Ford FreeStyle Crossover Unveiled, Launch Likely in April 2018
It's not a hatchback, it's not an SUV. It's something in between. In other words, it's a crossover.
The Ford Freestyle is a crossover based on the Ford Figo hatchback. How is it different from the Figo hatchback? Quite a lot, actually.
According to Ford, the Freestyle is a compact utility vehicle of sorts (it does not carry Figo branding anywhere). To the average person, it does look a lot like a muscular Figo, and that's true to an extent. It looks like the Figo raided the EcoSport's makeup kit. Since we were not allowed to open the vehicle at the unveiling, we can't comment on the details on the interiors or the engine.
The exterior changes changes include a new bonnet with muscular lines, a revised grille, bumper and headlamps (these may appear on the facelift of the Figo and Aspire too). The sides get plastic cladding at the bottom half to give it a tougher look.
Ground clearance has increased by 15 mm over the Figo. It's now 185 mm as against 170 mm on the hatchback. It also gets wider 185/60 tyres on 15-inch alloy wheels. The suspension too has been upgraded, ostensibly to deal with rougher roads.
The rear gets revised tail-lamps and revised bumper. To complete that crossover look, it will come with a set of roof rails to add a sense of adventure.
The interiors have also been given a makeover compared to the Figo hatchback. The dashboard is dominated by a large 8-inch upright infotainment system screen with Ford's SYNC 3 system, just like in the Ford EcoSport. Lower variants get a 6.5-inch screen.
The crossover will be offered with a choice of two engines. The petrol is Ford's new 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine from the Dragon engine line up. The EcoSport gets a 1.5 litre version of this engine. In the Freestyle, it makes 95 bhp of power and 120 Nm of torque. It will be mated to a new 5-speed manual transmission from German firm Getrag.
The diesel will be the tried-and-tested 1.5 litre four-cylinder diesel that puts out 100 bhp power and 215 Nm torque, again with a 5-speed manual transmission. All variants will get standard safety features, including dual airbags and ABS.
The Freestyle is getting into a fairly competitive space. It will line up against the Honda WR-V, Toyota Etios Cross and Hyundai i20 Active. Lest we forget, this space also saw vehicles like the Volkswagen Cross Polo and Fiat Avventura that unfortunately didn't sell in any significant numbers.
Will the Freestyle finally give this crossover segment a much needed boost? The prices will be announced in April 2018. We expect the Ford Freestyle to be priced between Rs 5.75 lakh and Rs 8.5 lakh. Watch this space for more.
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