Ford Unveils Freestyle

American car giant Ford took the covers off the new Freestyle, its Figo-based crossover, making its global debut in India where it would go on sales from July. The ‘Made-in-India’ car will also be exported to European market. Ford is calling it a CUV or a compact utility vehicle, which is essentially a jazzier and beefed up variant of the new Figo hatchback.

Ford is clearly eying the fast-growing demand for SUV-like vehicles. Compa­ct SUVs alone, a segment that Ford pioneered with the EcoSport, have co­nsistently outpaced ove­rall automotive sales in India, growing more than three-fold between 2013 and 2016. In 2017 alone, compact SUV sales in In­dia grew 37 per cent co­mpared to 9 per cent in total passenger vehicle sales.

With the new Freestyle, expected to be priced between Rs 5.50 lakh to Rs 8.50 lakh, Ford enters a new segment in the country, dominated by rivals like Hyundai i20 Active, Toyota Etios Cross and Fiat Urban Cross. Undoubtedly, the new Ford Freestyle comes with additional body cladding, new features and an updated design too. The Ford Freestyle gets blacked out bumpers along with cladding all over to give it that SUVish look.

The LED-lighting is also intended to make it look more contemporary when compared to the other hatchbacks in the segment. The car is powered by the 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel engine making 100 bhp and the new 1.2-litre Dragon series petrol engine that makes 94 bhp, mated to an all-new 5-speed gearbox. “The global unveil of the Ford Freestyle strengthens Ford’s continued commitment to India to bring cars buyers want,” Anurag Mehrotra, president and managing director at Ford India, said.

Michael Gonsalves