It all began when Renault launched the Duster in India. A completely new segment was created and it took the market by storm. The Duster, a nice and practical compact SUV turned out to be a runaway success and why not, it offered a lot for the price, right? Well, the answer to that question was delivered by Ford who launched the EcoSport which offered a bit more than the Duster and at a price which was a bit lesser. The EcoSport also became quite a success story until other compact SUVs started to flood the market. In a bid to generate more sales and of course to freshen up the product range, the American automaker has given a mid-life update to the baby SUV and here’s how it fares. Check for Ecosport price in Pune
DESIGN AND STYLING ;
High-strength boron steel has been used in the EcoSport’s body-in-white to add torsional rigidity and improve the car’s occupant protection in the event of a crash or rollover — specifically in the door frames. A similar application of the material was applied to the related B-Max MPV to compensate for the absence of fixed B-pillars.
The car is also Ford’s first ever to be developed entirely in South America. Its front strut, rear twist beam suspension configuration has been retuned for European tastes, as has its electro-mechanical power steering.
Much of it, though, is already familiar. Like the Fiesta and the B-Max (and virtually every other small car), the EcoSport wears its dinky engines in the nose, where they exclusively drive the front wheels. Those wheels meet the ground courtesy of MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam to the rear, and they are stopped by front discs and rear drums.
Trim levels comprise Titanium and Titanium X. You get a decent amount of kit in Titanium models, including climate control, a CD player with aux-in and USB connections, keyless entry and start, a cooled glove box, electric windows and front fog lights. Upgrading to Titanium X adds leather trim, 17-inch alloys, an auto-dimming rear view mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic lights and cruise control.
Arguably less likely to provoke ardour is the look of the thing. There’s nowhere to go with a baby crossover other than up, so it was inevitable that the EcoSport would be short and tall, but the bluff front end – splattered in lip gloss and shaped like a dust mask – is a feature that might take a lifetime to grow on you. Likewise, the side-opening rear door and the covered spare wheel attached to it
The Ford EcoSport range is punctuated by three trim levels, and unlike the original, the facelifted model comes with far more equipment. The first and most noticeable difference is the removal of the tyre from the rear door, followed swiftly by the smart LED day-running lights.
Opt for the Zetec trim and your EcoSport will come fitted with 16in alloys, manual air con, all-round electric windows, hill start assist. Other luxuries include a radio/CD player complete with Ford Sync and USB connection and a leather steering wheel. Go up to Titanium and keyless entry and go, cruise control, auto headlights and wipers, and half leather seats are thrown in.
The new Titanium S trim level not only gets a peppy 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine but also 17in alloys, sports suspension, trim and a Sony DAB system.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
The highlight of the updated EcoSport is of course the 1.5-litre diesel engine. The oil-burner now whacks out an additional 9 PS of power and the total power output has been bumped up to 100 PS, which also matches the numbers of the Figo twins. Torque remains at 205 Nm and the engine is still mated to the same 5-speed manual gearbox. Gear shifts are not the smoothest out there and still feel a bit notchy. 0-100 km/hr has been improved by a small margin which isn’t really noticeable in normal usage, but what is noticeable is the fact that the TDCI mill has a much better bottom-end now and the car responds to throttle inputs in a very brisk fashion.
The clutch feels lighter now while the turbo starts spooling in from a notch below 2000 RPM. All the 99 horses are delivered across the rev range in a very linear manner. 100 km/hr comes up at 12.76 seconds from standstill compared to 13.43 seconds of the previous model. The EcoSport also gets a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine and both of these remain completely unchanged. The EcoBoost is offered with a manual transmission while the bigger petrol engine gets a 5-speed manual gearbox along with the option of a 6-speed DCT.
Dynamics and Ford cars go hand in hand. The EcoSport boasts of excellent handling capabilities and it is actually a very fun car to drive around. The steering is very precise and it offers excellent feedback and feel. It is moderately weighed, neither too heavy nor too light while it also gains weight significantly as the vehicle’s speed increases. High speed stability is good on the EcoSport and it is fun around the corners but only upto a certain limit. You can never push an SUV as much as a sedan but the EcoSport does feel car-like to drive. There is some body roll too but not as much as other compact SUVs. It is somewhat comparable to what small cars have.
The ride quality on the Ford EcoSport is also very good and the suspension does an impressive job of ironing out all the potholes and craters that Indian roads have to offer. The SUV comes with MRF tyres which have satisfactory levels of grip if you don’t intend to push the vehicle very hard and the brakes also perform in a positive manner, making the vehicle shed speeds without any sort of unnecessary drama.
SAFETY AND FEATURES ;
To begin with, our press demonstrator was the Brown. The Mars Red colour might appeal to several, but I prefer the Kinetic Blue on the Ecosport. This in my opinion looks more upmarket and carries a hint of sophistication. The variant we drove was the Titanium Option. It comes with keyless entry, push start and stop, artificial leather, in-dash music system with Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB connection, reclining rear seats, 60:40 split, six airbags and ABS. In our long-term report, we share the fuel efficiency, performance and the pros and the niggles that we faced with the Ford Ecosport in our daily running.
It’s a long time since a new Ford was as bad as the EcoSport. It may not be a European-hailing car and it may be due an early revision to address its failings, but customers won’t care and neither should we.
Its perceived quality is regrettable, its diesel powertrain is rough and flat, and its chassis is so rudimentary that it could even damage Ford’s prized reputation for dynamic excellence.
Anyone who has test driven a rival or two will instantly be aware that the EcoSport just isn’t worthy. Neither is it cheap enough to be unworthy.
Ford’s repost will be that this has already proven a successful car for developing markets, but on tougher roads and catering to different tastes from ours
There have been plenty of great Fords like that over the years – from Mustangs to Broncos to Falcons – but none has cut the mustard in Europe. Neither will this.