This full cream Ford Figo Freestyle fully justifies its surprisingly frugal premium
We were already well enough impressed when we tested the bargain basement Ford Figo a few months back. But there were a few reservations in the office. This flagship Titanium however stopped all the chatter for a hell of a lot less premium than you’d expect.
The Ford Motor Company’s entry level SUV, Figo Freestyle is now what they call a sub-B segment compact utility vehicle. Another example of what we now like to call a FUV — for Family Utility, not what you may otherwise think! Basically a Figo hatchback on stilts, Freestyle has 16 mm more ground clearance, grey double-spoke 15-inch alloys, bold black arches, integrated skid plates and roof rails ready for action kit.
THIS ONE HAS THE KITCHEN SINK
Stepping into the two-tone cabin’s commanding driving position, I was glad to find a proper infotainment system and we loved its loads of interior storage compartments. It certainly is practical and this full cream Titanium version that adds a considerable amount of spec and convenience for not a hell of a lot of cash over the baseline car we had last time.
This one has the full floating 6.5-inch colour display with seamless voice command SYNC®3 Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring and Ford’s Bluetooth, USB and Aux-rich Device Dock along with a neat smartphone holder. Titanium also adds convenient keyless push-to-start, automatic climate control and headlamp activation and rain-sensing windscreen wipers and reverse parking sensors and reverse camera and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Not bad, hey?
A soft-touch gearknob complements the Titanium model’s sporty steering wheel with remote audio controls, while practical touches include door scuff plates and durable all-weather floor mats.
LOVELY ATMO FIFTEEN-HUNDRED TRIPLE
Freestyle’s lively and elastic naturally aspirated 91 kW 150 Nm 1.5-litre three-pot has sufficient power. It drives the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. Which has a positive action and clutch feel is good, too. And it outdid its maker’s claims on performance claims to deliver impressive numbers on our strip. Freestyle also impressed on the road. Its tight steering ratio makes for nippy and precise handling and a decent feel.
Ride quality is surprisingly good, especially over dreaded speed humps. And potholes. That does have a compromise when it comes to cruising the open road, however — it’s a bit too responsive to steering input. Engine noise is enticing, although that triple thrum can get your goat on the open road. Fuel economy is outstanding. We managed 4.5 l/100km at best. On average it should do between 5.5 and 7 per hundred.
Safety and security includes driver and passenger airbags, ABS brakes and all the proper belts and whistles. Talking belts, the seatbelt hinge on B pillar sticks out and I struck my head on it a few times.
DEARER TITANIUM A BIGGER BARGAIN
At R268K the Ford Freestyle Titanium fully quantifies the 22 grand premium as it includes 21st-century essentials like a full infotainment system, a reverse camera and so much more. And like that’ economy model, it’s just as pleasant a car to drive and live with. And with that trusty blue gong on its nose, ita a truly solid buy. — Giordano Lupini
Images: Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Ford Figo Freestyle 1.5 Titanium Engine: 91 kW 150 Nm 1.5-litre petrol I3 Drive: 5-speed manual FWD TESTED: 0-60km/h: 3.89 sec 0-100km/h: 8.99 sec 0-160km/h: 25.77 sec 400m: 16.4 sec @ 137 km/h 80-120km/h: 6.80 sec 120-160km/h: 12.96 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 175 km/h Fuel: 5.5 l/100km CO2: 131 g/km Warranty/Service: 4y 120K/4y 60K km LIST PRICE: R268K RATED: 8