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Ford Freestyle vs Maruti Ignis vs Honda WRV vs Hyundai i20 Active

Motor Trend India logo Motor Trend India 07-04-2018 Somnath Chatterjee
IMG-9129.JPG © Motor Trend Staff IMG-9129.JPG


Till now no one has really managed to crack this segment space. We are talking about the crossover segment. While compact SUVs sell in huge numbers, the crossover space is a bit on the less side though by no means it lacks demand. The current best sellers are the Maruti Ignis and then comes the Honda WR-V. Other than the Ignis, all are mostly rugged versions of hatchbacks on sale.

a car parked on the side of a road: IMG 9218 © Motor Trend Staff IMG 9218

Thus this segment consists of those who want the convenience of a hatch but also the rugged qualities of an SUV but without the baggage. In many ways it makes sense considering our roads where we can use the increased ground clearance plus if done right the whole crossover 'lifestyle' thing is quite appealing. Ford has just entered it with its soon to be launched Freestyle and after having driven it, we were quite impressed, so much so that we threw it straight into battle with its rivals.

a close up of a car: IMG 8994 © Motor Trend Staff IMG 8994


It is without doubt that the Freestyle is the nicest looking of the lot and fit for purpose here. It has the right amount of aggression which is nice. You do notice the new front and rear bumper plus all the rugged styling details like the roof-rails (which are functional, carrying upto 50kg load), cladding, skid plate, grey 15 inch alloys with meatier rubber, smoked headlamps et al. Also it has increased ground clearance of 190mm.

All New Ford Freestyle 7 © Motor Trend Staff All New Ford Freestyle 7

The Ignis is a polarising design but one that looks interesting with its chunky square-ish proportions but it may not be for everyone. Still the boxy looks are rather unique. The i20 Active borrows the most from its donor car the i20 and looks like an i20 with a few rugged bits while the WR-V has a bold face with a lot of chrome. Just like the Freestyle the other three have the roof rails, cladding but we feel the Freestyle conveys its rugged intentions the best in its class.

a car on the road: Maruti Ignis Front © Motor Trend Staff Maruti Ignis Front


All have well appointed cabins with all the required features. Common features include climate control, touchscreen , navigation, rear camera display, push button start etc Barring the WR-V all have Android Auto, Apple CarPlay while the Honda has mirror link. Some unique features include the fact that the i20 Active has rear ac vents, the WR-V has cruise control, sunroof, Wi-Fi while the Freestyle has traction control plus hill start assist. Both the Hyundai and the Ford have 6 airbags in the top-end trims while the Ignis has dual airbags.

a close up of a car: Maruti Ignis Diesel Review © Motor Trend Staff Maruti Ignis Diesel Review

In terms of design the Ignis has the most funky interior by far with a Triad mark plus a dash of exterior colour inside. The Freestyle has the best touchscreen in terms of useability with its 6.5 inch unit and the design is well laid out- now with the design tweaks including the revised dash over the Figo. The WR-V and i20 Active follow the designs of their hatch siblings. In terms of space the WR-V wins with a big and comfy cabin with tons of room. That is followed by the i20 Active, Ignis while the Freestyle, like the Figo is a bit short on room at the back especially headroom.

a car parked on the side of a road: Honda Wrv India Review © Motor Trend Staff Honda Wrv India Review


All three have petrol and diesel engines. However only the Ignis has an automatic option in both while rest are manual only. The Freestyle has a brand new new 1.2l three cylinder petrol motor from the new engine family which powers the EcoSport also (in 1.5l guise). It develops an impressive 96 bhp and 120Nm- for an NA 1.2l petrol that is a new benchmark. That is not all as there is a new 5-speed manual too. This is the best petrol motor amongst the 1.2s. Unlike other 1.2s which has its performance tucked away at some high revs which is not accessible most of the time. Power delivery is not erratic or lethargic. There is plenty of punch down revs which means pottering around in city is no issue at all. It is refined at start too and does not suffer from huge clatter- often an issue with 3cyl cars.

The Ignis with its 1.2l petrol is more revvy and less bottom-end while the i20 Active with its weight is slightly bogged down with its 1.2 motor. The WR-V is nice and linear though.While the Freestyle wins the petrol engine battle, in terms of diesel it is more close with the i20 Active bringing its strong 1.4l diesel. The Freestyle though edges here ith the bombastic deliver of the 1.5l diesel. Both the Ignis and WR-V have diesel engines which do lose out on refinement a bit and have decent performance.

a close up of a car: Honda Wrv Interior Review Features Pics © Motor Trend Staff Honda Wrv Interior Review Features Pics

Useability matters. Again dynamically the Freestyle brings new standard with its steering which is the best here in terms of feel plus also in terms of handling and brakes. Yes the ride is a bit stiff but overall it brings a new level of dynamic finesse with its cornering ability. The Ignis comes second here and its surprisingly agile with less roll. It also rides well. But it is the WR-V that comes winning in terms of ride with its quiet suspension and comfy ride. The i20 is also soft like the Honda and is more tuned towards being a comfy, easy to drive car. Do note the extended ground clearance of all the cars also help it tackle our roads better.

a car driving on a road: I20 Active Front In Goa © Motor Trend Staff I20 Active Front In Goa


Prices for the Ignis start at Rs 4.7 lakh and go till Rs 8.1 lakh. The i20 Active is Rs 6.8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. The WR-V is Rs 7.9 lakh to Rs 10.1 lakh. We expect Ford to price the Freestyle less than the Hyundai and Honda which means it would be aggressive. Now time for some conclusions. We have driven them and debated. The Ignis is surprisingly a talented and an underrated car that is let down by its boxy styling which does not appeal. The diesel too lacks refinement while the petrol makes for a good choice. The i20 Active is a good car but so is the Elite i20. It does not offer enough to differentiate or has the rugged character. We say the new Elite is a better looking car too. The WR-V does make sense with its space, practicality, aggressive looks and comfort.

a close up of a car: Hyundai I20 Active Blue © Motor Trend Staff Hyundai I20 Active Blue

But in this segment, the Freestyle offers something more. It has more character, it drives very well, it puts a big grin on your face. It has the fun to drive Ford DNA but in nearly all areas it scores well too. The new petrol motor is a huge improvement, the interiors are now more feature loaded, we think it looks the best too with its subtle but tasteful use of rugged styling details. Overall the Ford Freestyle fits in the whole meaning of a compact crossover more convincingly than others and is the new segment benchmark being our choice.

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