Ford Freestyle Long Term Review
With segment leading power numbers and a feature-loaded interior, the Freestyle is the most fun to drive crossover
It felt like a crazy cosmic calculation when my second long term car was a Ford as well. It was like clockwork, handing in the keys of the Ford Aspire sedan and being given the ones for its spirited younger sibling. If these two cars were people, the Aspire would be an elder sister, poised, responsible and mature while the Freestyle, well it has ‘free’ in its name doesn’t it, would be more of a child high on sugar.
The new Ford Freestyle is more-importantly a rugged, cross-hatchback version of the Figo. However, it gets wider tracks, a raised ride height and Ford’s 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The headline figure is its 96 PS, making it the most powerful of the naturally aspirated 1.2 petrols on sale in India. Yes, the engine does feel just a slight lethargic at the beginning, but it takes less than 3 seconds to come to life. It has been a riot sprinting this engine at open stretches and witnessing the shocked and somewhat annoyed expressions of people on the road. Why? First, the engine is loud, even the petrol which I drive around, but I can’t complain even a little. Honestly, the grunt is more like a soundtrack, which petrolheads shouldn’t mind at all. Second, the Freestyle is sadly an unpopular car and quite a few people living under a rock have asked me what car is that. I mean, really. Everyone just knows the Baleno.
One has to agree that the Freestyle looks more substantial than the standard Figo. It gets scuff plates at the front and rear, cladding that wraps around the wheel arches and the lower portion of the body, and, impressively, the roof rails aren’t just for show; they can support up to 50kg of load. The wheels are upsized to 15-inch alloys and the split 4-spoke design looks fresh. Complemented with a ride height of 190mm, the Freestyle ain’t afraid. Boot space is identical to the Figo so you can fit plenty into the sizable 257-litre bay. It’s just that the loading lip is a bit high.