The new Ford EcoSport is finally here. The crossover compact SUV that has set the motoring world a buzz has finally come to India. We had a chance to drive it, so let us share our thoughts about what could be a game changer in the Indian automotive industry.
First things first, the EcoSport looks quite brilliant. I have no complains about the way it has been designed. Essentially it looks like a hatchback that has been raised up high off the ground with a spare wheel on the rear boot to make it look more muscular and more like an SUV. It’s got curves, nice wheel arches and it seems like its wide enough. The length of the car has been kept below 4 metres, and its ground clearance is a very impressive 200mm. It might just sell because of the way it looks.
Step inside the Ford EcoSport and again the interior design has been laid out quite well. The dashboard looks nice with some neat buttons and clever looking AC vents, then there is the multimedia interface and a good looking instrument cluster. The overall quality of the dashboard is typical Ford though as you can feel the cheapness of the plastics. But it still looks good and the seats compliment the interiors further. They are nicely set up and are also quite comfortable. There is however a concern with rear seat space and I feel the EcoSport will only fit in 4 people comfortably. There is also a decent amount of room in the trunk and the seats can be arranged so you can make even more room for storage.
There are three engine variants that are available. There is of course the award winning 1.0 litre Ecoboost engine that gives you great power figures of 125bhp and this is the car we drove. The 1.0 litre is also mated to a nice 5 speed gearbox. The clutch might be a little too light but other than that the match between engine and transmission is quite good. There is also the 1.5 litre petrol and a diesel engine with the same transmission, but in the petrol variant you get the option of an automatic transmission as well, which I think is a good move by Ford.
The 1.0 litre Ecoboost engine is quite amazing, and you can easily feel the power when you accelerate, but mostly after you cross 2000rpm. The car accelerates with ease even though it is heavier than a Renault Duster at 1350kg. The steering wheel is also nice and the car responds well to your steering inputs. Along corners there is quite a bit of body roll, but that was expected from a sub-4 metre car which sits high. The brakes are a little weak and you really need to press down hard for them to work, and the tyres don’t have the best grip when you brake hard. Other than that the performance is really good and the ride quality is nice and comfy.
Another nice thing about the EcoSport is that it comes loaded with features, the best being Ford Sync, which is Ford’s latest technology for vehicle-driver interface. It is even voice controlled so you don’t need to use your hands at all to make calls or select music. It also comes with a very nice air-conditioning system that gets the cabin nice and cool even on the hottest day. There are also Power windows, power steering and Smart Start and keyless entry.
There is no compromise on safety as the Ford EcoSport gets some great technology. There are airbags all around the cabin and there is also Hill Launch Assist and ABS.
Overall the Ford Ecosport looks tough, but we feel otherwise. The overall quality is not the best because they have tried to cut costs down, and you can definitely see that in the interiors. The car has not been around long enough so we can’t say just how reliable it is, but judging by their other models it should be good enough for Indian roads. Some of the parts might expensive but again we will just have to see how it goes.
The EcoSport will compete in a segment that is relatively new to India and its closest rival will probably be the Renault Duster. The Duster seems to be a little more refined, but the EcoSport is cheaper and looks a little more appealing on the inside and the outside. Take a test drive before you decide to get one.