Ford Freestyle launched in India

Ford launched the all-new Freestyle, a cross-hatch based on the Figo, in India yesterday.

With prices starting from INR 5.09 Lakhs and going up to INR 6.94 Lakhs for the petrol and INR 6.09 Lakhs and INR 7.89 Lakhs for the diesel variants, the Freestyle is priced remarkably well and offers excellent bang for your buck. Four trim levels are on offer - Ambiente, Trend, Titanium and the fully-loaded Titanium +. 

The Freestyle is offered with two engine options. While the 1.5-liter TDCi diesel is carried over from the existing Figo and EcoSport, the petrol mill is an all-new 1.2-liter TiVCT unit from the Dragon family that debuted under the hood of the facelifted EcoSport. This 3-cylinder unit produces 95 horsepower and 120 Nm of peak torque. The diesel continues with the same tune that's found in the other Ford models, generating 99 horsepower and a peak torque of 215 Nm. Both the engines are mated to a new 5-speed manual transmission with an automatic sadly missing from the list.

Ford may have given the car a new name but there is no mistaking its identity. Look at it and you will know this is a jacked-up Figo. The fascia is differentiated by a new grille that gets a classy black mesh in place of the flashy chrome slats in the Figo. The headlamp also gets black inserts in place of chrome reflectors while the bumper is redesigned with a slim air dam underlined by a fake skid plate finished in silver. The fog lamp bezels extend upwards to form a nice C-shaped design element. All the usual tricks employed by hatchbacks-turned-crossovers - like the plastic cladding over the wheel arches, roof rails, bigger wheels and increased ground clearance - find their way on to the car. A pair of slightly-revised taillight clusters and a dual-tone bumper with C-shaped design elements matching the front rounds out the changes in the rear. 

Interiors have been spruced up as well. The dated center console with a plethora of buttons is gone, replaced by a brilliant 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with SYNC 3.0 software that supports Voice Commands, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Like all new Fords, the screen sticks out from the top of the dashboard between the two center air vents. The steering wheel, the climate control buttons and the rest of the interiors are borrowed from the Figo twins with a twist. The top half of the dashboard and the center console is now painted in a shade of brown that's sure to split opinion. 

The Freestlye comes fully loaded with a feature list that includes Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), six airbags, Active Rollover Prevention, Hill Launch Assist (HLA), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Traction Control System (TCS), Emergency Assistance, Ford MyKey, keyless entry with push button start, automatic climate control, electrochromic rear view mirror, power-folding and adjustable mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, height-adjustable front seat belts and reverse parking sensors with rear view camera. Now, that's a list that could put some cars a segment above to shame!

In addition to being the most affordable car to offer the protection of six airbags, ESP, TCS and the likes, the new Freestyle continues Ford's emphasis on safety by offering ABS with EBD and dual airbags standard across the range.

To match its crossover credentials, the Freestyle gets a revised suspension setup that's stiffer and more suited for mild off-road sojourns.

With crossovers being the flavour of the industry right now, the Freestyle couldn't have launched at a better time. With good looks, an exhaustive feature list, a pair of competent engines and sorted dynamics in its arsenal, this could just be the success Ford is looking for!

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