The SUV segment in India has been in the spotlight for the past few years and this trend will only increase as time goes by. In fact, it is a global trend and one that is here to stay. This is one reason why cars like the Kwid (which remotely qualify as a small SUV) have made it big in the country. The looks and stance matter. But not all of such cars have had success, case in point, the Mahindra KUV100, which had a great start but couldn't really sustain the demand or the line of crossovers that entered the market, the VW Cross Polo, Toyota Etios Cross and the Hyundai i20 Active. While the i20 Active was the pick of the lot, it couldn't really keep up to the rising demand of compact and subcompact SUVs in the market.
Maruti Suzuki tried its hand at creating a niche segment by offering something unique with the Ignis. It wasn't exactly an SUV but the tall boy stance actually helped in building that image. Apart from that, it clearly stood a chance to take on the hatchbacks in the segment and to be fair, it did its share of damage. However, now Ford has stepped up to the plate and is all set to launch an all new product in the crossover segment and it's pricing will see it compete with the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Ignis. We take a look at how both these cars compare on paper in terms of looks, features, safety equipment.
In terms of looks, the Ignis really stands out because of its quirky look. It comes with LED projector headlamps integrated into the grille with U-shaped LED daytime running lights. However, it must be noted that the projector lights and the DRLs are available only on the top-of-the-line Alpha trim. The Freestyle looks similar to the Figo in design but there are a few changes that it gets like a black honeycomb grille and metallic roof rails as also skid plates up front and at the rear making it a bit more butch and well, SUV like.
When it comes to dimensions, the Freestyle is longer and wider than the Maruti Suzuki Ignis. But in terms of height, it's the tall boy Ignis which wins the battle as its 1595mm high when compared to 1570 mm of the Freestyle. The Freestyle boasts of longer space between the wheels as that stands at 2490 mm compared to 2435 on the Ignis. It's higher off the ground too as ground clearance of the Freestyle is 190 mm. The Ignis comes with slightly more (3mm to be exact) boot space than the Freestyle but that space really doesn't translate into an additional bag space for sure.
When it comes to engines, both the Freestyle and the Ignis are available in petrol and diesel powertrain but the Freestyle has the upper hand as it's more powerful than the Ignis. The Ford Freestyle's 1.2-litre petrol motor develops 95 bhp while the Ignis' 1.2-litre petrol makes 82 bhp. The diesel engine on the Freestyle is the tried and tested 1.5-litre motor which punches out 99 bhp and the one on the Ignis is a 1.3-litre engine punching out 74 bhp. Torque figures of the Freestyle are more than that of the Ignis. While the Freestyle is available with just the 5-speed manual transmission on the both powertrains, Maruti Suzuki makes available a 5-speed manual as also an AMT on both engine options of the Ignis.
Where the Ignis steals the show is the fuel efficiency figures. The Ignis petrol returns 20.89kmpl while the diesel provides 26.80kmpl. The Ford Freestyle, however, is lower but not by a lot. While the petrol returns 19kmpl and diesel returns 24.4kmpl.
For safety, Maruti Suzuki Ignis gets Suzuki TECT body, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, dual front airbags, and seatbelt pre-tensioners as standard equipment. The Ford Freestyle comes with ABS, Dual airbags and reverse parking sensors as part of standard equipment. However, there are six airbags on offer on the Titanium + variant. Additionally, the Freestyle also comes with Active Rollover Prevention (ARP) and Traction Control in the Titanium and Titanium+ variants.
It will all come down to the price of the car and yes Maruti Suzuki has an edge here as prices for the Ignis start from ₹ 4.6 lakh going all the way upto ₹ 8.12 lakh for the diesel automatic. Ford will certainly have a challenge here but we expect prices to start at ₹ 5 lakh and go all the way up to ₹ 7.5 lakh. Ford will be launching the Freestyle in the third week of April and we'll know more then