Ford Freestyle Review: Priced From Rs 5.1 Lakh to Rs 7.9 Lakh
Update: Ford India has announced prices for the Ford Freestyle. The prices are even lower than the Figo hatchback, which will come as quite a pleasant surprise to buyers.
Here's the updated price list, ex-showroom:
Ford Freestyle Prices
Ford Freestyle Ambiente: Rs. 5.09 lakh
Ford Freestyle Trend: Rs. 5.99 lakh
Ford Freestyle Titanium: Rs. 6.39 lakh
Ford Freestyle Titanium Plus: Rs. 6.94 lakh
Ford Freestyle Ambiente: Rs. 6.09 lakh
Ford Freestyle Trend: Rs. 6.99 lakh
Ford Freestyle Titanium: Rs. 7.35 lakh
Ford Freestyle Titanium Plus: Rs. 7.89 lakh
The Ford Freestyle is available in four diesel and four petrol variants. All variants come with a five-speed manual transmission only.
The review follows.
As much as Ford would like you to believe otherwise, it is hard not to see that the Ford Freestyle is based on the Figo hatchback. Ford calls the Freestyle a CUV – Compact Utility Vehicle – which falls just short of being an SUV, but is more of a crossover-hatchback, or a cross-hatch.
Ford India invited The Quint to Jaipur, Rajasthan to test out the new Ford Freestyle on the Sambhar Salt Lake bed. Here are our first impressions of the Freestyle.
Crossover Exterior Styling
There are clear stylistic elements in the Freestyle that set it apart from the hatchback and sedan versions on the same platform. For the uninitiated, let's just list some of them. It gets all new front bumpers, plastic under-cladding, redesigned honeycomb grille and C-shaped black inserts around the fog lamps.
On the sides, you will see plastic cladding completely outlining the lower portion of the vehicle. The wheels have been upsized to 15-inch units, with 185/60 section tyres (which still look a little small for the wheel arches). The roof gets functional roof rails that can bear weight up to 50Kg.
At the rear, the visual cues are not very strong, apart from the redesigned rear bumper and very minor tweaks to the tail lamps. And yes, the all-important ground clearance has been raised to 190 mm at its lowest point, which should help drive across bad roads more easily.
Familiar Interiors, New Infotainment Unit
Step into the Ford Freestyle and you will be greeted with a fairly familiar cabin if you have sat in a Figo or Aspire before. But that’s when you notice the large 6.5-inch infotainment system screen floating in the centre like the Ford EcoSport, which is the stand-out element of the Freestyle.
The top of the dash is done up in chocolate brown plastic, while the rest is a combination of black and beige. The instrument cluster is the same as the Figo and Aspire. Plastic quality is of the hard-wearing variety – feels durable, but slightly rough. Overall fit and finish is good.
Rear seat legroom is pretty decent for an average 5-foot, 8-inch adult, and the width is adequate enough to seat three. The boot is the same as that of the Figo at 257 litres.
New 1.2 Dragon Petrol Engine
Ford will be offering the Freestyle with a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine (same as on the Figo, Ecosport and Aspire) putting out 100 bhp of power and 215 Nm of torque. But what's interesting is the new 1.2 litre, three-cylinder petrol unit that the Freestyle comes with.
The 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine puts out 96bhp of power and 120 Nm of torque, which is better than most other 1.2 litre petrol units in the segment. Despite the added punch, the engine seems pretty refined, with just a bit of thrum at higher revs.
Both engine choices come mated to a new 5-speed manual transmission, which is much smoother to use than the earlier box found in the Figo/Aspire. There's no mention of an automatic just yet.
Ford claims fuel efficiency of 19 kmpl for the petrol motor and 24.6 kmpl for the diesel motor.
How Does The Freestyle Drive?
The Ford Freestyle’s 1.2 petrol engine has pretty decent low-end torque, which means you don’t find it sluggish. It is also smooth revving and you don’t hear it until you cross about 5,000 rpm. Ford has worked quite a bit on the NVH in the car.
The gearbox feels slick and easy to use. Ride quality is slightly on the stiffer side. Ford has ensured the steering feels precise, like on the Figo and Aspire. The torque curve is pretty linear, being a naturally-aspirated petrol, but that makes it easy to drive in the city.
We took it on a short hill-climb up to the Nahargarh Fort and with four on board with the AC, it did not run out of breath.
Key Features of the Freestyle
It's no longer big news to be talking about safety features in cars – 2 airbags and ABS are now standard fare on almost all. The Freestyle has that on all variants, and includes 6 airbags, electronic stability control, traction and what Ford calls ARP (active rollover protection) as well. ARP can help brake individual wheels to prevent the vehicle from tipping over.
Besides that, the Titanium plus also has hill assist – where the brakes hold the vehicle for a few seconds to prevent it rolling back. Storage spaces are plenty in the front, including large door pockets and two cup holders. It gets a 12v charging point and two USB ports.
Automatic climate control, keyless entry, push-button ignition, power-folding mirrors are all present on the top-end variant. The Sync 3 infotainment system has emergency calling and Android Auto built-in, with a six-speaker audio system. It also gets reverse parking sensors and a camera, but no cruise control. All-in-all, it is pretty feature packed.
Who Would Buy One?
Overall, the Ford Freestyle makes a good case for itself. Sure, it isn't really radical when it comes to styling, but this cross-hatch has a pretty decent amount of utility thrown in. The biggest draw is the additional ground clearance it offers. And for those of you looking for a punchy petrol motor, this 1.2 litre will appeal to you. The 1.5 diesel is a tried and tested unit, and would suit those looking at longer commutes or road trips.
At the launch prices of between Rs 5.09 lakh to Rs 7.89 lakh, the Ford Freestyle offers great value for money as well - it is even cheaper than the Figo hatchback!