The Ford Aspire has always been one among the safest, most powerful and feature-laden sub-4 metre sedans on the market. In fact, a lot of competing manufacturers followed suit with their cars – starting with the all-new Maruti Suzuki Dzire, the Hyundai Xcent and Tata's Tigor. Having gotten a little long in the tooth, Ford have decided to give it a significant update that includes the design and the engine as well. In an attempt to catch up with the contenders, Ford have spruced-up the Aspire, as our 2018 Ford Aspire review reveals...

Although the design isn't all-new, there are notable changes that are pretty apparent. At the front, the new honeycomb grille gets chrome bordering it. The bumper too, has been revised and gets larger air dams and fog lamps with C-shaped chrome housing. Inside the headlamps, the clusters get blacked-out detailing with chrome elements, but there are no projector headlamps and LED DRLs. Along the sides, there aren't any alterations, barring the new 15-inch alloy wheels. And at the rear, the bumper has been re-shaped as well.

As far as the cabin is concerned, things aren't all that different. The centre console remains the same, while the steering and dashboard too resemble the older cars. However, there is a new 6.5-inch touchscreen with Ford's new SYNC 3 tech that also features Apple Car Play and Android Auto. We found it to be the most intuitive to use in its segment. Seats at the front and rear are very well cushioned, and there is sufficient leg-and-knee room at the rear. Unfortunately, the Aspire now doesn't get leather upholstery. The boot, at 359 litres, is the smallest in the segment.

Features of course, are at par with other cars in the segment – like electrically adjustable ORVMs, reverse camera and parking sensors, height adjustable driver seat and steering and Day/Night inside mirror, among a lot of other goodies. On the safety front, it gets 6 airbags - a segment-first.

The new Aspire is powered by two engine options: a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder Dragon petrol unit from the Freestyle that makes 96bhp and 120Nm of torque, and a 1.5-litre diesel engine that produces 99bhp and 215Nm of torque. Both engines are paired to a new 5-speed manual transmission. For a petrol engine that runs on three cylinders, the Aspire is pretty refined. At idle, the motor is quiet and even at low speeds, it can barely be heard. It hesitates in the bottom-end, making over-taking a bit bothersome, but the clutch is light, making it easy to deal with in traffic. Once past 3000rpm, the engine feels peppy, but as the revs rise, the motor does sound coarse. The oil-burner, on the other hand, feels impressively tractable and is quite torquey.

Ride and handling is where the Aspire doesn't cease to flatter. Wider 195-section tyres have contributed to a great extent in helping improve ride quality. When dealing with the rough stuff on tarmac, the Aspire doesn't feel excessively mellow. It feels just about right, and the handling needn't be doubted either, for the steering is brimming with feel and feedback. Around corners, the Aspire never gets unsettled.

At a starting price of 5.55 lakh for the base petrol variant and 8.14 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the top-of-the-line diesel variant, it is marginally cheaper than some of its rivalry, as mentioned in our Aspire car review. It's a stellar all-round package that manifests a wide breadth of talents. For everyone who's loved Ford and believes firmly in its reputation as a brand, the Aspire is a perfect example of how one should do a sub 4-metre sedan, as stated clearly in our Aspire Review.

Do look out for our in-depth Ford Aspire review to find out more