PRETORIA South Africa – Ford SA is expanding its presence in the rapidly growing utility vehicle sector with its first Figo Freestyle – a sub-B segment compact utility vehicle based on the popular Figo hatchback.
Ford says it complements the brand’s range of active lifestyle models, among them the EcoSport compact sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Kuga and the impressively capable Everest seven-seater SUV.
Doreen Mashinini, general manager for marketing at FMCSA, told The Corner: “The new Figo Freestyle builds on Ford’s reputation as one of the pioneers of the utility vehicle segment.
”This model, with its SUV-derived design, robust stance, higher ground-clearance and commanding seating positions, has the credentials of an SUV in a compact package suited to the city during the work week, the countryside or bush at weekends.
“It fulfils the growing demand from younger buyers for a vehicle more compact and affordable than the compact SUV offerings but equally capable and designed for adventurous, active, free-spirited individuals.
“With its bigger wheels, ride height, and belly protection plates the Figo Freestyle it should meet the aspertions of young and dynamic customers.”
The cabin, Ford says, has a two-tone treatment and an array of technology that should make driving safer and more enjoyable.
Two models are available, the Trend and a ”comprehensively appointed” Titanium. Each, however, has the same 91kW/150Nm, three-cylinder, Ti-VCT engine as the rest of the Figo range to drive the front wheels through a five-speed manual ‘box.
Each is covered by Ford’s ‘Protect’ plan which includes a four-year/60 000km* service plan and three years (unlimited distance) of roadside assistance.
Their double-spoked 15” alloy wheel rims and black wheel-arch mouldingss are unique to the Figo Freestyle and go with black foglight housings. Perhaps more important is the models’ 190mm (16mm more than ”normal” Figo units).
The Freestyle is available in six colour choices and with metallic paint options.
Step inside the Figo Freestyle and its clear that the creativity applied to the exterior styling is equal to that of the cabin. The neatly laid-out fascia and door accents, Ford says, ”create an exclusive and sophisticated ambience”.
This is matched to an attractive blended seat trim design with distinctive stripes in the centre offset by black side-trim panels. Contrasting stitching is said to add further visual appeal.
A soft-touch gearshifter complements the Titanium model’s sporty steering-wheel with remote audio controls; practical touches on each derivative include door scuff-plates and durable all-weather mats.
Driving assistants include reverse parking radar while the Trend has a ”Device Dock” which includes Bluetooth, USB and Auxiliary connectivity and a handy slot for a phone.
The Titanium series adds a reversing camera showing in the floating colour display for the SYNC®3 system. It also has Bluetooth and voice activation that enables phone and audio functions to be controlled through intuitive conversational voice commands.
Owners can use their phone’s satnav and a range of other apps in conjunction with SYNC®3 when seamlessly paired to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Other features unique to the Titanium are a start button, auto aircon, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlight activation rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
READ MORE Ford features on Carman’s Corner
We’ve saved the 1.5-litre engine for last… as with the rest of the Figo range the Figo Freestyle has Ford’s three-cylinder unit capable of 91kW @ 6300rpm and a torque peak of 150Nm at 4250rpm. Drive is to the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission.
Crash mitigation and security on Trend units include driver and passenger nitrogen bags, anti-lock brakes, remote central locking, power windows, perimeter anti-theft alarm and engine immobiliser.
The Figo Freestyle Titanium adds side and curtain nitrogen bags, an innovative Ford MyKey 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 have not set their crash restraints.
…AND SO TO THE PRICES
Figo 1.5 Ambiente Hatch 5MT – R202 100
Figo 1.5 Trend Hatch 5MT – R211 900
Figo 1.5 Trend Hatch 6AT – R235 900
Figo 1.5 Titanium Hatch 5MT – R235 700
Figo 1.5 Ambiente Sedan 5MT – R208 500
Figo 1.5 Trend Sedan 5MT – R217 300
Figo Freestyle 1.5 Trend Hatch 5MT – R226 700
Figo Freestyle 1.5 Titanium Hatch 5MT – R247 500
All Figo and Figo Freestyle models come standard with Ford Protect which includes a service plan covering four-years/60 000km, three-year unlimited distance roadside assistance and four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty.*
This is complemented by a five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. Service intervals 15 000km.
*Whichever comes first.