Spec comparison: Ford Freestyle vs Honda WR-V vs Hyundai i20 Active
Ford India surprised everyone with the attractive launch price of Rs 5.09 lakh for the Freestyle crossover in India. These prices are introductory prices and will go up at some point of time. However, for now the Ford Freestyle is priced aggressively against its two rivals the Honda WR-V and the Hyundai i20 Active. In fact, the Ford Freestyle is the most affordable Ford car in the country. As seen globally, crossover is being seen as the next big segment that will see strong growth in the coming years. Hyundai is already reaping the benefits of it with the i20 Active that enjoys a higher popularity than the regular i20 hatch. The Honda WR-V too has proven to be a successful offering as it accounts to 28 per cent of total HCIL sales during the past 12 months. While all these crossover offerings are based on hatchbacks, there has to be the one that trumps the other two. We find out in our specification comparison report.
In term of design, the front end of the Freestyle looks similar to the Figo. However, the new grille looks more distinctive, though the biggest visual differentiators up front are the C-shaped surrounds for the fog lamps. There are faux skid plates at both ends as well as black plastic cladding all around, including the wheel arches, to add to the SUV-like feel. The Freestyle also gets a set of roof rails and we're told these aren't merely ornamental and can hold up to 50kg of weight.
The front of the Honda WR-V is all-new with a rather burly design that is inspired by the BR-V. The Honda WR-V's bonnet is significantly higher than in the Jazz while the nose is flatter. It also gets the thick chrome garnish on the grille like all the new Hondas. The headlights, which integrate into the chrome garnish, feature LED DRLs and remind me of the BR-V. The Honda WR-V looks quite butch if you ask me, thanks to the plastic cladding and faux bash plate at the bottom of the bumper.
The Hyundai i20 Active is due for a design update which we believe will look similar to the new-gen i20 that was launched earlier this year. Hyundai have inverted the i20's grille on the Active with a chunky lower bumper protruding into the grille. There are LED daytime running lamps along with the projectors. Hyundai has given the i20 Active new colour schemes (like the brown from the spy shots we posted earlier) to differentiate it from the Elite i20. The changes have been done up in a subtle manner and we feel that the i20 is one of the best 'cross' vehicles out there in the market.
Cabin design, trims and features
The Ford Freestyle will be offered in eight variants and here is a detailed list of the features and options that will be offered in them. The Freestyle's interiors look identical to the updated EcoSport's. Effectively the Titanium variant gets the same 6.5-inch touchscreen, equipped with Ford's SYNC 3.0, which offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The interface is slick and touch sensitivity is good though menu options can be slightly confusing. A slight disappointment was the design of the instrument cluster and air-conditioning controls. The design hasn't changed much since the Fiesta's days and looks dated. A white background and different font for the numbers on the meters would have surely brought some novelty.
Unlike the outside, the interior of the WR-V doesn't see much change from the Jazz. You get the same asymmetrical black dashboard with a touch-pad climate control unit, and the neat, large part-digital instrument cluster. You also get the same large dashboard which makes front and sideline visibility quite a hassle. What is new, however, is the gear lever and upholstery which will be available in two colour schemes - black with blue or black with silver. The WR-V also gets features like a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a segment-first sunroof. The infotainment system's user interface is all-new too. It is an Android-based system, which is evident from the way it looks and feels, and supports Wi-Fi connectivity if you connect a Wi-Fi receiver to the USB port.
While Elite i20's dashboard layout has been carried forward, the i20 Active gets a few more stylized items to spice up the interiors. The Hyundai i20 Active gets dual tone black and orange upholstery, sports pedals, chilled glove box and a colour coded gear knob which we think is pretty cool. AC vents of the i20 Active have a brown bezel around them. The updated Hyundai i20 Active is expected to get comparatively premium design than the existing offering.
The Freestyle gets Ford's new 1.2-litre three cylinder engine that is part of its Dragon series of engines. The engine offers 96PS and 120Nm, and Ford claims the power output is the highest for a 1.2-litre petrol engine in India. The motor is slightly laid back when it comes to building revs but rev it hard and it delivers a good punch. The Freestyle also debuts Ford's new 5-speed manual transmission. Read detailed first drive review of the Ford Freestyle here.
The Honda WR-V gets a SOHC 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol that produces 90PS at 6,000rpm and 110Nm at 4,800rpm as well as a DOHC 1.5-litre I-DTEC turbo-diesel that puts out 100PS at 3,600rpm and 200Nm at 1,750rpm. The diesel gets a 6-speed manual and the petrol gets a 5-speed manual - however, there is no CVT option like in the Jazz. Read detailed Honda WR-V review here.
The second generation U2 1.4 diesel engine in the Hyundai I20 Active makes 90PS and 220Nm while the 1.2 petrol makes 83PS and 114Nm, the former mated to a six-speed while the petrol comes mated to a five-speed manual. Claimed fuel efficiency for the petrol is 17.19kmpl and for the diesel is 21.19kmpl. Click here to read the Hyundai i20 Active review.
The top-spec i20 Active and the Ford Freestyle, both of them come equipped with six airbags. Dual airbags are standard across the range in the i20 Active, but ABS isn't available in the base variant. The WR-V comes in second, as Honda is offering ABS and dual airbags as a standard feature across the range. The Ford Freestyle also comes with emergency assist, a system that connects with the emergency services in case of an accident.
Considering the manner in which all three cars are prices, the Ford Freestyle is the most affordable of the lot and comes loaded with features. It also is the most engaging to drive. The Honda WR-V comes with all the bells and whistles of the Jazz, a spacious and an efficient offering. Whereas the Hyundai i20 Active dominates the crossover segment on multiple grounds. Let us know your favourite among these three in the comments section below. A real world comparison will clean the dust once and for all.
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