Ford Freestyle Automatic variant a strong possibility
Dhruv Saxena, Mechanical engineer trying to find his place in the world of automobile journalism.
Ford India is reporting a rise in demand for petrol variants, especially automatics. The Ford Freestyle, currently offered only with a manual transmission, could become a recipient of an automatic transmission in the future.
Ford Freestyle marked the delivery of Ford's 1 millionth vehicle in India. At the handing over ceremony, Ford India President and MD, Anurag Mehrotra hinted at the possibility of an automatic variant of the Freestyle Petrol. He confirmed that there is demand from customers for this variant.
Automatic variants account for around 20% of total Ford sales in India. In tier-I cities like Delhi and Bangalore, this number is higher at approximately 40%. These statistics make a strong case for the launch of a Ford Freestyle petrol.
Ford offers the Figo, the hatchback that forms the basis of the Freestyle, with a 1.5 L petrol engine and 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission combination. However, this drivetrain has been kept away from the Freestyle. The Freestyle's 1.2 L engine's higher capacity 1.5 L relative that does duty on the EcoSport is offered with a 6-speed torque converter gearbox. This combination could be considered for the Freestyle, but the use of a 1.5 L engine will impede the Freestyle petrol AT from qualifying as a small car and availing the excise benefits that will negatively impact the price.
The 1.2 L 3-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine powering the Freestyle churns out 96 PS and 120 Nm. The diesel variants use a 1.5 L unit with 100 PS and 215 Nm. Only a 5-speed manual transmission is on offer currently.
Ford recently conducted an off-road experience for its customers showcasing the capabilities of the Freestyle CUV. The specially curated track highlighted the car's generous 190 mm ground clearance, wheel articulation, and water wading capabilities. It also helped highlight features Hill Launch Assist (HLA) and Active Rollover Prevention (ARP).