The sub-B-Segment has provided a couple of interesting vehicles, particularly the Ford Figo Freestyle. This vehicle aims to cater to drivers who seek to take the road less travelled in their small, yet gutsy hatches. The Freestyle will not have it easy against the competition, taking on the likes of the Renault Sandero Stepway will always be a tough prospect especially when you consider how popular the Stepway is. The Figo Freestyle brings a well-tested formula and executes it very well.
It is evident that several manufacturers are swaying towards a crossover vehicle for budget-conscious markets and we somewhat agree with this idea. South African consumers will benefit from such segments, manufacturers often forget how families tend to trek on an annual basis to the homelands, and since our dear government is not the most efficient at maintaining our roads, you often hear many horror stories of accidents that could have been avoided. The below paragraphs will grant you a snippet of my experience in Ford’s new little hero and how I think it is going to sway over a couple of prospective clients.
Aesthetics, entertainment and storage.
The interior is typical Ford, clean, trouble-free, and user-friendly motoring experience. It has all the basic amenities to fulfil the driver and passengers needs. What caught my attention was how the interior was deceptively spacious. From the outside, you would swear that the Freestyle is going to struggle to impress fellow passengers, but it does well enough to secure luggage and three passengers in comfort. The rear legroom is impressive, and the cavernous footwells provide ample space for passengers.
Audio is controlled via an intuitive Bluetooth enabled system and pairing it to my mobile device was effortless, this is a convenience that is hard to find these days. The audio system will have you experiencing the pleasures of being bathed in the music of your choice by the high output four-speaker system.
Ford has equipped the Freestyle with one USB port that enables you to keep your device charged and ready to go. The control unit was great at providing crystal clear AM and FM frequencies, wireless telephony and voice control.
Storage is aplenty in the Freestyle, the door stowage bins are capable of holding a decent sized bottle and other amenities. Boot space is rated at 256 litres with the added benefit of a rubberised floor mat, this is a feature that impressed and provided quick clean-ups when necessary.
Performance, economy and drive.
Power is sought from a characterful 1.5L naturally aspirated motor that produces 91kW and 150Nm of torque. This is paired with a slightly tall 5-speed manual that sends the power to the front wheels. To give you an idea, the Freestyle can etch you over the national speed limit in 3rd gear and bear in mind that you still have two ratios to go. Ford claims a top speed of 175 km/h, however, I do have a strong feeling that the little Figo will surpass that figure. The engine excites, it outperforms the competition, provides a similar economic figure, if not, better.
The fuel economy is splendid, during my test tenure I managed to achieve a figure of 6.5 L/100km, these numbers could easily have been improved, unfortunately, my spirited tests affected my overall fuel consumption, however, you can expect to achieve at least 450 km’s out of a tank.
The Freestyle provides a surprisingly comfortable experience, it manages to absorb the imperfections of our pothole infested roads and continues to prance around any obstacles with ease. My only challenge was its ability to feel a little top-heavy, this can be attributed to the comfort you experience and that is something a plethora of consumers can live with.
My overall experience of the Freestyle is memorable, the daily commutes to the office and back were filled with seamless gear changes, ample music and the exciting prospect of experiencing an engine that wants to be revved and explored at any chance it’s given. It may seem as though the power and capacity are on the lower side of the food chain, however, Ford has managed to bring excitement out of the little 1.5L.
The Freestyle is a welcome addition to the Figo line-up, its butch appearance and raised ride height bode well to its overall experience. My only gripe is perhaps the interior, it’s not the most terrestrial place you’ll ever find, however, I feel that Ford could add a couple more interesting features to it, perhaps if I had the higher specified, Titanium, iteration, I’d have more things to rave about. The all-weather mats, I enjoyed those, and believe that all manufacturers could take a leaf out of Ford’s book.
Figo Freestyle 1.5 Trend Hatch 5MT
R 226 700
7.8 / 10
- Service plan covering four years/60 000km.
- Three-year unlimited distance roadside assistance.
- Four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty.
- This is complemented by a five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty.
- Service intervals are every 15 000km.