FORD FIGO FREESTYLE 1.5 TITANIUM – CITY AND DIRT ROAD COMPACT SUV?
October 1, 2021
At first glance, you would think it’s just a standard Ford Figo however when you really take a closer look at it you will notice a few exterior features that give it away that this is not an ordinary Figo. Yes! This is indeed a different type of Figo, it’s the Ford Figo Freestyle Titanium.
If you are a young, adventurous, active, free-spirited individual, and a first time buyer looking for a compact SUV that matches your personality but you don’t have the budget to purchase a regular SUV, then the Ford Figo Freestyle should definitely be on your list of affordable vehicles to test drive.
The increased ground clearance and credentials of a compact SUV make the Figo Freestyle a perfect budget-friendly vehicle that’s ideal for daily city driving during the week and escaping to the nature and dirt roads on weekends for some adventure.
Even with 190mm of ground clearance, a higher stance, 15-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, and chunky looks, the Freestyle is still much of a hatch crossover vehicle than SUV so don’t expect to go out and start tackling 4×4 trails with the Figo Freestyle.
Ford South Africa was generous enough to borrow us the Freestyle to test for a week recently so we packed our bags and embarked on a much-needed road trip to one of our favourite regions, The Garden Route. During this trip, we covered just over 1400km of combined city travel, long open roads, hills, mountain passes, and dirt roads.
This road trip gave us the opportunity to bond with the Ford Figo Freestyle Titanium and to put it up to the test on its capability, drivability, features, and fuel consumption.
The Ford Figo Freestyle 1.5 Titanium has a higher stance, sits slightly higher than the standard Ford Figo (16mm higher to be precise), and has a total of 190mm ground clearance.
This added ground clearance is not just for the appearance, we managed to traverse gravel roads with ease and the ground clearance came in handy when we drove to Belle Balance, a very secluded boutique lodge located inside Plettenberg Game Reserve.
You will also notice the dark grey 15-inch alloy wheels that come standard, functional silver roof rails, chunky black wheel-arches, black front grille, side black decals, skid plates to protect the Freestyle’s underside, and black c-shaped fog lights enclosures.
I must admit, all these items make the Freestyle look cool and funky no wonder Ford South Africa’s target market for this model are the young, adventurous, active, and free-spirited individuals.
When you open the door, you are welcomed by Ford’s 16.5cm SYNC infotainment system. The SYNC infotainment touchscreen offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity with voice activation, and audio streaming as well as a navigation system when your smartphone is connected.
Dashboard and door panels are made of a quality hard plastic with an added touch of brown covers next to the front interior door handles to add to its stylish and cool feel.
There is a pair of illuminated USB ports placed conveniently under the climate control, seats are covered in high-quality cloth upholstery, and there are plenty of storage compartments including cup holders on the centre console and doors.
Things I really appreciated are the interior black roof liner, black sun visors, black interior pillar panels, and the provision of rubber mats on the floor instead of the traditional carpets because this means the vehicle’s interior will be easy to clean. These rubber mats trap dirt, liquids, and mud, and are also easier to clean and maintain. There is also a rubber mat in the boot which will be very helpful when you have to transport, soiled, or wet items.
The Ford Figo Freestyle’s 256-litre boot space is fair for the vehicle’s size but may seem very small for someone who travels with a lot of bags. We loaded a medium travel bag, medium sports bag, and two backpacks comfortably. You do, however, have an option to fold the 60/40-split rear seat to create more space but that also comprises space on the back seat.
This is where Figo Freestyle’s roof rails come in handy because you could always free up the interior space by mounting a roof box when you travel. I also found the rear passenger area to be surprisingly spacious and I could comfortably sit on the rear seat behind the driver with the driver seat in my normal driving position.
As the flagship in the Ford Figo range, the 1.5 Freestyle Titanium comes fully loaded with some wonderful features. The Titanium specification features a keyless start and stop, multi-functional power steering wheel, electric side mirrors, automatic climate control, automatic on/off headlights, automatic rain sensor wipers, rear park distance control with a camera, and electric windows on both front and rear doors.
Safety features include 6 airbags, drive away locking, engine immobilizer, perimeter anti-theft alarm, remote central locking, and ABS brakes.
ENGINE, PERFORMANCE, AND FUEL ECONOMY
The Ford Figo Freestyle Titanium is powered by a 1.5-litre engine that produces 91kW and 150Nm of torque and sends the power to the front wheels through a 5-speed manual gearbox (unfortunately there is no automatic transmission option). We did not struggle to overtake other vehicles on the road and also driving uphill and through mountain passes was a breeze. Ford South Africa claims average fuel consumption of 5.7 – 6.5 L/100 km but during our road trip, we only managed to average 7 L/100km while maintaining an average speed of between 110km – 120km with the aircon switched off. A single full tank covered just over 600km.
The Ford Figo Freestyle currently comes in two colours you can choose from, Canyon Ridge (Featured) and Diamond White.
The Ford Figo Freestyle currently retails for R224 600.00 – R274 600. This model is sold with Ford’s 4-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, 3-year/unlimited km roadside assistance, and 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A 4-year/60 000km service plan is also included for additional peace of mind. Service intervals is 15000 km.
The only downside and something I found to be an inconvenience was the fact that there is no way to open the boot without pressing the key fob or a button next to the headlights switch. Other than that, I really enjoyed the surprisingly large cabin space and the driving position.
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