Ford EcoSport review: Aggressive, menacing and jazzy SUV

Updated: Jul 1 2013, 20:02pm hrs
Ford EcoSportOpen-mouthed grille is enhanced with sleek headlamps that render Ford EcoSport with an international level Ford Fiesta face. (
Ford EcoSport review: The gradual surge in the fuel prices has made the Indian car enthusiasts and other people see an entirely fresh trend. The lucrative Indian car market that was out and out, bent more towards hatchbacks and sedans to a certain extent, is now changing trends and falling towards the UV (utility vehicle) segment. The reason for this shift is cited with the fact that besides, offering decent space for your daily trips, the UVs are also useful for longer journeys, thereby saving fuel.

The automobile manufacturers automatically started looking to enhance their portfolios for the growing Indian market with their respective manufactured utility vehicles. The American auto major, Ford is also not behind in this prevalent trend with the introduction of Ford EcoSport, which was the most anticipated launch of the year. The SUV has taken an 18 month gestation period to get it Indianized, for the company was aggressively testing the EcoSport in the country and the one that has been launched is almost 70% locally manufactured.

The advantage of localizing the EcoSport is that the pricing of the SUV can be set aggressively. This SUV was first put on display for the public eye, at the 2012 Automobile Expo held in Delhi, and unlike many other vehicles that go through the process of developmental changes like the change avatars that is, from a larger than life visual on board, to the notched down clay models, and then, to the more realistic production versions. Whereas, the charming Ford EcoSport seemed to have skipped the steps entailed in the Change avatar process and straightaway headed into the production line from the drawing board.

This rugged SUV comes with an unconventional design, which is not at all jarring to the eye. Ford EcoSports design is aggressive, menacing and jazzy with an urban touch screaming for attention, and this queer combination works perfectly as well as adds freshness. Ford is counting a lot on the EcoSport, for it can be the fate changer for the company, and so, the company engineers have burnt the proverbial mid night oil in order to give it an Indian face.

Ford EcoSport is spawned on Ford Fiestas B2E platform which, although is very resourceful, however, was used initially to build a sedan. The EcoSport SUV cannot be termed as a sedan, but the onlooker gets a feeling that it is a three-box vehicle. When it comes to the exteriors of the SUV, the EcoSport manages to gain brownie points with its compact SUV looks and aerodynamic characteristics. The interiors are superb with ample amount of room space and comfort features that make the cabin experience pleasant for the occupants. The SUV comes loaded with a sophisticated audio system with speakers, a remote control along with other input options such as, a USB and Aux-In interfaces. This audio unit also has Bluetooth connectivity that makes it easier for the buyers to pair their phone with the music system, and have a hands free operation of the mobile phone. The multifunctional steering wheel has been equipped with mounted audio and phone buttons, which further adds to the practicality of this SUV. Apart from all these, the company has also equipped this upcoming Ford EcoSport SUV with several other gadgets as well.

Fuel Economy:

The company is offering this latest Ford EcoSport SUV with three engine options, of which two are the petrol ones and the remaining, a diesel mill for the customers to choose from. All the three engines of this amazing SUV have carved their own niche, and have become extremely popular in their own genre. The revolutionary 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine has surprised the auto analysts with the amount of power and torque figures it offers out, and so does the fuel efficiency figures, which makes it a real good option. The company claims that this engine has the ability to generate approximately 18.90kmpl, which is quite good. The 1.5-litre diesel and petrol engines are not far behind, especially the 1498cc TDCi engine, which is capable of offering between 22 to 23kmpl, a range that depends on the driving ability as well. While, the 1.5-litre petrol mill comes with two sets of gearboxes, one is the five-speed manual transmission, which is being claimed to generate a healthy fuel economy of about 16.15kmpl. On the other hand, the other automatic version equipped with a six-speed automatic gearbox is claimed to be able to produce about 16 to 17kmpl, which is rather impressive.

Power Generation and Acceleration:

There are three engines powering the Ford EcoSport SUV in the Indian market. Talking about the petrol engines seen doing duty in the Ford EcoSport SUV, the smallest 999cc, 3-cylinder engine, which has earned accolades from the entire industry generates an output of 123BHP at 6000RPM along with a pounding torque of 170Nm at 1400 to 4500RPM and comes mated to the five speed manual transmission gearbox. The bigger 1.5-litre TiVCT, 4-cylinder petrol engine also doing duty in the EcoSport SUV offers about 110BHP at 6300RPM and a peak torque of 140Nm at 4400RPM and comes with the option of a 5-speed manual as well as a 6-speed automatic transmission gearbox for the buyers to select from. When it comes to the diesel engine prowess, the 1498cc, 4-cylinder TDCi oil burner has the capacity to churn out 89BHP at 3750RPM and a hammering maximum torque of 204Nm at 2000 to 2750RPM. The TDCi engine comes mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission gearbox for increased efficiency.

On the other hand, the 1.5-litre petrol engine comes skillfully mated with a manual and an automatic gearbox transmission to choose from, which helps in better pick up, as well as the peppy acceleration of this compact SUV. The 1.0-litre revolutionary Ecoboost petrol motor has the capacity to churn out a maximum torque output of 170Nm along with a peak power yield that makes this new SUV to attain a formidable top speed of about 190kmph, which is rather exciting. This top speed can be attained by this new engine in just about 11seconds. Whereas, the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine also produces pertinent power and torque output that is said to be able to attain an exciting top speed of close to 175kmph, rather impressive for an SUV of this size and stature. This top speed can be achieved in just about 11.9 seconds by this powerful diesel mill. The sprint capability of this all-new Ford EcoSport SUV is superb with the amount of kerb weight these engines manages to pull off smoothly and efficiently.

External Appearance and Dimensions:

The first take on this captivating Ford EcoSport SUV by any onlooker is that, this awesome mean machine comes with eccentric looks, which although appears rugged, but at the same time not quite uncomfortable. This mean machine from the house of Ford Motors is based on their charming sedan's Ford Fiesta B2E platform, which although is multi-usable, but was first used to build this sedan. No one looking at this Ford EcoSport, can see the tell tale designs of a sedan on the exteriors however, the SUV has a three box feeling lurking behind the muscular frame. The multi-layered trapezoidal grille has an aggressive stance and intimidates the customers. The open-mouthed grille is enhanced with sleek headlamps that render Ford EcoSport with an international level Ford Fiesta face. The front fascia is curvaceous and comes with a wide stance. There are prominent lines going from the hood to the mid line, and straight to the center of the front headlamps. As preferred by the Indian consumers, Ford has used a lot of chrome garnish from the hood line to the fog lamps, and the entire radiator grille has been provided with some chrome treatment. The side profile is very muscular and the aerodynamics flow in sectional lines, from hood to the A-pillar, and going further to the rear end of the SUV. The road presence of the vehicle is intimidating with the aggressive wheel arches that are flared and accommodate the 15 / 16 wheels depending on the version that offer an outstanding 200mm of ground clearance with the chassis.

The build and characteristics of this SUV are further amplified with the wrap around windscreen and black cladding. The rear end comes loaded with the perfectly installed boot lid opener and the right rear tail lamp cluster with the rear spoiler. At the low rear end, this SUV comes with reflectors with reverse lamps, the advantage of the reverse lamps is that it does not hamper other drivers eye and offers superb illumination. With the Ford EcoSport, the American auto major has gone all compact and limited the length of the SUV under 4 meter, making the EcoSport gain from the subsidy given to the under 400 meter vehicles and tagging the SUVs overall dimensions at 3999mm X 1765mm X 1708mm.

Interiors and Comfort Functions:

Do not be fooled with the compact exteriors of the Ford EcoSport SUV, for the cabin area offers amazing space and getting in and out of the EcoSport is relatively smooth because of its tall stance. The Ford Fiesta inspiration is not only limited to the exteriors, but rather touches the interiors as well. The dual tone beige and black shades add a depth to the cabin area. The seat upholstery is rendered as per the variant and turns the ambiance plush. The central console is quite big and again adopted from the Fiesta, and comes with blue color illumination and silver lining around the AC vents.

The central instrument cluster offers various information such as the audio system display, speedometer and alarm along with the rear parking camera view. The steering wheel is light to manouvre, comes with three spokes and silver inserts with surmounted audio and phone controls. The headroom and leg space are amazing with the driver seat getting a perfect commanding view of the road. The rear seat can accommodate three passengers, but the chunky door design gobbles up a bit more space and crowding it for the rear bench. The fit and finish of the plush upholstery are things to speak of, and every single variant gets its specialized one. The boot space is 346litres, which can be further enhanced with the 60:40 split feature plus the loading and extraction of luggage is easy with the low boarding height of the SUV.

The luxuriant Ford EcoSport cabin area is rendered with not only some practical features but also, the company has tried to make the inside experience as comfortable as possible to all its passengers. The interiors are refined, and include a powerful and efficient air conditioning system, which keeps a check on the outside temperature and adjust accordingly.

The windows are automatic with the electric remote boot lid opener and an adjustable tilt power steering that is very responsive, and helps in maneuvering the city roads very easily. This latest Ford EcoSport SUV also comes loaded with a powerful music system with a CD player and several input options such as, a USB Port and Aux-In, in addition to FM radio, speakers and Bluetooth connectivity that gives a whole lot of varied options to the occupants. On top of all this, the driver seat gets to be of adjustable type, the external rear view mirrors get to be electrically adaptable and the front wipers get to be with variable intermittent nature.

Then, there is a day, night inside rear view mirror, a front power point of 12V for charging mobiles, and other equipment. This compact SUV also gets a couple of cup holders attached to the front center console besides foldable grab handles with coat hooks above the rear doors. The door trim gets fabric inserts, which are expected to be accompanied by a vibrant coral IP, and a deluxe floor console. The central console and the instrument cluster have quite a number of warning and notification lamps to keep the driver updated with the vital statistics of the vehicle.

Some of these notifications are expected to be a combination of a digital odometer and a trip-meter, which helps the driver in keeping track of the distance traveled, and of the distance that can be further covered before the fuel tank gets empty. This is to keep the driver updated about re-fueling, hence, a low fuel-warning lamp, a chime if the headlamp is left turned on after switching off the ignition are few in addition to a few more similar useful notifications. Apart from all these, there are a few other storage spaces to help the passengers keep a few important things handy for whenever they need them.

Engine Specifications:

This all-new Ford EcoSport comes with a host of three engines that generate power and torque figures to churn the wheels of this SUV. The three-engine line-up incorporates two petrol and one diesel power train, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, the 1.5L TiVCT engine (petrol) and a 1.5L CRDi diesel engine. The new and innovative 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine comes with 3-cylinders and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission gearbox that offers 123BHP at 6000RPM and 170Nm at 1400 4500RPM. The bigger 1.5-litre TiVCT, 4-cylinder petrol engine also doing duty in the EcoSport SUV offers 110BHP at 6300RPM and a peak torque of 140Nm at 4400RPM, and comes with the option of 5-speed manual as well as, a 6-speed automatic transmission gearbox. When it comes to the diesel engine, the 1498cc, 4-cylinder based TDCi mill has the capacity to churn out 89BHP at 3750RPM and a torque of 204Nm at 2000 to 2750 RPM. The diesel motor comes skillfully mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox for increased efficiency.

Safety Functions:

The vehicles manufactured by the company are known for their amazing grip that they offer on the roads and this compact SUV is no less. The hydraulic shocks suspension along with the hydraulic damping, again speaks well about the manufacturer, and the company has spent nights to fine tune the ride and handling of the SUV. The braking system includes disc brakes at the front and the rear end, which easily puts a stop to this hefty vehicle. No body-roll complaints whatsoever, even though the EcoSport is built on a sedan platform, however there is a little screech in case of emergency braking with a little bit of nose diving. In all, this compact Ford EcoSport is a sure-footed SUV that is plaint with any surface and offers a cushy, shock free drive.

Offering a smooth drive, the Ford EcoSport SUV has also been equipped with some crucial active and passive safety features that have been brought on board to ensure that the damage can be minimized, and the occupants are safeguarded in case of a bad happenings. To begin with, there are six airbags offered, dual front airbags for added protection of the front passengers along with the side curtain airbags.

Along with the seat belts for all the passengers and central locking, the SUV automatically locks all the doors when it senses movement. Then EcoSport SUV is also rendered with ESP (electronic stability program), rear parking sensors, a hill start assist, ABS (anti lock braking system) along with EBD (electronic brake force distribution). Apart from all these, there is a new feature incorporated and christened as SYNC, which alerts the emergency services automatically in case of hazardous situation, emergency braking or if an airbag is set out. All these aspects put together make this newly launched compact SUV, one of the most admired vehicles in its segment.

Advantages: Aggressive pricing, localized production, stylish exterior appearance, good handling, comfort and safety features.

Disadvantages: Boot space is quite less, interior space and material quality can be better, engine sound can be reduced.

( - Ford Ecosport in India )