A closer look at the new Ford Figo Freestyle
Johannesburg - The Ford Figo has been a hit in South Africa ever since the first generation of the vehicle landed in the country more than a decade ago. Earning a reputation for value and reliability, it hit a sweet spot for first-time car buyers and for the past 10 years has battled against the Volkswagen Polo Vivo and Renault Sandero for sales superiority.
In this compact car space, however, there’s a growing demand for crossover vehicles. VW and Renault launched their MAXX and Stepway models to cater to customers who needed a bit of added ride height.
The Figo couldn’t compete with these raised-ride-height vehicles, but that has changed. This week Ford Southern Africa launched the new Ford Figo Freestyle in South Africa.
What is a Figo Freestyle?
The Freestyle is not an all-wheel drive SUV. A key element of its design, however, is the raised ride height of 190mm, which is 16mm higher than the standard Figo. According to Ford’s spokesmen, this enhances the vehicle’s all-round capabilities for outdoor lovers.
To give it that adventurous-spirit look, it gains integrated front and rear skid plates, which they say provides an enhanced level of underbody protection on rough road surfaces. Roof rails are standard too, allowing the easy installation of a roof rack to carry bicycles, canoes or other equipment.
Two versions to choose from
In line with the robust redesign of the exterior, it’s the inside of the new Ford Figo Freestyle that makes the most striking impact. You get a unique seat and upholstery trim in both the Trend and Titanium models, while Ford says a soft-touch gear shift knob complements the Titanium model’s sporty steering wheel with remote audio controls. Practical touches on both derivatives also include door scuff plates and durable all-weather floor mats. Both models have reverse parking sensors.
The Trend is equipped with Ford’s nifty Device Dock which includes Bluetooth, USB and AUX connectivity and a handy built-in dashboard-mount to hold a smartphone.
The Titanium model gains a reverse camera linked to a 16cm colour display for the SYNC3 system. SYNC3 offers Bluetooth and voice activation that allows phone and audio functions to be controlled through voice commands. For example, you can use your smartphone navigation functions and a variety of other apps in conjunction with SYNC3 when paired through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Additional features unique to the Titanium derivative include keyless ignition, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlamp activation and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
Good engine and safety tech
Like the rest of the Figo line-up, the Freestyle is powered by Ford’s punchy, naturally aspirated three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine.
It provides surprisingly sporty performance, as we’ve experienced in the standard models, producing 91kW of power at 6300rpm and 150Nm of torque at 4250rpm. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission.
The standard safety and security package on the Figo Freestyle Trend model is good too, incorporating driver and passenger airbags, ABS brakes, remote central locking with drive-away locking function, electric windows, as well as a perimeter antitheft alarm and engine immobiliser.
The Titanium version is also equipped with side and curtain airbags, along with Ford’s MyKey system 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 seatbelts – handy features for parents.
Priced to sell
To ensure that the Figo Freestyle sells, Ford has launched the vehicle at a competitive price.
Coming in at R226 700 for the Trend model and R247 500 for the Titanium model, you’re buying a good value package for less than R250 000.
All models come with Ford Protect, which includes a 4-year/60 000km service plan with 3 years’ unlimited distance roadside assistance and a 4-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty. This is complemented by a 5-year unlimited distance corrosion warranty, while service intervals are pegged at every 15 000km.
The Freestyle comes in six excitingly named colours: Canyon Ridge, Diamond White, Smoke Grey, Moondust Silver, Ruby Red and White Gold.
If you plan to take a Ford Figo Freestyle out for a test drive this weekend, keep in mind that a range-topping Volkswagen Polo Vivo MAXX will cost you R257 000 (R10K more than the Freestyle) and the Renault Sandero Stepway Plus about R10K less at R236 900.
Visit Drive360 to buy a Ford Figo today