The government recently announced that there are going to be 10,000 more CNG filling stations opened in the country. The governments plan to BS6 in effect will also be in place by April 2020. These are events that are shaping the future and are making it possible for a product like the Aspire to exist. With diesel engines frowned upon, electric/hybrid power not ready yet, the solution that is readily available is – CNG. A combination that has been tried and tested. The Ford Aspire CNG has set out to do just that. It takes the best that Ford has to offer in this segment and combines it with a solution that is the best for our times. The factory-fitted Ford Aspire CNG gets a warranty of 100,000 kilometers and the service breakdown makes it an affordable with the cost coming to – 46paise/km service cost. That is all very appealing and sounds like Ford has got the factory fitted CNG recipe for a car right. But was it any good? Read further to find out.
Design and Interior
Really not much too talk here is there? The car is available in the Ambiente and Trend+ variants. This means it does not get the following – no alloy wheels, no fog lamps (Trend variant), no electrically adjustable mirrors (Trend variant), no DRLs and on the inside it does not get a touchscreen ( Trend variant). The car does get the new updated fascia, grille, headlights, taillights and bumpers from the new facelifted Aspire. The car gets grab handles for the doors and colored bumpers. In terms of safety, the car gets 2 airbags, rear parking sensors, Ford’s superior build quality and the company also says that the front suspension and brakes have been tweaked for this car too. In the Ambiente version, the car also gets a touchscreen with maps and a reverse parking camera. The interior is overall the same, there is obviously no auto-climate-control or steering mounted controls. From the price standpoint and the use of the car, we do not see this as a problem. The car gets adjustable headrests, there is plenty of storage and some in the boot too even after the installation of a big CNG tank. The space for passengers at the rear is more than most cars in this segment and is more appreciated with the seats being soft and the recline being good. The commercial market for which this car has been more importantly developed is going to love it. The buyers of the private segment will want more features and will obviously not like the 80km/h speed governor (only applicable to the taxi segment).
Overall, the design and the interior do it’s place in the market justice. The amount of equipment offered does feel less at first but the price that does not hit your wallet too hard makes you see the sense behind the whole car in the end. But is it fun to drive? Scroll down a little.
Now from the beginning let me say the Ford Aspire CNG comes with a factory programmed speed governor. The maximum speed we were able to achieve really as the brochure said was – 80km/h. To be honest, in the city, that speed it more than what will be ever needed. The highways are where you might not like this trade-off and will have to sit in the left lane where you will not do overtaking or any kind of passing really. The gearing is optimized to help you reach 80 quickly. The 1.2-liter petrol engine from Ford is a damm capable one. We have experienced this engine before and I have personally been able to ring out 65km/h in 2nd gear with it. The same kind of performance was seen here, where after 80km/h was hit in the 3rd gear one just shifts gears from 3rd to 4th and 5th to make the engine quieter and the drive smoother. Down-shifting at 80km/h did not seem to lead to any acceleration either. The cars factory programmed speed governor does not allow speeding at all. When it comes to handling we can assure you with our past experience with the Aspire the sun driving experience has not changed. It will be better we guess in the civilian version with the speed governor disengaged. We can tell you that the power is noticeable more punchy when the CNG is turned off and the car is running on petrol only. The drop in power for CNG is felt but is not significant, the power to play around, accelerate all the way to 80km/h is always there. The Ford Aspire CNG will return a mileage of 26-28km/kg.
The Ford Aspire with factory fitted CNG makes a lot of sense. There will some who will want the car in a private option to have a Titanium variant at least. But for the commercial segment where Ford thinks this car will sell the most, the kit offered on the Ambiente and Trend Plus variants is just fine. The prices of the Ford Aspire CNG in its two variants are –
|Prices (ex-showroom, Delhi)||Petrol||CNG|
|Ambiente||Rs 5.55 lakh||Rs 6.27 lakh (+ Rs 72,000)|
|Trend Plus||Rs 6.59 lakh||Rs 7.12 lakh (+ Rs 53,000)|
When it comes to Ford service, the price you see is the price you pay. New Ford Aspire CNG’s maintenance costs only 46 paise/km, up to 100,000 km.
|Model||Variant||Engine||10K Kms||20K Kms||30K Kms||40K Kms||50K Kms||60K Kms||70K Kms||80K Kms||90K Kms||100K Kms|
(All prices in INR. Windshield Wash Fluid is optional.CNG Kit Maintenance data provided by Lovato)
So should you buy this car? Consider it? Yes. If you want runnings costs to be low, if you want the car with a sturdy built, reliable engine, decent safety features and a cheap maintenance plan – the Ford Aspire CNG fit’s the bill.