Ford India has launched the Freestyle, which it bills as a compact utility vehicle (CUV).
The new model is based on the latest Figo hatchback which is similar to the Ka+ sold in Europe.
NDTV.com said the new variant has additional body cladding, new features and an updated design and enters a new segment (for Ford) which includes the Hyundai i20 Active, Toyota Etios Cross and Fiat Urban Cross.
This style of ‘urban off roader look’ is also popular in Brazil where major automakers all field contenders based on standard family hatchbacks.
The Freestyle has an all black interior and infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration plus Ford’s proprietary SYNC3 connectivity. It also gets the new 6.5-inch ‘floating’ touchscreen infotainment system introduced with the recent EcoSport small SUV’s update.
The Freestyle is sold with a 1.5-litre, 100hp, I3 diesel engine and new 1.2-litre ‘Dragon’ series 94hp petrol engine, both with new five speed manual gearbox.
Indian made variants of this crossover reportedly will be exported to Europe. Models for Latin America will be made in Brazil, as is the locally sold EcoSport (Europe’s now come from Romania).
A previous Ford Freestyle was based on the Volvo XC90. Like the Volvo, the Freestyle had three rows of seats and front- or all-wheel drive. Production started at a Chicago plant in July 2004, alongside the related Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans, with vehicles reaching dealerships two months later. For 2007, the Freestyle was carried over, with changes limited to a revised line-up: Limited, Limited AWD, SEL, and SEL AWD. For 2008, the Freestyle was replaced by the Taurus X. US Freestyle production ended in June 2007.
Ford makes the Figo, Aspire and Freestyle at its plant in Sanand, Gujarat state.