FORD FIGO CHASSIS DESIGNED FOR THE GLOBAL MARKET – TAILORED FOR SOUTH AFRICAN ROADS Johannesburg, 15 July 2010 – Based on a proven global architecture, the new Figo has undergone extensive engineering to the suspension and steering system along with improved sound refinement to bring new levels of driving enjoyment. Chassis The chassis for the […]


Johannesburg, 15 July 2010 – Based on a proven global architecture, the new Figo has undergone extensive engineering to the suspension and steering system along with improved sound refinement to bring new levels of driving enjoyment.

The chassis for the new Figo is based on a 2489mm wheelbase. The long wheelbase provides a superior ride over different road conditions along with a large and refined cabin environment that can be enjoyed by the driver and all occupants.

Front track for the Figo is 1474mm and 1444mm at the rear. Overall length of the Figo is 3795mm. Width at the widest part of the Figo is 1680mm, making it spacious inside but small enough to manoeuvre in city traffic.

Overall height of Figo is 1427mm.  Ground clearance is 168mm. For better clearance on steep inclines, the approach angle is 21.6 degrees and the departure angle is a generous 32.5 degrees. Front and rear overhangs measure 681mm and 625mm respectively. Despite its generous dimensions the Figo measures in at under 3.8 metres.

The long wheelbase is only one of the contributing factors of the Figo’s smooth ride.  The ride characteristics for Figo are developed behind a strong, proven architecture which ensures exemplary handling, optimal ride comfort and a quiet interior.

High strength steel has been utilized in key areas of the structure to provide optimal strength properties in the body and help minimize and reduce bending in key areas allowing the suspension and steering systems to operate with full effectiveness.

Up front, the MacPherson struts, lower A-arms and steering system are mounted on a rigid sub- frame that bolts on the main body structure. The sub-frame includes a boxed structural section and is fabricated from steel stampings.  This makes it easier and less expensive to replace in a collision yet provides excellent road noise isolation for a quiet cabin.

The struts also include dual-path top mounts that effectively separate forces from the damper rods and provide better isolation from road harshness, improved ride control and enhance steering precision over a variety of surfaces including dirt roads, ruts and potholes.

Low friction ball joints are included in the front suspension and help reduce steering system friction and enhance steering precision and agility.

Front suspension travel is 170mm and is designed to easily absorb inputs on all road surfaces with minimal feedback through the steering system.

The rear suspension is built around a twist beam structure and is designed to provide excellent vertical travel and longitudinal compliance to absorb bumps and varying road surface conditions.

Bolstering the twist beam axle are twin tube dampers that have revised valving to react instantaneously to variations of the road surfaces to provide a smooth ride.

Chassis tuning and suspension settings were designed for optimal performance including ride and handling. Tuning and development was tested and refined on Ford’s proving grounds in Australia and various road surfaces in India. The complete system was tested at various speeds to ensure structural integrity and durability.

The braking system was developed to meet Ford’s high standards for performance, reliability and quietness of operation.  The brake system was developed and tested in six countries across four continents to meet rigorous global requirements.

Stopping power for the Figo consists of a Front Disc/Rear Drum arrangement with standard power assist. A nine-inch vacuum booster with a dual master cylinder is standard.

Front brake rotors are vented and measure 260mm and are 22mm thick. Single piston, cast iron callipers fitted with long life, asbestos free pads are used. The total swept area for front disc brakes is 170 sq. cm. Rear brake drums are 203mm x 36mm for a total swept brake area of 231 sq. cm.

The four-channel system includes Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) that comes into effect before the ABS system is activated to help control rear wheel slip.  The four-channel system works independently at each wheel by monitoring wheel speed and slip and modulating brake pressure accordingly to each corner, maintaining straight line braking under all types of braking conditions.

Starting with a system that was optimized for precise, driving dynamics, the hydraulic rack and pinion steering system allows for easy manoeuvrability even in heavy traffic, following refinements to the steering ratio.

The power-assist system includes a high-pressure/low flow engine driven pump that provides strong linear response.

Just 3.5 turns are required lock-to-lock and the full turning circle diameter is 9.8 metres.  Tuned specifically for the South African market, the steering ratio allows for reduced effort during tight parking manoeuvres but maintains the precision and agility needed when driving at higher speeds.

Bolted to a stiff sub frame, the steering rack also contributes to the front stiffness of the Figo.  The location of the rack is mounted low to reduce the angle of the track rod relative to the lower suspension control arm and contributes to improved stability under braking.

Wheels & Tyres
Entry level models (Ambiente) will be equipped with 14″ steel wheels fitted with 175/65 R14 all-season radial tyres and are equipped with full wheel covers.  The high series models are equipped with 14″ alloy wheels and 175/65 R14 tyres. The larger wheels and high profile tyre size contribute to road isolation with the ability to absorb greater impacts from poor roads with minimal feedback to the driver.

Fuel Tank
The Figo has a fuel capacity of 45 litres and ensures an exceptional driving range for this fuel efficient car. Included on all Figo models is a ‘distance to empty’ display. To further help drivers reduce the possibility of running out of fuel, the Figo fuel tank is equipped with a sensor that triggers the low fuel warning lamp in the instrument cluster. The lamp keeps glowing to remind the driver the range of the vehicle is less than 80 kilometres.

Gerald Ferreira

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Published : Thursday July 15, 2010

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