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Ford Freestyle
    Change Model
Customer Rating
: N/A
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 2 Year / 10,000 (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
    Change City
5.09 Lakhs-7.89 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Stylish Demeanour
  • Enhanced Equipment 
  • Smart Interiors
  • Improved Ride Quality 

Weak Areas

  • Average Quality
  • Toned-Down Handling 
  • Mediocre Rear Space 
  • Average Low-End Torque
Ford Freestyle
 
 

Ford Freestyle Expert Review

Based on the Figo, the newly launched Freestyle by Ford is a cosmetically superior hatchback that also gives a better driving experience than its predecessor.


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

Ever since its launch, Ford’s Figo could not do very well in the market and had strong competition from Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20. Taking another chance in the popular hatchback segment, the company launched a new product – Ford Freestyle – few days before the 2018 Auto Expo. 

This comes with both diesel and petrol engines:

       Ford Freestyle Expert Review

The 1.2 litre, 3 cylinder petrol engine generates 95 bhp at 6500 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 4250 rpm 

The diesel engine is the same that propels the Aspire, EcoSport and Figo. This 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder unit produces 99 bhp at 3750 rpm and 215 Nm torque at 1750-2000 rpm. 

Both the engines are coupled with a new 5 speed manual transmission. 

This car is being manufactured in Ford’s Sanand plant of Gujarat and will also be exported to South Africa from there. 

Ecardlr tested the Freestyle and here’s our review of its design, features and performance. 


The External Impression 

Although the Freestyle has quite a few things in common with the Figo, there are some prominent new features too. The bumper is new and the air dam has been restyled.

            Ford freestyle Roof Rails

The face now has more of black and less of chrome. The swept back headlamps also look better than in Figo because of the black inserts. The round fog lamps are placed down on the bumper and their housings extend upwards creating a C shape. On the honeycomb grille there is a 3D mesh design and the air dam gets horizontal slats.

Freestyle’s bonnet is quite like the Figo’s but the Ford logo has been placed down on the grille and not over it. The spray nozzles spout a good amount of water to clean the windscreen.

This Ford hatchback gets 15 inch wheels with 185/60 profile tyres. With black cladding around, the wheel well gap has been well concealed. Freestyle’s outside rear view mirrors (ORVMs) have a glossy black finish. In the top end variant they can be electrically adjusted and folded.

         Ford Freestyle Rain Sensing Wipers

Length of this car measures 3954 mm and it has a wheelbase of 2490 mm. The kerb weight of petrol and diesel models has increased by 49 and 54 kilogram when compared to the Figo. The wheel arch cladding is running through the sides and the doors also have decals rising in height as they extend towards the rear. The latter looks like an afterthought.

When you look at the rear end from sides, you will notice a prominent protrusion of the bumper.  And moving behind the new look of the bumper is also evident. There are black coloured faux vents on its sides. However unlike the front the black plastic does not extend upwards.

        Ford Freestyle Ground Clearance and Sporty Suspension

The tail lamp design is same as Figo’s with minor tweaks to internal elements. Washer and single blade wiper are provided for the rear windscreen.  The reversing camera is well integrated inside the top of number plate housing. 

You will see the Freestyle badge on the left and the trim mention on the right of the car. There are four variants for this hatchback. 


In the Cabin 

Ford Freestyle gets a brown and black combination for its cabin. This dark brown colour does not look classy but it will be easier to maintain than the commonly preferred beige.  The fit and finish is acceptable at the price level in which the car is offered.

         Push Button Start.

The steering is a size bigger than in the Figo and it also has a new design. The left spoke has audio and telephony controls. The voice command button can activate Siri on iPhones. There is nothing on the right side spoke.

As for the instrument console, it has nothing new except for the changed MID. Its display has improved and it provides more information than in the Figo model. The temperature gauge has also been added. The black hood on the instrument console prevents sunlight glare and makes it easier to read the dials and MID.

          Automatic Climate Control

Engine ignition button is given on the left of the steering. The area under the dashboard around the steering wheel has been left exposed and looks somewhat untidy.

Door pads have a combination of hard black plastics, a brown inlay and the darker part where the buttons for window are placed. The pockets below are deep enough to take a bottle and knick knacks. The door sill plates for front also have the name ‘FREESTYLE’ is inscribed on them. 

The front fabric seats have a new pattern. Lumbar support could have been better. 

The infotainment system’s touchscreen is 6.5 inches. It supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The interface is user-friendly and a lot of clutter that was seen on the screen of Figo has been done away with. 

Those who prefer old school systems will be happy to find some buttons below the screen. These help to adjust the volume, tune into radio, skip between tracks and one to turn off the screen display.  Using these buttons is indeed more convenient and they do not require the driver to take eyes off road. 

For safety the Ford Freestyle gets 6 airbags and that’s a rare offering in this segment. The air conditioner is effective but if you use it at level 5 it can get pretty noisy. 

The glovebox is very thick and low on storage space. It does have an illumination lamp. 

          Ford Freestyle Sienna Themed Style

At the rear the fabric seats have the same design as the front and the backrest is comfortable. Even a tall person will have adequate kneeroom if the front seat is pushed all the way back – the scooped pattern of seat backs helps here.  

What’s not comfortable though is the humped headrest. They strike the nape of neck if someone sits in upright position and to avoid this, the seat occupant must crouch down. 

The rear door pads have same design as front but the doors do not get pockets. 

The bench seat in Freestyle does not have 60:40 split. The boot behind has volume of 257 litres. It is easy to detach the parcel tray. 


Engine, Transmission and Performance 

1.2 Litre Petrol MT

The 1.2 litre petrol engine in Freestyle is a smaller version of the 1.5 litre Dragon series unit that Ford had recently put in the EcoSport.  The downsized engine is also entitled to tax benefits. 

Then there are marketing reasons – by having a smaller engine for the smaller car, the EcoSport’s 1.5 litre fits into a segment above.  The 1194 cc, 3 cylinder petrol motor of Ford Freestyle churns out 95 bhp at 6500 rpm and has a torque of 120 Nm at 4250 rpm.  The engine is coupled with 5 speed manual transmission and there is no automatic variant for now. 

Crank up the engine by pressing the clutch pedal and pressing the engine start button. At idling there are some vibrations on the steering wheel and gear lever but well controlled. 

The car moves off easily from standstill and the driveability is good at low end of rpms – you can easily potter around the city. The power delivery is linear and Freestyle responds readily to throttle inputs. Actually it performs better in low end than in mid range and you will not need to change gears frequently. It can go over speed breakers in 2nd gear but if the speed becomes very low you may need to press the clutch a bit and then give accelerator input to avoid the stalling of engine. 

The mid range is also fine and this hatch can be revved up to 6800 rpm. You will like to rev the engine on open highways.  But when you press it too hard the noise makes it clear that there is a three cylinder unit under the hood. 

Speed of 100 km/h comes at around 2950 rpm in 5th gear. The gearing is short as compared to Freestyle’s competitors.  This also implies that the engine is noisier than the competitors at high speeds. 

It is easy to shift in the gears but there is some degree of notchiness. These are medium length throws. The clutch pedal is not as light as in Grand i10 and its weight may feel bothersome in continued bumper to bumper traffic. 

On the whole the NVH levels feel fine but it is just because of the smaller size of the engine that it becomes audible after 3000 rpm. And it does get loud after 5000 rpm. It is better to drive this family car in a sedate manner. The roar of motor will not be appreciated by passengers. 

The fuel economy by ARAI has been certified at 19 km / litre. Being a smaller engine it will be an efficient engine in the real world conditions. 


Ride and Handling 

For the raised ground clearance of Freestyle, Ford had to tune the suspension too. Ride quality does not draw any complaints but there is an underlying firmness on bumps at low speeds. 

The ride quality improves with speed and then the suspension can absorb bad patches too. Ford Freestyle is a comfortable car to be in for highway driving. Only the larger bumps will bother the cabin occupants. On bad tarmac the rear seat passengers feel the bounciness but the ride factor is better than in the older Figo. 

This is also a fun to drive car for long drives. The handling is nice and the front of the car turns in readily as per steering inputs.  You can confidently throw it around corners and will enjoy driving on winding roads.  The understeer if any comes in slowly and predictably.  Body roll is controlled. 

Grip levels of tyres are satisfactory. Ford provides quite a few electronic safety aids including active rollover prevention (ARP) and ESP. Freestyle also gets Hill Launch Assist that helps in driving on inclines. 

The electric power steering feels adequately light at parking speeds and it does weigh up with increase in speed. The return-to-centre action of this steering wheel is also quick.

To differentiate it from the Figo, Ford raised the ground clearance by 16 mm to 190 mm.  The car does not scrape its underbelly on most speed breakers. 

Ford Freestyle has the typical front disc + rear drum braking setup. And the brakes work as they are expected. All variants of Freestyle get ABS + EBD as standard. 


Verdict

We appreciate that Ford has priced the Freestyle quite reasonably. It is available in the range of Rs 5.09 lakh and 7.89 lakh (ex showroom Delhi). This hatchback is based on a model that could not impress the buyers in its first stint. However, there are improvements now. It is cosmetically better and is more fun to drive. There are more features in the cabin and safety elements like ABS+EBD are offered on all trims. The top end Titanium + also gets 6 airbags, ESP, ARP and HSA. 

With all these changes and an efficient engine, the Ford Freestyle will be a good buy. 

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