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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

Last updated on: May 14, 2013 06:20 IST

Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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Faisal Ali Khan

The car is based on the Fiesta platform and will compete with Renault Duster in India, writes Faisal Ali Khan of MotorBeam.com. 


The Ford EcoSport was unveiled way back in January 2012 and is yet to hit Indian roads. The reason for the delay in the launch is localisation.

Ford really wants to price its compact SUV very aggressively and is therefore working on localising it heavily.

The EcoSport to be sold in India will have close to 70 per cent local content, which will be increased to 85 per cent over time. This helps in positioning the EcoSport as a value for money vehicle.

The company likes to call the EcoSport an Urban SUV. The car is based on the Fiesta platform and will compete with Renault Duster in India.

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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We get the second-generation model; the first gen model was launched in Brazil in 2003 and has been a runaway success. There will be four variants on offer - Ambiente, Trend, Titanium and Titanium (option).

The Ford EcoSport boasts of very aggressive styling. The front is highlighted by the large hexagonal grille, which has chrome lining. The high-rise bonnet has lines, which extend to the A-pillar and flow to the rear of the vehicle.

The side profile reveals the rather small dimensions of the EcoSport, which being a sub 4-metre vehicle isn't any longer than a premium hatchback.

The 205/60/16 inch alloy wheels look really good (15-inch steel wheels on Trend and Ambiente variants).

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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The rear of the car is pure eye candy highlighted by the tail gate mounted spare wheel, wrap around rear windscreen and integrated rear spoiler. Ford has very cleverly integrated the boot lid opener inside the right rear tail light.

The EcoSport gets roof rails along with a body cladding which runs on the lower side of the entire car. The styling is sure to attract many people to the EcoSport and the company hasn't changed the concept vehicle much.

The small dimensions on the outside haven't resulted in a cramped cabin. The interiors of the EcoSport have generous amount of space at both the front and the rear.

The seats are very well cushioned and offer good amount of legroom and under thigh support. Even the headroom is adequate for tall passengers.

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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The driver seat gets adjustable steering wheel (for reach and rake) along with lumbar support adjustment and an arm rest. There is no arm rest for the co-driver or the rear seat passengers, which is surprising.

The EcoSport is not that wide and thus the rear seat can only accommodate two passengers in comfort, a third is a tight fit. Thus the EcoSport is best as a 4-seater.

The AC chills quickly and sound quality from the audio system is excellent for a factory system (there are 4-speakers).

The EcoSport comes loaded with features including 6 airbags, ABS, hill hold assist, ESP, steering mounted audio controls, climate control, alloy wheels, leather seats, SYNC, push button start, keyless entry, etc. Some of these features are offered only in top end variants.

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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Ford debuts its SYNC system in the EcoSport. This system has been co-developed with Microsoft and helps in pairing mobile and music devices (via AUX or USB ports and Bluetooth).

One can make handsfree calls, read text messages, send preset messages, change audio track, etc via voice commands. This system works flawlessly and easily understand the Indian voice.

The company is also offering SYNC emergency assistance in the EcoSport, a feature which is offered for free for the life time of the vehicle.

This system makes an emergency call to 108 in case of an accident (when an airbag is deployed or fuel pump shut off is activated).

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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The EcoSport comes with 20 storage areas, including nine bottle holders and a chilled glove box.

The boot space isn't that big at just 346 litres but the rear seats can be folded in 60:40 ratio to boost luggage carrying capacity (Ford claims a washing machine can fit with the seats folded).

There are two charging ports, each at the front and rear. The cabin is well insulated from outside noise and one can comfortably have a conversation in the car without raising their voice.

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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The EcoSport is offered with three engines (mileage figures in brackets are all ARAI certified).

The 1.5-litre petrol engine produces 112 PS of power and 140 Nm of torque, paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox (15.8 kmpl) and 6-speed PowerShift gearbox (15.6 kmpl).

The 1.5-litre diesel engine generates 91 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox (22.7 km/l).

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine produces 125 PS of power and 170 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox (18.9 kmpl). We had a chance to the drive the 1.0-litre petrol powered EcoSport.

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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The 1.0-litre EcoBoost is a 3-cylinder unit, which has received the 2012 International engine of the year award.

This turbocharged motor gives the power of a 1.6-litre engine, while consuming 20 per cent less fuel. The EcoBoost engine is simply fantastic and never feels like a 3-pot unit, with very good refinement on offer.

There is some turbolag below 1,600 RPM, post which the EcoBoost engine pulls strongly - 0-100 km/hr takes 10.8 seconds. The top speed is in excess of 190 km/hr. Power delivery is very linear and there is no kick in the pants feel.

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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In-gear acceleration is good and you don't need to shift gears that often. Reaching triple digit speeds is a breeze and the EcoBoost engine sounds sporty and pulls strongly to its 6,800 RPM odd redline.

Ford cars are known to be handlers and the EcoSport is no exception. There is very little body roll and the EcoSport darts into corners with good precision.

The steering is quite light at low speeds and weighs up at high speeds, although we still found it lacking enough feedback and weight.

Ride quality is good, even at the rear but there is some harshness over really bad roads. Brakes are strong with good bite but there is a slight nose dive on heavy braking.

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Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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Ford EcoSport is made for Indian roads

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The company has made special tyres for the EcoSport (MRF ZV2K and Goodyear Assurance), which offer reduced road noise and higher economy. However the tyres are bad when it comes to grip and they tend to screech on heavy braking or enthusiastic cornering.

High-speed stability is good but the tyres really spoil the fun and dynamics of the capable chassis.

The Ford EcoSport boasts of class leading 550 mm of water wading capacity. It has a ground clearance of 200 mm, which makes it at home on our bad Indian roads.

Ford's new urban SUV is a well rounded package, although interior quality is just about average, the styling and driving dynamics are very good.

The pricing will be the key to the EcoSport's success and if Ford prices the vehicle aggressively, it is sure to dust away the competition.


Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam.com

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