The Ford Figo is one of the most popular hatchbacks on our road, rivalling the best-selling Volkswagen Polo Vivo and the other popular models such as the Renault Sandero and Suzuki Baleno. But Ford was lacking in one segment of the market and that is the crossover segment. Sure, it has the Ford Ecosport, but it needed something to rival the likes of the Volkswagen Polo Vivo Maxx, the Renault Sandero Stepway, the Suzuki Ignis and recently launched Honda WRV. Enter the Ford Figo Freestyle.
Inspired by SUV’s, the design of the Figo Freestyle follows that of its rivals and so boasts , a ground clearance of 190mm which is 16mm higher than the standard Figo. It also sports unique 15-inch alloy wheels framed by black wheelarch mouldings. It stands out with “freestyle” badging on the rear and special decals on the lower sections of the doors. Roof rails are fitted as standard which will appeal to those who might lead a more active lifestyle. You know the kind, the ones who carry bikes or paddle boards around.
The Figo Freestyle is offered in two trim levels, namely the Trend and the range-topping Titanium. Where the Trend comes standard with Bluetooth, USB and Aux connectivity, the Titanium boasts 6.5-inch colour display for the SYNC3 syste, which has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also adds a reverse camera, a multi-function steering wheel, keyless push-start, automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers.The boot holds 256-litres and includes a rubber mat, like the rubber floor mats, which makes cleaning that much easier.
When it comes to safety features, the Trend comes with two airbags and ABS, whereas the Titanium comes with six airbags . Unfortunately, it does not have electronic stability control. But it does come with a Ford MyKey that allows owners to programme a key for younger drivers that can inhibit incoming phone calls, restrict top speed, reduce audio system maximum volume and disable the audio system altogether if occupants are not using safety belts.
The engine is the familiar 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 91 kW and 150 Nm. It is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, which is smooth shifting and matched perfectly to this engine. Some might miss a turbo, but that’s not to say this engine isn’t punchy enough. Fuel consumption is claimed at 5.5l/100 km and it should be easy enough to achieve close to this figure.
It’s the ride height that is a highlight, it makes for a fuss-free drive where you know you can hop up on to a pavement or hit a bit of gravel with no issues. That’s what gives this Freestyle the edge.
It is priced just above the standard Figo, but if it is a little extra you want, you could also look at the entry-level Ford Ecosport which is about R30 000 more than the Freestyle pricing.
Freestyle 1.5 Trend: R241 100
Freestyle 1.5 Titanium: R263 200