New Ford Aspire Review: Better Equipped, Better Value for Money

Image result for New Ford Aspire Review: Better Equipped, Better Value for MoneyEver since Ford came out with the Aspire, the car has managed to create an identity for itself which is of being a good driver’s car. But then there were a few features that the car could have used. Now, though, seems like Ford has heard to their customers as they have now come out with the new Aspire that not only gets new features but also new styling. But does that mean it is better value for money than before? Let’s find out.

Let’s start with the way the new Aspire looks. The biggest visual update is the redesigned front-end. The Aspire gets a new grille design which sports ample out of chrome for the chrome-lovers out there and the fog lamp enclosures now extend into the bumper to give it a c-shape design and yes, gets the chrome treatment as well. The headlamps have been smoked out and even they get a chrome element inside!

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThere’s ample of chrome on the New Ford Aspire. (Photo: News18.com)

Coming to the back of the car, the thick chrome strip that runs across the width of the boot lid remains the same as the earlier model whereas the rear bumper has been redesigned. Look closer and you will notice that the tail lights get new detailing.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets subtle updates at the back. (Photo: News18.com)

As for the side profile, well, it still has that muscular and strong shoulder line which is now complemented by new 15-inch alloy wheels.

Overall, the car looks fresh and more up to date. However, there is no LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), projector headlamps or LED tail lights on offer even in the top-spec variant, which is something that the competing cars in this segment do come with. Is it a deal breaker? and does it make that much of a difference? Not at all, but it is something that would have been nice to have.

Moving on to the inside of the car and the first thing that you will notice is that the cabin has the familiar Ford layout. The build quality is great and so is the quality of materials used – something that Ford is known for.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe interiors of the new Ford Aspire have a familiar layout. (Photo: News18.com)

Gone are the leather seats making way for the new fabric seats that have better bolstering. There is enough room for passengers all around the cabin but the car surprisingly does not have a rear AC vent or a charging port for the rear passengers which is a big miss.

Add to that the absence of cup holders in the rear armrest and no bottle holders in the rear doors which is a bit surprising, to be honest.

The Aspire’s saving grace, though, is the new touchscreen infotainment system.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe infotainment system of the new Ford Aspire in the top-spec variant comes with Ford’s SYNC 3 technology. (Photo: News18.com)

We drove the top-spec variant which actually gets a smaller 6.5-inch screen as opposed to a 7-inch screen that the lower variants get, but it offers the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support which the lower variants don’t. There are also two USB ports placed in the centre console and the car gets the usual Bluetooth connectivity along with steering mounted controls. The outside rearview mirrors can now be operated electronically and I absolutely loved the rotary knobs for the volume and aircon controls which feel premium.

But coming to the infotainment system, it gets Ford’s SYNC 3 technology and simply put – this is the best infotainment system in the compact sedan segment in India right now. The touch response is simply fantastic and there’s also a reverse parking camera that the new Aspire gets.

Then, there’s the addition of automatic headlamps and rain sensing vipers as well.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets new features like automatic headlamps and wipers. (Photo: News18.com)

So yes, the new touchscreen infotainment system is the highlight of the cabin but what I really liked was the driving ergonomics that the car has to offer. Especially the chunky steering wheel which is just fantastic to hold.

And this isn’t that big of a surprise. Ford cars are known for being great at driving and it is applicable on the new Aspire as well. The other thing that Fords are known for is safety, and the Aspire offers that by offering dual airbags and ABS as standard across variants. The top-spec variant of the Aspire comes with six airbags around the cabin.

The unit we tested came powered with the 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine which was first seen on the Ford Freestyle and it gets the same state of tune in the Aspire as well. The engine makes 96 PS of power at a sky-high 6,500 RPM and 120 Nm of torque at 4,250 RPM. This engine is peppy and when you drive it down low in the RPM range, it is calm and composed like a well-behaved child. But, go past the 3,000 RPM mark and you are greeted with a throaty exhaust note and the car pulls ahead like a cat who is afraid of water, has just been in the water.

The gear throws are short and crisp and the drivetrain feels just so engaging to shift through.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewWe drove the manual-gearbox equipped variant of the new Ford Aspire and the drivetrain was a delight. (Photo: News18.com)

That’s not it, the chassis is so good that it makes you believe that it can take much more power. And the driving feedback from the steering wheel and the brakes makes the car feel sublime. Yes, the ride quality is a bit harsh at low speeds but it just keeps getting better and better as the speeds climb.

This is a proper driver’s car.

Ford, Ford Aspire, Aspire, Ford Aspire ReviewThe new Ford Aspire gets new 15-inch alloy wheels. (Photo: News18.com)

Last but not least, the price. The new Ford Aspire is actually cheaper than the old Ford Aspire. And with that, it also undercuts the starting price of the Hyundai Xcent, Honda Amaze as well as the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire making it a sweeter deal than ever before.

So to sum up the new Aspire’s experience. Well, if you’re in the market looking for a compact sedan then you might be looking for things like efficiency or practicality, but if you’re looking out for driving dynamics, then the new Aspire is something that we definitely recommend.

[“source=news18”]

ET Money logs Rs 2,000 crore in mutual fund sales on app

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The app has added multiple features to become a full-service financial services provider on the phone over time.
NEW DELHI: ET Money has clocked Rs 2,000 crore of mutual fund sales on its app, registering a nearly twentyfold increase in sales of the financial product over the past fifteen months.

The online financial services platform had started offering investors the choice to invest in direct mutual funds a few months ago and has witnessed exponential growth ever since.

“The growth in value of transactions is due to the pace at which we have launched innovative offerings for the customer and the addition of direct mutual funds to our platform,” ET Money’s chief executive officer Mukesh Kalra said. ET Money’s ability to provide customers a wide range of solutions, including loans to meet short-term funding requirements had increased the platform’s credibility and users confidence in the app, according to Kalra.

The Times Internet-backed company started operations two years ago as an app that linked into the user’s SMS log and enabled him/her to maintain a roster of monthly expenses. It has added multiple features to become a full-service financial services provider on the phone over time. Times Internet is a subsidiary of BCCL, the publisher of this newspaper.

Within a short span of time, ET Money has struck collaborations with over twenty asset management companies to offer a range of over 1,000 mutual fund schemes. It also has a tie-up with RBL Bank to provide loans to customers and recently introduced a liquid fixed deposit scheme that offers higher interest rates in comparison to traditional savings accounts.

“We are aiming to grow to Rs 5,000 crore of mutual fund transactions in the next 12-18 months,” Kalra said, expressing confidence that the movement towards investments in financial assets by people who have disposable incomes will create the right conditions for his business.

Over the last 18 months, ET Money has introduced a slew of industry-first offerings like SmartDeposit with Instant Withdrawal, Paperless KYC, One-tap Portfolio Buys, SIP Registration without First Installment and Option to Skip SIP Installments.

It has also launched a unique feature to enable existing investors save agent commissions on their existing mutual fund investments by instantly allowing them to switch to direct plans.

With an aim to play an integral role in a modern Indian’s financial life, ET Money has expanded its offerings providing instant personal loans through its app along with Insurance products via ETInsure. This has helped to grow it’s total transactions across all services to an annual figure of over Rs.2,100 Crores which is growing at 200% every six months, the company claims. The ET Money app is available on Android or iOS.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]

Money advice can’t be generalised

(Representative image)
NEW DELHI: There is a consistent complaint about this column. Why does it not provide specific action points? Can’t we have actual products as recommendations? Why explain the principles but stop short of converting them into thumb rules?

Personal finance cannot be generalised. Broad principles are universal, but actual application requires decisions the individual should make, based on their specific situation. Therefore, a specific set of steps will not work for all. So the effort is to point the reader to some principles, offer some ideas that enable them to think of their decisions, and provide frames for evaluation.

Let’s rework last week’s column on worries of the soon-to-retire generation. We tried to point out how those of us who don’t have a government pension, those who aren’t rooted to their bases, and those who don’t enjoy great health, might end up with a mixed bag of retirement experiences.

To convert that problem into an actionable set of rules would go like this: (I am not recommending these, only putting them here to illustrate a point). First, ensure that you earn a fixed income like a pension. Choose government-sponsored schemes and invest your retirement proceeds in schemes that offer annuity, pension, fixed interest and such. Second, make sure you have your own home to live in. Do not touch the retirement corpus. Third, buy a good medical insurance before any disease strikes. Fourth, do not stay idle, find something to do. Fifth, stay healthy.

The rest of the column can expound each of these. How much should the corpus be? How much to draw and how much to keep? Which medical insurance is best? Will the money get over if I pursue new hobbies?

The answers to all these questions is just math. In an excel sheet you can put numbers and assumptions, and you will soon have a number of scenarios and you can choose one that appeals to you most. We can make sense of the math, and make choices from what is on offer.

First, what should someone without pension do? Hopefully there is some money set aside—in PF, as investments and as assets. Bring all of it together. Include the houses, plot and gold—all assets you inherited or invested in. Evaluate each one and put them in those three boxes. You will get a sense of what you have.

Second, when you no longer earn an income, your assets must generate it for you. To know how much you need, make an estimate and include interests, travel, gifts and giveaways, and your regular expenses. What is a comfortable position? You have enough assets. A portion can be used to generate income, and a portion can grow in value and remain untouched.

Comfort in retirement is achieved when you have income that is enough and assets that are growing and can be tapped as inflation increases the amount of income you need. Money you need should be in income generating assets; money you don’t immediately need should be in growth generating assets. You need both. Over time you will shuffle between the two as needs change.

You already have many questions. And, there are no simple answers. You created the assets and you will bring them together and make them work the best for you. If that means selling your large house to move into a small one, and taking your spouse on a world cruise, you have to make that choice. No columnist can do it for you.

[“source=timesofindia.indiatimes”]

Centre’s crop insurance scheme aimed at taking away farmer’s money: Rahul Gandhi

Taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on February 3 said the Centre’s crop insurance scheme is aimed at taking away farmers income to fill up pockets of big businessmen.

At his first rally in Bihar after taking over as party president, Gandhi accused the Nitish Kumar government in the state of making “empty promises” like Modi.

He promised that if the Congress is voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls a number of steps would be taken to deal with farm distress and unemployment.

Raising the slogan of “chowkidaar chor hai” (the watchman is the thief) — an allusion to Modi, Gandhi accused the NDA government at the Centre of committing irregularities in the Rafale deal.

He alleged that policies of the Modi government, including crop insurance, were “aimed at taking away hard-earned money of farmers to fill up the pockets of big businessmen”.

In contrast, he said, his party’s governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh waived farm loans within a few days of coming to power.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were also present at the rally.

Besides, alliance partners like RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, former Union minister Sharad Yadav and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi were present.

[“source=moneycontrol”]