On Saturday 13 July 2019, one lucky Overstrand resident will drive off with a brand-new Ford Figo when the final draw in Ford Hermanus’s Pasella Promotion will be held at 10 am at Ford Hermanus. Please be sure to bring your tickets for the draw and your identification. Our intrepid travel duo, tourism manager, FRIEDA LLOYD, and motoring journalist JOHN FLOYD, took time out to get to grips with the Figo 1.5 Ambiente – one of South Africa’s favourite compact cars.
Frieda: At first glance the Figo looks small and demure, but the moment we drove this little car off the showroom floor of Ford Hermanus in Arum Street it lived up to the definition of its name in English: present on all sides. It might be small, but boy, it has road presence! To fit this mood, we decided the Figo would take us to Clarence Drive, voted one of the most scenic routes in the world.
John: It is hard to believe that it has been nine years since I attended the press launch of the Ford Figo. Built in India, the Figo was based on the previous Fiesta platform, with a revised front and rear styling. As can be expected, it was an instant success. Sales blossomed but were limited due to production capacity at the Indian assembly plants. The face-lifted version arrived in 2013 and resulted in increased sales. In 2015 a new Figo arrived and continued to satisfy this sector of the market despite increasing competition. It was refreshed once more in 2018 and is still a favourite on the local market.
It may be the entry level in the range but the Figo still has a lot to offer. The latest styling from front to rear stands on a set of 14-inch steel wheels with cover and carry 175/65 rubber for a more upmarket look.
Frieda: As locals we sometimes do not take enough time out to enjoy and appreciate the splendour that makes our region such a popular tourist attraction. The little Figo offered the perfect ride as we manoeuvred the bends to Kleinmond and on to Rooi-Els. It is the sheer scale of the mountains above the road that immediately arrests the senses and makes this stretch of road one of the most scenic in the world.
With the Figo firmly gripping the road, even a sudden decision to turn off to visit Harbour Road in Kleinmond did not provide me with time to gasp as we charged around the corner to see what the Potter’s Gallery had in stock (my indecision and John’s skills as a master driver were at fault here). Corinne de Haas of Potter’s Gallery and her team craft tableware used by celebrity chefs in many of South Africa’s top restaurants to enhance the plating of their signature dishes. Everyone who wants to know what the latest trends in the world of crockery are, must stop off at this gallery – and shop!
John: Having indulged Frieda in her search for the holy grail of crockery, we waved Kleinmond adieu and hastened on towards Betty’s Bay and Rooi-Els. The Figo has inherited Ford’s chassis dynamics and is an absolute driving pleasure, with lots of grip and well-weighted power steering making control a breeze in any conditions. The small Ford provides a comfortable and quiet ride.
The interior is spacious, although rear leg room is limited, as is boot space, but it is a compact vehicle and folding down the rear seat provides more luggage space. Especially if you have the queen of shopping as your passenger.
A well laid-out dashboard with well-positioned controls, comfortable seating and height-adjustable steering wheel allow one to find the ideal driving position – and sitting position if you are inclined to wait in the car during shopping expeditions.
Frieda: After spending some time in the shops and galleries, the scenic beauty of Betty’s Bay and the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens made us quickly realise again what a serenely beautiful environment we live in and what a calming and positive effect it has on one. For those who want to do more than just drive to Betty’s Bay, there is a parkrun every Saturday morning at 08:00 at no cost. After the devastating fires earlier this year, extensive work has been done in the gardens and there are also a few new walking trails to get the blood circulation flowing.
Apart from its pristine flora, Betty’s Bay also offers visitors access to one of the largest breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world. The penguin sanctuary at Stoney Point allows you the opportunity to observe these flightless birds up close.
John: As fast as a speeding penguin under water, the Figo offers real excitement in the form of the new 1.5 litre petrol engine which has to be one of the smoothest 3-cylinder engines ever. Developing 88 kW at 6 300 r/min and torque of 150 Nm at 4 250 r/min, the power unit coupled to a very slick and smooth five-speed manual transmission, provides power to cope with any driving mode. Fuel consumption is claimed at 5.7 l/100km and with a 42-litre tank, the range is estimated to be 737 km.
Frieda: In Pringle Bay we stocked up on deli products for our photo stop along Clarence Drive to appreciate the view. Lemon and Lime is a gourmet emporium that has been going for many years and besides deli products you can also find gifts and various other goodies. The shelves are lined with local produce and the current inflight magazines are available, thanks to resident editorial director and founder of Mikateko Media, Ingrid Jones.
And while you find yourself in this beautiful town, Pringle Art Zoo is one of the Cape Whale Coast’s hidden gems. Where else would you find a combination of coffee shop, juice bar, animation hub, bike tours and repairs and art studio all in one? Art Zoo offers lip-smacking coffee at only R15 per cup, animation services, bike tours of the area and a curry club in winter. In addition, Pringle Bay village is well on its way to going plastic free. All the shops in the area have made a collective decision not to use plastic bags.
The Figo surprised me in more ways than one. At first sight it looked so small but once seated I felt comfortable with enough room for movement. The Figo hugged the tarmac and traversed the dirt roads with ease. Our last treat of the day was a slow cruise from Rooi-Els to the newly-established roadside eatery, PitStop and Grille Shack on Clarence. Here kids can play while adults relax at leisure with a menu that will satisfy every craving.
John: There are no prizes for guessing who planned all the stops en route, but thanks to this I have discovered a plethora of new and interesting local arts & crafts and food shops along the way. The Figo is much the same as the villages dotted along the way: not too big, but a whole lot of fun. In colloquial Italian, Figo means, it’s simply “Cool”.
The Ford Figo 1.5 Ambiente sells for R186 600 and comes with Ford Protect, comprising a 4-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, 3-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and a 5-year/unlimited corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 km.