Ford launched the new generation Figo 3 years back, but the new model has not really done well in finding buyers. Of course, the cheap quality overall didn’t please many. In recent times, the Figo is struggling to sell more than 1,000 units consistently in the Indian market. Rivals like the Maruti Suzuki Swift & Hyundai Grand i10 are selling more than 10 times of what Ford manages for the Figo. Forget that, even the Tata Tiago sells more than a Ford Figo.
Hence, the need to launch the Freestyle. While Ford has boldly dedicated a new section as ‘CUV’ in their product portfolio on their website, we know that the Freestyle is nothing but a pimped up Figo posing to be rough road friendly. So, that’s that. Does this work? Well, it has for Honda & Hyundai with the WR-V & i20 Active. But that has to do more with the fact that the donor cars like Honda Jazz & Hyundai Elite i20 were a hit by themselves. So we wonder what will be the case for the new Freestyle. So far, the only thing Freestyle about this is the marketing around the product.
Powering this “NEW” Ford Freestyle is the familiar 1.5L, TDCI, 4-cylinder motor producing 99 BHP of power and 215 Nm of torque matched to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Ford will also introduce a new Dragon series 1.2L, 3-cylinder petrol motor with the Freestyle for the first time, which produces 95 BHP of power and 120 Nm of torque matched to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The petrol engine will deliver 19 kmpl while the diesel will deliver 24.4 kmpl. Ford will retail the Freestyle in 4 variants – Ambiente, Trend, Titanium & Titanium+ along with 6 colour options to choose from.
But, there’s something good about the Freestyle, and that’s the safety features. It comes with ABS with EBD, dual front airbags & parking sensors as standard across all variants. Apart from this, you also have side & curtain airbags, high speed warning, active rollover protection, hill launch assist, ESP & traction control on higher variants.
Cosmetic changes compared to the Figo include smoked effect for the headlamp, black front grille, new front & rear bumpers, black rear view mirrors, body decals, new 15″ alloy wheels, roof rail, reprofiled tail lamp, faux skid plates, new bonnet and of course, body cladding to justify the ‘Utility Vehicle’ tag.
Inside, Ford is now offering a new SYNC3 capable touchscreen infotainment system similar (in layout) to what we’ve seen on the EcoSport. Interior colour theme is brown and grey with fabric upholstery. Everything else is familiar territory if you have been inside the Figo.
Mechanical changes include almost 15mm extra ground clearance, reworked suspension for the added weight & a different steering setup.
So, should you buy it? Well, if you disliked the Figo, the Freestyle has some extra flair for you. More show than go though. But if you want a hatchback which poses like an SUV, we suggest that you consider the Hyundai i20 Active or the Honda WR-V. They just feel far more premium, even though that would come at a cost.