Ford India's EcoSport has been garnering popularity since its launch in 2012 due to the company's foresight in this particular segment. The sub-4 metre benefits also proved to be beneficial for the company to aggressively price it in the compact SUV segment which in the said year had few competitors when compared to the American brand. However, with the launch of new products in this segment, the EcoSport has been facing a troublesome time. Since the compact SUV from Ford had a limited set of features such as an infotainment system which looked dated, they had to strategise and quietly introduce a touchscreen unit. That, although wasn't enough as the ageing design which is still quite contemporary, has been taking a few hits from the Honda WR-V, the freshest in this space and the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the top seller in this segment.
News has been out for a number of months now that the American carmaker is working on a facelifted version of the new EcoSport, which will have subtle design changes, but the interiors would be heavily reworked. One of our readers, Vrashank Shah, recently shared a fresh set of images of the 2017 EcoSport being tested near the company's production facility on the outskirts of Chennai. According to the images, the updated version will have a design language similar to Ford's other models currently including a large hexagonal grille with horizontal chrome slats. The new Ecosport will also get fresh design for the headlamp cluster as well as larger fog lamp units compared to the existing model, which will add to the vehicle's road presence. Daytime Running Lamps will also be a part of the package, however, it is expected to be available on the higher trims of the vehicle only.
The side, as well as the rear, will broadly remain the same. Unlike previous speculations which stated that the updated EcoSport will have a conventional tailgate, the spare wheel mounted at the rear suggests the side opening tailgate format will be retained. The interiors of the updated EcoSport will be heavily reworked and the company will offer a touchscreen infotainment unit which will now pop out similar to premium SUVs such as the Audi Q7 model sold currently in India. Most likely, this will be the company's SYNC3 system with Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay capability as well as steering mounted audio and phone controls.
Powering the Ford EcoSport will be the existing set of engines, the 1.5 litre petrol and diesel duo as well as the 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol motor. While the 1.5 litre petrol unit will be available with a choice of automatic as well as manual gearboxes, the other two engines will come only with a manual transmission. Like a number of safety updates given to their entire range including mass-market cars such as the Figo as well as the Aspire, the facelift EcoSport is expected to be offered with dual front airbags and ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) as a standard fitment. Higher or top-end trims would also have side as well as curtain airbags.
Video: 2017 Ford EcoSport spotted testing in Chennai
With the introduction of the new Ford EcoSport, a number of potential customers may now wait for the official launch of the compact SUV as the Vitara Brezza is still not available off the shelf and has more than four weeks waiting on some variants. Other compact SUVs/ crossovers, the updated Ford EcoSport will go up include the Mahindra NuvoSport and TUV 300, Hyundai Active i20 and the Volkswagen Cross Polo.