The Freestyle is the latest hatchback derived crossover to enter the Asian car market. We do a paper comparison of the CUV with its rivals to see where it exactly fits in.
We have to agree that the Ford Freestyle is quite late to the compact crossover party but considering how pseudo-SUV-crazy Asia is, we also have to agree that the Freestyle is the latest among the bunch. Its rivals include the Honda WR-V, Hyundai i20 Active and the Fiat Urban Cross. We pit the Freestyle against its primary rivals the i20 Active and the WR-V to see how they stack up against each other.
Exteriors – While all the three contenders here look good in their own ways, it is the WR-V that appeals to us as the most stylish vehicle. The Honda is also the most spacious in the comparison here and also looks really different from the hatchback it’s based on, the Honda Jazz. Meanwhile, Ford and Hyundai haven’t done much to differentiate the Freestyle and the i20 Active from their hatchback cousins. All the three cars here get skid plates, body cladding and jazzy-looking alloy wheels (16-inchers in the WR-V and i20 Active, 15-inchers in the Freestyle) which give them an SUV appeal. Having said that, the Korean offers projector headlamps while the Jap contender gives you the choice of a sunroof. The Ford misses out on LED DRLs, which the other two get.
Interiors and Features – All the three cars here get contemporary-looking cabins but the one in the Hyundai Elite i20 looks the most premium. The WR-V’s cabin comes next in terms of ambiance while the Figo does feel a notch below in terms of cabin quality and space. Both the Hyundai and Honda get an all-black dashboard while the Ford gets a dual-tone black and brown dashboard. All the three vehicles here offer a touchscreen infotainment system but only the Freestyle and the i20 Active get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The WR-V’s infotainment unit gets MirrorLink though.
While the i20 Active gets the largest wheelbase, the WR-V is at an advantage over all the others due to its 363-litre boot space. The i20 Active and the Freestyle have boot space of 285-litres and 257-litres respectively. The WR-V is also the longest and the tallest car in this comparison. In terms of features, all the three players in this comparison here get driver’s seat height adjustment, steering mounted audio controls, electrically adjustable and folding ORVMs, push button start, automatic climate control and a rear-view camera.
Engines and Mileage – All the three crossovers here get a 1.2-litre petrol engine. While the Freestyle’s motor is a 3-cylinder unit, the WR-V and i20 Active get 4-cylinder powerplants. Having said that, it is the Freestyle that makes more power and torque and is also the most fuel-efficient among the trio. Coming to the diesel, the Hyundai i20 Active gets a 1.4-litre diesel motor while the Ford Freestyle and the Honda WR-V get a 1.5-litre oil-burner unit. While the Ford and Honda make an identical 100 PS, the Hyundai makes do with just 90 PS which is fine for the segment. However, the i20 Active has a slight advantage in terms of torque.
The 6-speed gearbox in the Honda WR-V and the Hyundai i20 Active makes the duo more highway-friendly than the 5-speed unit in the Ford Freestyle. In terms of mileage, it is the petrol-powered Freestyle and the diesel-powered Honda WR-V that are the most fuel-efficient.
Safety and Service – Equipped with a total of six airbags, ABS with EBD and electronic stability program, the American and the Korean beat their Japanese rival hands down in the safety aspect. The WR-V gets only two airbags. With a larger dealership network across the country and a good image for customer satisfaction, Hyundai leads the way when it comes to after-sales service while Honda isn’t far behind. Ford is steadily catching up with an emphasis on low cost of spare parts and a satisfying ownership experience since the last couple of years.
Price and Verdict – Priced from Rs. 5.09 lakhs to Rs. 7.89 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Freestyle undercuts its rivals by a huge margin and this is where the Freestyle starts making sense, in spite, of its relatively smaller size. The fully loaded variant of the Freestyle as against the entry-level variants of the Hyundai and the Honda would be our pick any day.