Yes! We have already driven the Ford Freestyle and have compared it with the Maruti Suzuki Ignis as well. Then why another review, you would ask? Well, this story sums up about how the Ford Freestyle with the 1.5-litre diesel engine fares. The prices for the Freestyle diesel start from Rs. 6.09 lakh for the base Ambiente variant and goes up to Rs. 7.89 lakh for the top-of-the line Titanium+ variant. We got our hands on the Freestyle Titanium+ diesel and took it out for a quick spin to see how it does on city roads and briefly on the highway as well. Here is our report!
Looks and features
The looks and design are pretty much the same as the petrol Freestyle. We quite like the chocolate-esque colour on our test car. Ford calls it Canyon Ridge. The interior was done in tan brown colour, similar to the Freestyle petrol and while it might not look sporty, it does give the occupants a sense of premium-ness. Also, the touch interface on the 6.5-inch SNYC 3 infotainment system is quite smooth and surely one of the best infotainment systems on any car within Rs. 10 lakh. We like the simplistic design of the dashboard which has less buttons and almost all the functionalities that a car in this price bracket could have. Oh! And a quick word about the air conditioner as well. Even when parked in the sweltering North Indian heat for close to an hour, the AC cooled the cabin within minutes and this deserves a mention.
Also Read: Ford Freestyle 1.2 Petrol Review
The 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine on the Freestyle diesel makes 99 bhp at 3,750 rpm and generates a maximum torque of 215 Nm at 3,000 rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Ford has always maintained that the Freestyle is a CUV or a compact utility vehicle. This means that it gets a raised ride height, translating into a ground clearance of 190 mm, which is good enough to tackle your regular potholes and bumps. Oh! And Ford claims that the Freestyle will go 24.4 kilometres on a litre of diesel.
Also Read: Ford Freestyle Variants Explained In Detail
We like the torquey nature of the 1.5-litre diesel engine. The engine pulls cleanly from 2,000 rpm and builds up speed rather quickly for a hatchback, erm.... for a CUV. You can do with minimum gearshifts when driving in the city. The clutch doesn't feel too heavy either. On the highway, the engine allows you to cruise at triple digit speeds comfortably and there is no sense of strain either. It is a fun car to drive, the Freestyle. Although, the diesel clatter does seep in to the cabin. The engine is smooth but it is also a wee bit loud.
Ride & handling
We always liked how the Figo handled and the Freestyle is no different. The car doesn't lose its rhythm when thrown into a corner with the accelerator mashed a little more than necessary. It will hold the line and keep going. This also speaks highly about the chassis and the grip from the tyres generated. Weaving in and out of traffic is done easily enough. The feedback from the brakes is good and they do a good job of scrubbing off speed in time. Coming to the ride quality, we feel that the suspension is tuned well for comfort. This does result into a bit of a body-roll, but on broken roads the occupants of the car will not be cursing about bone-jarring rides.
Ford hasn't skimmed on the safety features on the Freestyle. Dual airbags and ABS are standard across variants. Our top-spec test car had 6 airbags and along with electronic stability control, active rollover protection and switchable traction control as well which is a segment first.
We believe that the 'Cross hatchback' segment is here to stay, although it is not the most popular segment in India. But people who are looking to buy a hatchback in India would like their cars to look a little brawnier. And the Ford Freestyle is all 'form with function'. It can tackle a little more than bad roads, has good ground clearance, is loaded with features and has more muscle than your average hatch. All of that at Rs. 7.89 lakh (ex-showroom) does make for a value for money purchase.