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The SUV segment in India is growing at a very high pace and hence manufacturers are offering multiple options and widening their product portfolio. The road condition in India requires vehicles to have a high ground clearance and driver to sit at a commanding driving position. Keeping these two things in mind, Ford has come up with a cross-hatch called the Freestyle. So, let us see how this Ford vehicle fares in our test.
Exteriors – The Ford Freestyle design wise is a restyled and rugged version of the Figo. The car gets Ford’s signature 3D mesh grille. The front bumper and fog lamp housing have been restyled and the headlights are smoked out. The car is all-around surrounded by black body cladding. The faux skid plate on the front and rear bumpers, roof rails, large wheel arches along with cladding complete the exterior of the crossover.
Interiors – The dashboard layout of Freestyle is very much identical to the Figo, but this one gets a dual-tone black and brown interior. A 6.5-inch touchscreen display sits in the centre console. The SYNC3 infotainment system on this vehicle supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity but it misses out on navigation. There is a 3-spoke steering with audio control switches mounted over it.
It has a start/stop button, electronically adjustable and retractable ORVMs, automatic climate control and an electro-mechanic tailgate opener. The front seats are comfortable and come equipped with a height adjustment feature, while the rear seats are comfortable too with a good amount of knee room and under-thigh support. But taller passengers in the rear seat will feel the need for more headroom. The rear seat is flat and can be dropped down. The boot capacity of the crossover is 257-litres.
Performance – The Freestyle is available in two engine options – a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine that produces 96 PS of power and 120 Nm of torque and a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine that churns out 100 PS of power and 215 Nm of torque. Both these engines are the most powerful engines in their segment. The power delivery is linear and these engines feel lively when driven in the mid or high range of RPMs.
The car is available only with a 5-speed manual gearbox. This gearbox is smoogh and has helped the engine improve its fuel economy. The gearbox is very responsive and the clutch is light. The 3-cylinder petrol unit judders under urgent gearshifts, but other than that it’s barely noticeable.
Driving Dynamics – The Ford Freestyle rides and handles very well on our roads. The suspension has been optimized accordingly and with large 15-inch wheels, the ride quality of the car is good. But when driven over a bad patch of road the car feels a bit bouncy. The steering offers good feel and feedback. It weighs up well at high speeds and the car is very much composed around the corners. NVH levels are excellent and brakes offer good stopping power.
Safety and After Sales Service – The car comes equipped with dual front airbags and the top-spec variant gets 6 airbags. It also gets Electronic Stability Control, Active Rollover Prevention, ABS, EBD, Hill Start Assist, Emergency Assist and Ford My Key. The service interval of the vehicle is of 10,000 kms.
Verdict – The Ford Freestyle is a very practical and fun to drive vehicle. Both the petrol and diesel engines in the car are the most powerful units in the segment. The crossover sits perfectly between the Figo and EcoSport in the company’s line-up.
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