Maruti Baleno RS vs Ford Freestyle: Which car to keep, which to sell
Whichever car I decide to keep, it has to serve us for at least the next 3 years by which time I’m assuming there will be multiple viable EV options to chose from.
BHPian S2K recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
I will be in a position in few months where I will have to decide which one car, from the two we have in the family, should I keep and let the other one go.
The choice is between a 2017 MS Baleno RS and 2020 BS6 Ford FreeStyle Titanium+ petrol. We will have to let one of these cars go as we get a new one in the latter half of the year.
Background on the cars:
- The car was bought in Diwali of 2017 and later this year will complete 5 years. There is no extended warranty coverage on the car at this point of time.
- The Baleno RS was my dad’s daily use car and for a few years, was also the only car in the house, which meant it was also used for periodic highway trips mostly between Mumbai, Pune, Nasik and Raigad.
- With this kind of running, we have already put up about 40k KM on the odometer.
- The car has been maintained well wrt all the prescribed servicing being done from MASS on time.
- There have been some minor but multiple accidents like an auto bashing against the door and fender, or a cow jumping in front of the car on highway and damaging the bumper, etc. All of this has however been rectified by bringing the sheet metal in shape and have not replaced any sheet metal.
- Mostly used by my dad, and while he is a smooth driver, he does get impatient at times and does end up driving aggressively for a couple of minutes or so, and so the car has seen its fair share of high speed bumps over potholes or speed-breakers, roadside driving and also some aggressive braking.
- The car was bought in December 2020 during the pandemic as I needed to start working from office on daily basis.
- Primary reasons for buying Freestyle over other cars were the good driving dynamics, better build quality than other cars in the same segment, better pricing, sort of novelty factor(since not many other Freestyle are visible on roads), and the increased ground clearance as well since I had to frequently travel to a couple of places with not so good road conditions.
- The car that I bought was the demo unit for the BS6 launch that was manufactured in March 2020 but since the showrooms were closed for quite long time due to lockdown, it was not that used. However, the car still had 5k KMs on the odometer already. I decided to get it because I got discounts to the tune of 1.25L on the car and despite all the run, neither the dealer tried to hide it or tamper with the odometer nor did the car seemed damaged or worked on. Got it checked by multiple independent mechanics and also used some trusted insider sources at the dealer and they assured that car had been treated fairly.
- In a span of one and half years, the car has clocked in more than 11k KMs since the purchase and the odometer reading stands at 16k+ KMs as of now.
- The car is being used as my daily drive within city as well as for frequent intercity trips (between Mumbai-Nashik-Pune). It has also been on a couple of road trips, to the Konkan region and to Goa as well. The car easily tackled the bad roads, handled some off-road situations (where the road was completely washed away, higher GC helped), cruised quite effortlessly on the smooth roads and kept everyone cool and comfortable even on hot days with 5 adults on board.
Pros and cons for each car:
Baleno – Pros:
- The car is spacious. Very much so when compared to FS. Sitting 5 adults is a normal affair in Baleno with all 5 being comfortable on a long ride. With Freestyle, 4 adults can seat comfortably but getting in the 5th one will affect the rear sit comfort. In any case, Baleno has a clear advantage here.
- The comfort that the MS badge provides in terms of service options, parts and accessories availability and a not very high pricing on them
- The infotainment system supports Apple Carplay, which is of high use when going to new places within city or in new cities.
- The ride comfort of the car is good, when compared to FS since on FS, the suspension can sometimes feel a tad stiffer for the Indian city roads.
Baleno – Cons:
- Baleno is very common on the road. The minor visible differentiation and badging the car RS does not help at all. A fish in the sea.
- Despite being badged the RS, the handling is nowhere close to how the FS drives. Neither is the engine sporty, despite being turbo-charged, nor is the steering feel and cornering as enjoyable. (I still have limited driving experience on RS and going to try it out more in next few weeks).
- The interior feels dated, with the build, look and feel of all components inside seeming to be of lesser quality when compared to FS.
- Even though its an MS machine, the 1L Booster Jet didn’t sell much, and repairs and maintenance can prove to be expensive if any need arises.
- On the safety front, the Baleno lacks totally with just 2 airbags, not a very strong build, and no active safety features as well.
- The music system is not at all impressive and if I have to use it as my primary car, I will have to upgrade at least the speaker system to something that has enough balance and loudness.
- With the recent intercity drives and the advent of speed cams, I’ve come to realize the use of cruise control and it is sorely missing in this vehicle. There are external mods available, but not sure of compatibility and reliability of those.
- There is no warranty coverage for the car and the car being 5 years old entails some extra maintenance and replacement, that might lead to higher ownership costs.
FreeStyle – Pros:
- The ride and handling of the car is just great and gives a driving pleasure that Baleno is not even remotely able to.
- The build quality of the vehicle, both exterior and interior, is definitely better and confidence inspiring.
- The active and passive safety kit on the car is good with traction control, corner stability control, anti rollover protection hill-start assist, and 6 airbags.
- The car stands out the in the crowd and is an underrated beauty. She looks cute when you want her to be cute, she looks hot when you want her to be hot. The silhouette of the car is one of the best looking ones in the market I feel. Just looking at her puts a smile on my face, sometimes a huge grin. (Yes, I’m definitely in love with her!)
- Ford’s servicing till now (1 before and 1 after Ford’s exit) has been reliable, inexpensive and assuring. The best service experience I’ve had with any brand.
- The car has be handled, maintained and treated very well and no stones have been left upturned whenever something has felt off.
- The audio system in the car satisfies my car audio needs for now and I don’t feel like it needs to be upgraded.
- The car is under extended warranty for next 3 years, though I have some doubts about it due to Ford’s exit.
FreeStyle – Cons:
- The largest disadvantage that FS has is the interior space. When compared to Baleno, FS lacks considerably. Be it the read seats, the headroom or even the boot space. The Baleno has a very clear advantage in this department. FS works well with 4, not so well with 5, but just barely manageable.
- Ford’s exit has put some pressure on the service experience and from the instances I’ve come across from people online, the service experience has become slightly slower and slightly expensive than before though the service quality has not been affected. This might lead to expensive repair or maintenance work ahead with the risk of the car being at SC for longer than expected duration.
- The infotainment on the FS does not support Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and my current work around is sticking my phone on dashboard, but sometimes, it does seem to be a little cumbersome.
- Cruise control is missing in FS too. Again mods are available but not sure of the reliability and its effect on warranty/insurance.
- Ford’s exit. Mentioning second time, because while everything has been good and great till now, I am worried if it still stays the same afterwards as well.
Some other factors:
- FS is my first personal vehicle that I bought with my own money and I’ve grown more attached to it than anything else (my girlfriend even jokes on how I care more about the car than about her). So emotions are high and I will need some hard convincing of myself if I have to let her go.
- The girlfriend mentioned above is soon going to be my wife and we have a travel list which, if its only both of us, will be easily traveled in the FS. If either set of parents get involved in any plan, Baleno will offer more comfort, for sure.
- Whichever car I decide to keep, it has to serve us for at least the next 3 years by which time I’m assuming there will be multiple viable EV options to chose from. There’s a very high chance that my next car will be an EV and I might even delay that purchase if there are no good options available in the market.
- The daily running costs for both the vehicles are almost same with both offering about 13kmpl mileage in the city and 19-20kmpl mileage on the highways. So none of them have any advantage with respect to the running costs.
- While running costs are not a major concern right now (I am somehow managing the dent of increased fuel prices on my finances), if the fuel costs get high enough that it becomes a no-brainer to use an EV, I will jump to the EV sooner than I mentioned.
I would request the more experienced and knowledgeable forum members to share some advice and guide me on which vehicle to keep based on the above points and also some other points I should think about but haven’t.
Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:
Both cars are good and have a lot of life left in them. First things first, you are selling & changing cars too early. Two threads you just have to read:
5 year old car: Keep, sell, swap?
How a more expensive car can work out cheaper
To answer the thread question, between the two, I would keep the car that makes me smile more. In your case, it is clearly the Freestyle, so retain that. You’ll get good money for the Baleno as there is a used car supply crunch currently. On the other hand, your Freestyle will suffer a major depreciation hit today…and so will it 4 years from now (because of the Ford exit). Your warranty will ensure a fuss-free ownership.
Ford will continue to support your car. And there are enough Figos, Freestyles & Aspires on the road for the after-market to as well.
Here’s what BHPian nvldvr had to say on the matter:
For me, it’s a no brainer. I will any day keep the much safer / better built freestyle with 6 air bags, over the Baleno any day. I will not look beyond this, if I were to decide which car to keep.
Here’s what BHPian livetodrive had to say on the matter:
Hi S2K, your concern regarding Fords exit is valid. In 2020, I booked FS along with my friend and in June Ford bumped the price up by 50K which my friend was ready to absorb but not me. During same time I persuaded another friend to buy the EcoSport diesel over the Brezza and he listened to me.
After Fords exit, I felt sorry for both of them and I keep checking on them if they have any trouble with service. I know hardly I can contribute if they are dissatisfied customers. Still I feel if I had not persuaded them so much to buy Ford , they would be in much mental peace.
However I can see they are very happy Ford owners till date. Both of them keep appreciating great diesel mileage, strong build and comfort of co-passengers in long drives.
It’s hard to say if Fords service quality will deteriorate in future. But considering your current observations and the inputs from my friends I feel keeping the Ford will be a good decision.
Here’s what BHPian Voodooblaster had to say on the matter:
Why selling the Freestyle is a bad idea :
- Cars take a massive depreciation hit in the first year (after road tax and the 3 year insurance is factored in).
- Since you had purchased a demo car, I am assuming that RTO records will show you as the 2nd owner. Higher the no of owners, lower the resale value.
- Compared to Ecosport, Freestyle was less popular and sales numbers were poor. Again, lower resale value.
- The elephant in the room: Ford’s exit has dampened the resale value.
- You enjoy driving Freestyle more than Baleno.
- Safer car.
- Most Important: It tugs at your heart.
Why selling the Baleno is a good idea :
- Has a higher resale value (MSIL+Baleno combination).
- Since you mentioned some aggressive driving, it’ll not age very well. (May need early suspension and related parts).
- Has lesser safety features than the Freestyle.
- Taking a bigger rental car (Innova , Marazzo, Ertiga etc) for your combined family trips is a better option. You can enjoy a different car.
- Finally, I would advise against installation of cruise control from 3rd party vendors. It may void warranty, and there are safety risks involved.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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