Ford EcoSport Review
Economical and SportyTuesday, June 11, 2013
A new segment is budding in our Indian car market. In the upcoming years, we will witness a segment of Compact SUV’s in India. Many car makers are currently working on their new offerings for this segment. Recently, Renault launched their much awaited compact SUV known as Duster, till now its diesel version has received good reception and it is one of the best-selling compact SUVs in India. Ford EcoSport is the latest SUV to enter this segment; it was unveiled in New Delhi at the Auto Expo 2012. It is expected to be launched in few days. Bookings of Ford EcoSport are now open; the booking amount is INR 50000.
Ford EcoSport has been developed specially to cater those customers who want a compact SUV within a budget of 7-10 lakh rupees. It is the best looking Sport Utility Vehicle in its segment. Ford EcoSport follows the Ford's latest design theme featuring huge front bumper and peeled-back head lights with a sporty rear-end. Ford EcoSport is powered by the award winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine, which is known for its excellent mileage and reliability. In total, EcoSport will be available with 3 engine options: 1.0 litre EcoBoost, 1.5 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel.
Expected to be launched in few days
Expected to be available in 10 variants: 6 petrol and 4 diesel
Will be available with 3 engine options: 2 diesel and 1 petrol
The 1.0 EcoBoost petrol engine is best 3 cylinder engine in the world
Will be available in seven shades
Base variant of petrol is expected to be priced at INR 6.5 lakhs
Top variant of diesel is expected to be priced around INR 9.5 lakhs
The main rival of EcoSport is Renault Duster, other competitors are Mahindra Quanto, Tata Safari DiCOR and to some extent the Premier Rio
Ford EcoSport Exterior
Ford has clearly stated that EcoSport will be a sub 4 meter car which means shorter than many of the hatches. Give it a look and it’s hard to believe if it’s actually that short. The design of this car is exceptional. The people at Auto Expo couldn’t believe if they will see this car plying on Indian roads. We have never seen a compact SUV as dazzling as EcoSport in India. Turn once, twice, thrice around it and you just can’t stop wondering how unique this car is. There is no doubt that Ford has tried to bring all the SUV characteristics to this car. This five seater SUV stands high and tall. It looks extremely aggressive from its front. It has a massive front bumper sporting a huge three layered air dam. It’s partly black in color so that it looks less bulky.
The top variant of EcoSport features chrome surrounds for its round shaped fog lights and air dam. Its air dam seems to be the mouth of this car which is very new in terms of styling. Nice angular headlights matches well with a thin radiator grill which sports a Ford logo on it. High above it sits a big, raised bonnet which makes it look macho. Its A-pillar merges well in to the side fender which has huge wheel arches. Rear quarter glass is absent from this car. The top model features big body colored side mirrors with in-built turn indicators. Door handles are very basic yet they look stylish. It has eye-catching silver colored roof rails which enhance its side profile. EcoSport comes equipped with 16 inch alloy wheels which are very dashing as we have seen them before at Delhi’s Auto Expo 2012.
The side doors have sharp lines on it with its lower part being black in color. Rear profile is also very impressive; it has a strange C pillar which looks like an A-pillar due to its stretched rear glass. The rear glass and integrated spoiler ends very near to the rear gate which is very exclusive. Rear bumper is also semi black in color with almost rectangular reflective lights on both sides. Spare wheel is mounted on its boot gate which confirms it’s a proper SUV and the car looks very balanced. Clear lens taillights are stretched in size and appear like the one used in Renault Fluence. EcoSport looks very premium from its back and the overall appearance of this car is very attractive and it will turn many heads on road.
Ford EcoSport Interior
Ford EcoSport's interior styling resembles with the all-new Fiesta which is good news. The three spoke steering wheel along with short gear knob makes their way to EcoSport. The instrument dials have blue lighting which looks very cool and is easily readable. Looking at the rising demand for dual color interiors, Ford may opt for dual tone interiors otherwise all black scheme is expected in EcoSport. The plastic and fabric quality is similar to the material used in Fiesta. The quality of materials used and overall fit and finish inside is not very good and it feels down-market and could have been better.
Comfort and Convenience
Looking at its size and length, it remains a question that what will be comfort level inside. Being a SUV it promises you a higher seating than others which means better visibility of roads and its steering wheel will be tilt able. Headroom and shoulder room is not going to be a major concern but we are afraid about the legroom as it has shorter wheelbase than its competitors. The top variant of EcoSport comes with many vital features with some of them being first in its segment. It has power windows, AC, electrically adjustable and fold-able outside mirrors with central locking. It has a smart start/stop button with hill launch assist which reduces the risks of rolling backwards and allows you to move upwards easily. There are also many other features which make it the most feature-rich SUV in 10-lakh price bracket.
Dashboard and Storage
The dashboard seems like it has been picked from the new Fiesta which looks very modern and stylish. It has a v-shaped central console with edgy AC vents. But the texture and touch of the dashboard feels down-market. The buttons and plastic quality is just acceptable. It has a big glove box in this dashboard which is also a cooler and keeps your things fresh inside. Ford offers 20 storage spaces inside EcoSport which is very impressive. The under seat tray is also offered in EcoSport to keep essentials. It has a boot capacity of 346 litre which can be increased to 560 litre by folding its rear seats.
Music System of Ford EcoSport
Ford EcoSport features a powerful music system with voice control system as we have seen in the new Fiesta. This music player has USB and Aux-in ports for connectivity of music gadgets. The car also has Bluetooth connectivity through SYNC. After connectivity you will just have to command and you can play music tracks, take calls, read out messages, even when you move out of the car the SYNC automatically switches to your headset. The top-variants of EcoSport also have steering mounted audio and Bluetooth controls.
Engine and Gearbox
EcoSport will be available with three engine options: 2 petrol and 1 diesel. The petrol motor is one of its kinds and is specially designed for EcoSport. Its 999cc three cylinder turbo charged engine is world acclaimed and claims to be as powerful as any other 1.6L engine with less CO2 emissions. It produces a peak power of 118 Bhp with a maximum torque output of 170 Nm coming as early as 1400 rpm. These figures seem to be unbeatable by its competitor Duster. This is the biggest advantage of this car. It is a very powerful SUV as even most of the 1.6L engines in India don’t produce this much of power. The second petrol engine will be the same which powers the Fiesta (1.5 litre unit), it generates maximum power of 108 Bhp with maximum torque of 140 Nm.
There is also a diesel engine which currently powers the new Fiesta. It is a 4 cylinder 1.5L, 8V SOHC diesel engine. The utmost power and torque output of this engine is 90 bhp and 204Nm which is available at 3750rpm and 2000rpm respectively. Ford has decided to offer EcoSport with both manual and automatic transmission. It will have a five-speed manual gearbox while the automatic variant will have an effective 6 speed power shift automatic transmission. Its automatic variant will also be an advantage over Duster as it’s not available with automatic transmission.
Acceleration and Performance
It will be exciting to see in future how Indian version of Ford EcoSport will perform with its petrol engine. As per its specifications it’s not hard to judge the performance of this engine. The turbo charged unit starts pulling power early and won’t let you feel any kind of turbo lag. The weight of this car will play a crucial role in this department. Its competitor, Duster is a very light car and manages a good power to weight ratio and that can also be felt while driving that car. The power output is adequate; we just hope it remains a light weight car so that it can be the fastest in its segment. If everything goes fine then expect it to reach 100km/hour in less than 10 seconds and its top speed may cross the mark of 170km/hr.
Ford may tune the gearbox in EcoSport especially for Indian conditions otherwise we know about the smoothness level of their gearboxes. The diesel engine will not be new for Indians as new Fiesta is already using it. With this engine it should take EcoSport less than 12 seconds to reach 100km/hour with a top speed of around 16okm/hr. The biggest flaw of this engine is its noise and vibrations. Similar to the smaller 1.4L engine it’s also very noisy inside. Being a SOHC engine it tends to be more audible than others. The refinement level is good news though, its power delivery is very linear and it feels quite responsive. The dual clutch will also be seen in EcoSport which is very smooth and convenient to use.
Ford EcoSport Mileage
This 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine is 20% more fuel efficient than any other 1.6L petrol engine even after producing similar amount of power. It will return you a mileage of around 16km/ltr in city conditions and nearly 20km/ltr on highways. The manual as well as automatic variants return similar fuel efficiency thanks to its dual clutch system. Diesel engine is also very efficient and will give you a fuel efficiency of around 15km/ltr in city and may return 17-18km/ltr on highways. These figures will be attracting many Indian buyers for sure.
Ride and Handling
The small size of EcoSport makes it perfect for city conditions. If it comes with the similar power steering used in Fiesta, it will be a joy to drive. That steering feels very stable and always allows you to steer the car accurately. EcoSport will feature R16 size of tyres which will hold the road firmly. Looking at the size and its SUV character, Ford has specially designed the suspension for this car and it easily digests the worst potholes on our Indian roads. EcoSport is only front wheel drive but Ford has tried to make it ready for every off road situation if tested. That’s why it comes with a high ground clearance of 200mm which is a prominent SUV characteristic. On Indian roads it will be a big advantage as you won’t be worrying about those giant potholes and speed breakers. With high ground clearance and 550mm water wading capability, you will feel the benefit of this car when you go off road.
Braking and Safety Features
Ford EcoSport features disk brakes at its front with drum brakes at the back. Ford has loaded this car with all the braking and safety features which you expect from a SUV. It has ESP (electronic stability program) and ABS with EBD. The top model also features Traction control for some off-road action, front Dual airbags and engine immobilizer.
Variants and Warranty
Ford EcoSport is expected to be available in 10 variants with three engines on offer. The 1.5 petrol will be available in 4 variants: Ambiente, Trend, Titanium Automatic and Titanium Plus Automatic. The 1.0 EcoBoost petrol will be available in 2 variants: Titanium Automatic and Titanium (O) Automatic. The 1.5 diesel version will also be available in 4 variants: Ambiente, Trend, Titanium and Titanium (O). The warranty on EcoSport is yet to be disclosed.
The base variant of EcoSport is Ambiente, it will come equipped with these features: EPAS with tilt/telescopic steering, Manual AC, Radio/FM/AUX/USB, electrically adjustable outside rear-view mirrors with integrated turn integrated, remote central locking, front power windows, body coloured bumpers, MF display, foldable rear seat, front power source and 15 inch full wheel covers. The next variant is Trend, in addition to the features of Ambiente, it comes with ABD+EBD, rear power windows, rear defogger, rear wiper, rear washer, body coloured outside rear-view mirrors, split folding rear seat, rear parcel tray, steering mounted audio controls, silver ornamentation and rear power point.
The third variant is Titanium, in addition to the features of Trend, it comes equipped with six-speed Powershift automatic transmission, leather wrapped steering, SYNC system, 16 inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control system, roof rails, front armrest, cooled glove box, front fog lamps, driver seat lumbar support, dual front airbags, chrome exteriors and reverse parking sensors. The top variant is Titanium (O), in addition to the features of Titanium it comes with leather seats, push button start, key-less vehicle system and side plus curtain airbags.
Dimensions, Boot Space and Fuel Tank Capacity
The length of Ford EcoSport is 3999mm, the width is 1765mm and the height stands at 1708mm. The wheelbase of the vehicle is 2520mm and the ground clearance is 200mm. The boot space of EcoSport is 346 litres which is expandable up to 705 litres. The fuel tank capacity of this compact sports utility vehicle is 52 litres.
Ford EcoSport is expected to be available in seven shades: Mars Red, Chill, Moondust Silver, Kinetic Blue, Sea Grey, Panther Black and Diamond White.
Pricing of EcoSport will decide its destiny in India. It’s a sub 4 meter car so it will enjoy excise benefits and Ford has also hinted that it will be cheaper than Duster. If Ford manages to do so and places it between the brackets of 6-10 lakhs then it will be the best car in its segment. With its striking design, brilliant fuel efficiency and power packed performance it’s undoubtedly a complete value for money car. If priced well, this car will establish this segment of cars prominently in India. It will be the first choice of those who miss exclusivity with regular sedans and don’t want to opt for expensive and full size SUVs.