Apr 27, 2018
Ford has launched Freestyle, Figo based Crossover, at Rs. 5.09 lakh (ex-showroom).
1. Kudos to Ford for improving an already good looking car. Freestyle has used the design elements and cladding to its advantage. It stands out in the crowd. While it may not be a head turner, it definitely grabs attention.
2. Talk of the town is new 1.2 litre 'Dragon' 3-cylinder petrol engine; it’s younger sibling of 1.5 litre iteration is found in EcoSport. Freestyle petrol has class leading power (95 HP), while torque is 120 Nm. Note that the highest power output for a non-turbocharged 1.2 litre petrol engine was with Honda (87 HP).
3. The 1.5 litre 4-cylinder diesel with 100 BHP and 215 Nm torque is carried forward from Figo. Both the engines are tuned quite well for urban jungle and highway runs. Makes for a more convenient drive as necessity to work the gearbox is reduced. The engines are coupled with new 5-speed manual gearbox (from Getrag).
4. Mouth-watering entry price! Ford has done what usually Maruti Suzuki does, well, for most of its products. Value proposition is top notch for Freestyle, Ford finally hits bull’s eye on this one.
5. Standard safety kit includes ABS+EBD, dual front airbags, reverse parking sensors (a segment first!), auto door lock @15 kmph and rear fog lamp. As we climb up the variant ladder, top trim gets 6 airbags, Active Rollover Protection (Hill Launch Assist, Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System), rear camera and Emergency Assistance. Hats off to Ford for the handsome standard safety kit. It’s easily segment best.
6. ARAI rated fuel efficiency stands at 19 kmpl for petrol and a seriously impressive 24.4 kmpl for diesel. The 19 kmpl from a small petrol lugging along a 1044 kg car is no mean feat. Ford petrol is up there with the best from Japanese rivals.
7. Alike other domains, infotainment receives Ford's attention too. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Ford Sync 3 with Voice Control are all integrated in 6.5" touchscreen infotainment system. If revised EcoSport’s system is anything to go by, Freestyle will probably have one of the best systems amongst rivals.
8. Ground clearance is up by 16mm to 190 mm (in unladen condition), not that it was in short supply earlier, but very helpful nevertheless. Tyres are 15" over 14" of Figo. Cladding in sufficient does and roof rails that are functional add to its appeal as an adventurous/exciting product rather than mundane hatchbacks which are found aplenty on our roads. A very strategic, smart move to place the car with unique identity and hence differentiator.
9. Feature list runs quite long with automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, electrochromic internal rear view mirror, one touch up/down driver window, height adjustable front seatbelts, Push Button Start, Smart Key Access, Ford MyKey and few more. Boot space is a practical 257 litres. Standard 6-speed intermittent wipers is a welcome move.
10. What’s been given a miss: rear adjustable headrests, reach/telescopics adjustment for steering wheel, better instrument cluster (large fuel gauge looks out of place), plastic quality could do with some improvement, dashboard color not to everybody’s taste.
CarHunt Verdict: Excellent value quotient, well-tuned powerful engines, solid build, practicality, class leading standard safety kit all make it a serious contender in its class. The fact that Ford placed this car as CUV (Compact Utility Vehicle) further adds to its appeal and differentiates from cut throat rivalry. Addition of automatic transmission would be icing on the cake.