hatch proportions. The sub-four metre sedan has always been about stuffing in the maximum within the minimum. And, the Aspire does just that. But with dynamics so sorted, you won't feel shortchanged. At all. The numbers1.2 Petrol\: 4cyl, 1196cc, 87bhp, 112Nm, 5M, fuel tank\: 42 litres1.5 Petrol\: 4cyl, 1499cc, 112bhp, 136Nm, 6A, fuel tank\: 42 litres1.5 Diesel\: 4cyl, 1498cc, 99bhp, 215Nm, 5M, fuel tank\: 40 litresLxWxH\: 3995x1695x1525mm, wheelbase\: 2491mm, ground clearance\: 174mm, boot\: 359 litresThe verdictLacks a couple of features, and isn't an all-out driver's car. But, the Aspire has very sound road manners and is at home in traffic, on the highway and in the mountains.