Ford’s new Freestyle is the cross-hatch version of the Figo hatchback but the changes aren’t limited to mere cosmetics. In fact, the car’s suspension has been tweaked, the petrol engine is all-new, there’s a new gearbox to speak of and it gets some new features like a touchscreen which has almost become a norm in a car of its segment now. What strengthens its case further is that it has been introduced at a very attractive price, starting at Rs 5.09 lakh for the base Ambiente variant (petrol) and going up to Rs 7.89 lakh for the top Titanium+ variant (diesel) (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi).
Should you buy petrol or diesel?
The new 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine makes 96hp and is a huge step up over the Figo’s 1.2-litre four-cylinder unit. This new engine feels a lot easier to drive, has crisper power delivery and while the acceleration isn’t a mad rush, for most driving scenarios, it won’t disappoint. Even the new gearbox is smooth and light to use.
Coming to the 100hp 1.5-litre diesel, it’s extremely impressive and performs effortlessly. Since it will also be more efficient, the running costs will be lower. However, it is priced roughly a lakh higher than the petrol, so unless your running isn’t too high (say over 1,500km monthly) and is restricted to city usage, it is the petrol that we’d recommend. Also, the petrol’s clutch is much lighter than the diesel, making it easier to drive in stop-and-go conditions.
Should you buy the base variant?
It’s quite well specced and gets ABS, EBD, dual airbags, front power windows and tilt-steering adjustment. But what’s even more of a draw is the fact that the Freestyle’s base Ambiente variant is priced much lower than the Ambiente variant of the Figo hatchback and gives you more in terms of equipment like remote-key entry, rear parking sensors, and wide 185/60 R15 tyres (with steel wheels). So you’re really getting more kit for less money, which makes this variant an attractive buy for those on a budget.
In which variant do you get a touchscreen?
If a factory-fitted touchscreen is your priority then you’ll need to opt for the Trend variant which is priced Rs 90,000 higher. This variant gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen that comes equipped with Bluetooth, four speakers, a reversing camera, rear power windows, steering-mounted controls, front fog lamps and tachometer.
Is the Trend variant worth buying?
No, the variant that you should buy is the Titanium. It is just Rs 40,000 more than the Trend, but gets you a lot more in terms of equipment. For starters you get 15-inch alloy wheels and some cosmetic trims inside that looks more premium. It also gets safety kit like ESP, hill-launch assist and traction control, which is a reason in itself to opt for this variant. Finally, there’s equipment which you can’t retro-fit in the aftermarket like folding mirrors, rear wiper/washer, automatic climate control, driver seat height adjustment and a start/stop button.
Which is the fully loaded variant?
The Titanium+ is for you if you want all the bells and whistles and is Rs 55,000 more than the Titanium variant. In addition to all the features listed above, you also get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, auto headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming interior mirror and side and curtain airbags.
The Freestyle does miss out on crucial kit like adjustable rear neck restraints and other equipment like LED headlights, DRLs and an AMT/automatic option, which its direct price and body-type competitor, the Maruti Ignis, is also available with. However, the Freestyle makes a strong case for itself when it comes to safety and a more expensive car feel.