Ford’s Figo took the runner-up position, in a surprise finish to an evening that saw two cars named 2011 South African Car of the Year at a gala awards evening hosted by Wesbank and the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) last night.
Last year an independent panel of motoring experts from the SAGMJ chose ten finalists worthy of contending for the 2011 title, and the Figo was the only model chosen in the entry level segment in the finals, a market that is leading sales growth in South Africa.
During February the judges put the finalists through a rigorous testing programme with the aim of uncovering the model that best epitomises all-round automotive excellence, a search which has seen Figo being ranked in the runner-up spot.
“We’re very happy with the result,” said Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa president and CEO, Jeff Nemeth. “The Figo has already demonstrated its popularity among discerning customers, and this runner-up position further cements the Figo’s status as a top choice in its segment for South African motorists.”
The nippy 1.4 Ambiente model is powered by a 62kW Duratec petrol engine that offers up 127Nm of torque at 4000rpm, this equates to a frugal fuel consumption of 6.6ℓ/100km on the combined cycle and a CO2 emissions figure of 156g/km.
The space and practicality that define the Figo are more commonly associated with larger, more expensive vehicles rather than those typically found in the sub B-segment. The precise and responsive steering of the Figo instills confidence, while a fine balance between ride comfort and control is ensured through the optimized suspension design. There’s no shortage of big-car features either, the Figo features substantial technology including MP3/iPod connectivity, dual front airbags, ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and PATS (Passive Anti Theft System).
Research has shown that there is a growing market of first time car buyers in South Africa, particularly among women. The Figo offers fantastic affordability without sacrificing on style and comfort.
The Figo’s solid design, good stance and contemporary silhouette are refreshing features for a vehicle in its class. Designers were careful to ensure that the final blue print shows Figo as a legitimate form of transportation. Despite its youthful spirit, Figo is mature and smart.
Beyond design, Figo is all about lifestyle. With features like CD with MP3 compatibility and ‘Aux-in’ port for iPod connectivity, the new Ford instantly connects with the energy and vitality of the buyer. And with a proven, global chassis, Figo delivers a strong promise of reliability, functionality and performance.
In addition to excellent fuel economy, customers are offered further value for money through Ford’s affordable spare parts, and reliable service through its extensive dealer network. The Figo comes with a 4-year/120 000km fully comprehensive warranty, 5-year corrosion warranty and 3-year Roadside Assistance. Service intervals are 20 000km.
“The Ford Figo’s strong placing among ten contenders that represent the best of modern motoring technology and engineering is a testament to the strengths of the Figo,” concluded Nemeth. “I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate this year’s winners as well as all the finalists who were selected for the 2011 COTY competition.”