By on May 13, 2013

Ford_EcoSport-Front

The Ford EcoSport is a compact SUV which was first launched in Brazil way back in 2003. Now Ford has brought in the second generation model, which will go on sale in more than 100 markets across the globe. Based on the Fiesta’s B-car platform, the EcoSport is designed to attract buyers in emerging markets like China, Brazil and India. The vehicle measures around 4-meters in length (3,999 mm in India to duck it under the government’s 4-meter mark, without factoring in the spare wheel) and is no longer than a regular hatchback. The design is evokes mixed reaction and some might love it, while others might simply hate it. A large hexagonal chrome grille adorns the front while the spare wheel has been mounted on the tailgate at the rear. A black body cladding runs throughout the lower side of the car. The boot lid opener has been integrated inside the right rear tail light.

Ford_EcoSport_Dashboard

The dashboard comes form the Fiesta and is quite big. Comfort inside the cabin is top-notch with very supportive seats. Even leg room at the rear is good, with scooped front seat back and deep footwells giving good space to rear passengers. Quality inside leaves a lot to be desired. Many parts look cheap and are built to a price. Ford has skipped on some basic things like an engine cover, engine guard and twin-blade wipers. However, it has loaded the vehicle with features like SYNC, 6 airbags, parking sensors, push button start, keyless entry, hill hold assist, ESP, ABS, audio controls on steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, etc. Some of these features are available only on the top-end Titanium variants. The trunk is quite small with just a 346-liter capacity, at least the rear seats can be folded (60:40 ratio) to increase volume to 705-liters. The cabin is well insulated with little outside noise creeping in. The audio system sounds fantastic for a factory setup, the AC is simply amazing and chills in no time even in 32 degrees C temperatures of Goa.

Ford_EcoSport_Side

The Ford EcoSport will be offered in India with three engines. A 1.5-litre gasoline Ti-VCT motor with a power of 112 hp and a torque of 140 Nm, mated to both a 5-speed manual and 6-speed automatic. A 1.5-litre diesel TDCi with a power of 91 hp and a torque of 200 Nm, mated to a 5-speed manual. The third engine is the most talked about, it’s the 2012 International engine of the year, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost mill with 125 hp and 170 Nm of output. I had a chance to drive the EcoSport powered by the EcoBoost engine. This engine is claimed to give the power of a 1.6-litre engine while consuming 20% less fuel.

Ford_EcoSport_Speed

Performance from this 3-cylinder engine is fantastic, with extremely good refinement and good progress throughout the power band. There is turbo lag till 1600 RPM, after which the EcoBoost engine pulls cleanly in a linear fashion (no kick in the pants feel here). There are no issues with NVH till 4500 RPM, after which a slight amount of vibrations can be felt through the pedals. 0-100 km/hr should take less than 11 seconds and top speed is around 190 km/hr. This engine simply doesn’t feel like a 1.0-litre, 3-pot unit and also helps Ford to get excise duty benefits in India (sub 4-metre cars with less than 1.2-litre engine capacity in gasoline or less than 1.5-litre engine capacity in diesel are subjected to half the excise duty, 12% against 24%).

Ford_EcoSport_Rear

Ford cars are known to be very involving to drive, the EcoSport is no different. Handling is crisp and the steering is very light at low speeds and decently weighed at high speeds (could have felt heavier and offered more feedback like the Fiesta though). Ride quality is good both at the front and rear but the EcoSport feels a bit harsh on real bad roads, there are plenty of such roads in India. Braking is good too but there is a small dive under hard braking. The biggest spoil sports are indeed the tires, which have been specially developed for lower road noise and higher economy. They tend to lose grip early and start screeching.

Ford_EcoSport_India

The Ford EcoSport is clearly not a car for the developed world. It is too small with cost cutting at several areas. However for emerging markets, it’s an excellent bet. It has 200 mm of ground clearance and a water wading capability of 550 mm. With looks which will mostly please Indians and driving dynamics which are surefooted, the EcoSport is bound to be a success in India. It is already outselling the Renault Duster in Brazil, which although a bigger car, is not as feature loaded as the Ford. The EcoSport will be sold in Europe, positioned below the Kuga and there are plans to bring in a 4-wheel drive version as well.

Easy maneuverability in congested city conditions along with easy parking and low-cost of purchase are sure to win people’s hearts in Europe. Do you think the EcoSport makes much sense in the developed world?

Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.

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28 Comments on “Ford EcoSport 1.0-Litre EcoBoost (India Spec) Review...”


  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    You mention that it’s not a car for the developed world, but I think it would sell very well in Britain (and maybe to holiday rental fleets in Southern Europe) if it was priced and marketed right. The cheap Dacia Duster is selling very strongly here already.

    • 0 avatar
      LDMAN1

      The limiting factor to selling this car in Europe or any other developed markets could be the crash test results. I am not too convinced that it would fare well in the EURONCAP or any other major testing institution. This could turn EU buyers off.

    • 0 avatar
      AG4

      @spreadsheet monkey, the Euro spec EcoSport was recently unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show last March.
      http://www.rushlane.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ford-ecosport-at-2013-geneva-motor-show-1.jpg

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Indeed the first impression I had upon seeing the interior photograph was “that’s a tall dashboard.”

    Having listened to more than a few clips of 1.0 Ecoboost engines at full song, it’s good to know the gangbusters tone is endemic to all markets; it appears to be the one to beat for the economy car segment.

    And while many will definitely decry the choice of tires, at least those are easy to upgrade; I don’t mind when an automaker ends up skimping on the skins if it’s offset in areas that aren’t as easy to change, such as interior features.

    Though I can’t imagine too many metro dwellers who need a half meter-plus of fording capability, it’s nice to know it’s there for those cases where temporary flooding can render those occasional problem areas impassable for most vehicles. I can see this being a hit in any urban area.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    How much longer will the US be considered a “developed” nation. So many of our roads are already India Spec.

    I think a 4WD version would do well in snow country and for seniors generally due to ergonomics. Only one way to find out.

    Tall & cheap, they’ll make the leap.

  • avatar
    mshenzi

    In the US this might carve out a new niche, but it might be the answer to a question nobody asked. Its size/price point looks about on par with the Suzuki SX4, which didn’t exactly set the market on fire here, (OK, that could’ve been the brand).

  • avatar
    dwford

    This is an emerging segment in the US, with the Buick Encore, Nisan Juke, upcoming smaller Honda CUV etc. The EcoSport would be a nice addition to Ford’s lineup.

  • avatar
    sw2092

    ‘… a car not for the developed world’? We get the EcoSport in Australia this December… I’ve noticed a bit of development here lately…

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I want one!

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    Am I crazy? I want one of these!

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The interior looks like it sort of melted, but a not terrible looking car. Don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t sell in the undeveloping US. Isn’t this Rav-4, CR-V territory, maybe for less? Sounds like a good deal.

    • 0 avatar
      AG4

      @thelaine, no the EcoSport is a segment smaller. Its the Ford Escape (aka Kuga Mk2) that competes with the Rav4 and CR-V.
      The EcoSport is based on a modified Fiesta platform. Its a B-segment crossover, a subcompact.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    I hope the interior looks better IRL than in that photo.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Love the concept but those gauges look like a female WALL-E face.

  • avatar
    afflo

    I kinda like it. i’ll take one with:

    two doors
    pop-out front roof panel
    rear soft-top (think Isuzu Amigo)
    rubber flooring/water resistant seats, removable rear seats to use is as a little trucklet (think Honda Element).

    Basic design, small footprint, great mileage, and fun-in-the-sun design.

    There used to be a ton of “cheap-jeeps”: Toyota Rav4, Kia Sportage, Suzuki Sidekick/Geo Tracker, Isuzu Amigo. I always thought the rear convertible with a pop-out moonroof was the best compromise between a full hardtop mini-ute and the the refined-as-a-John-Deere Jeep Wrangler, especially for someone who really doesn’t have any need for Rubicon-Ready components.

    If Scion is Toyota’s experimental brain-tank brand, maybe they’ll come up with one, one day.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    “Ford has skipped on some basic things like an engine cover, engine guard and twin-blade wipers”

    I wish they would skip on that stupid engine cover on the models we get.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    “a water wading capability of 550 mm”

    Perfect for monsoon season, I guess.

    I’m wondering if a tire change would help with the harsh feeling on bad roads, in addition to the handling issues Mr. Khan mentioned.

    It seems like this car could fit in just fine in the US, especially since it’s in a category that seems to be growing. As afflo said, this category has been largely ignored of late in the US, but once had a lot more entrants that were better for more people than Wranglers.

    • 0 avatar

      Corntrollio, I am planning to get one for myself and do plan to change the tyres, will let you know the improvements. I suspect with better rubber, the EcoSport will be a whole lot better.

      As far as the harsh ride, that is India specific, roads are really in terrible state.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Depends on where in India I guess. Delhi has amazing new roads (although full of traffic), probably better than road quality in large parts of the US, but if you’re somewhere like Calcutta or outside of cities that have new shiny infrastructure, then the roads are terrible.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    To be honest, I rather like this one.

  • avatar
    Nick

    Given how many Trackers I saw back in the day, a westernized version of this would sell at a furious pace in Canada.


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