2021 Ford Figo AT vs Volkswagen Polo TSI AT: Specification and price comparison
Ford India recently launched the 2021 Figo, offering it with the choice of an automatic transmission once again. In its previous outing however, the Figo’s competition with its premium hatchback rivals wasn’t so fierce. Now it is a different story altogether. New entrants like the Tata Altroz and Hyundai Grand i10 Nios have gained popularity, with each rival now getting the choice of an automatic gearbox – if not an AMT, at least. And I haven’t even mentioned the compact-SUVs like the Nissan Magnite edging into hatchback territory! Clearly the Ford Figo has its work cut out for it. But now it is time to pit it against its main rival – the Volkswagen Polo. Both these hatchbacks rank highly for those who enjoy the Thrill of Driving. Time to find out how they stack up against each other on paper.
In terms of dimensions, the Polo is the longer car. It is also taller than the Figo by a larger margin. The Ford claws back by being wider than the VW. That, coupled with a longer wheelbase means occupants are likely to be more comfortable sitting in the Figo’s cabin.
The Polo AT comes with a three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine; the 1.0 TSI we have come to love so much. The Figo takes the naturally-aspirated route, with a 1.2-litre Ti-VCT engine. The Polo’s engine makes more power despite packing lesser displacement, making 108bhp to the Figo’s 95bhp thanks to its turbocharger. Despite the heavier kerb weight, the Polo is likely to be quicker, due to the sheer amount of torque on offer and a better power-to-weight ratio than the Figo. Interestingly, both the Figo and the Polo feature torque converter automatic gearboxes, after being paired with dual-clutch gearboxes in their earlier iterations. While neither of the two come with paddle shifters, the Polo does get a tiptronic mode while the Figo makes do with ‘+’ and ‘-’ buttons on the shifter to take control of the gear shifts manually.
The Figo automatic is offered only in the Titanium and Titanium+ trims, meaning it is loaded with kit. You get automatic climate control, auto headlamps, and a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation. You do miss out on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though you do get other connectivity options like Bluetooth and aux for telephony and playing music. There’s also loads of safety kit on offer which includes ESP, traction control, ABS with EBD and six airbags.
The Polo automatic is offered with a wider spread of variants, including the Polo GT. While the VW gets just two airbags to the Ford’s six, it is equally matched on other equipment. The Polo gets the all important touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (smaller than the Figo’s at 6.5-inches) and the steering can be adjusted for both rake and reach, as opposed to the Figo’s. There Polo also gets an armrest with a rear-AC vent (only on the Highline Plus), one-touch power windows all around and cruise control. Although the Polo just gets two airbags, the platform of the car has been constantly updated to keep it modern. Despite common criticism of the Polo being a ten-year old car, it is definitely the more contemporary choice of the two.
The Figo automatic is offered in the top-spec Titanium and Titanium+ trims. On the other hand, the Polo automatic comes in a wider spread of variants – the Comfortline, Highline Plus and the GT. The Ford is the more affordable of the two, with the all-bells-and-whistles Figo undercutting the base variant of the Polo automatic by nearly thirty thousand rupees. While the Figo may be more expensive than its other rivals, such as the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, one must note that the Figo gets a superior torque converter gearbox as opposed to the AMTs on the rivals. And engineering does come at a price, with the Polo continuing to sit at the higher-end of the price bracket.
The Ford Figo has been going strong despite the entry of several new competitors in the market. But has Ford done enough to keep the Figo relevant enough against the likes of the VW Polo? The Figo may appear as the more sensible choice to the likes of some, due to the comprehensive safety features on offer and a decent amount of kit. But for outright thrills with the performance to match, the Polo would likely be the one ending on a petrolhead’s wish list. But that’s just on paper. Both the Figo and the Polo promise to deliver the Thrill of Driving to enthusiasts. How they stack up against each other in the real world is something that will have to wait until we do a proper comparison test.