EcoSport was the original mini SUV of India. In fact, it led the way in the sub-compact SUV space and was the market leader in the segment for quite long. But with competitors fast catching up, Ford has come out with a much-awaited facelift. The new EcoSport, with its new looks, better efficiency and a new petrol motor, can give its rivals a good run for their money.
EcoSport took birth in Latin America. The plucky little Ford that came out of the Fiesta platform was first launched in Brazil in 2003. The subcompact crossover became quite popular very soon. When a new generation EcoSport was launched in 2013, among other countries, it came to India too. Today, EcoSport is truly a world car with presence in most markets, including China and Japan.
EcoSport has been the bestseller for Ford in India, with more than 2.5 lakh units sold in the country so far. In a category that doesn't see much movement, it was a big achievement. In fact, it was Ford that began a new segment – the sub-4m crossover SUV - with EcoSport in India.
Now, over to the new EcoSport.
The new petrol
The biggest change in the new model is the new petrol engine. The 3-cylinder Dragon motor, which replaces the old 1.5 Sigma, is more powerful, silent and more fuel efficient than the old engine. In fact, it is close to 7% more fuel efficient.
The three-cylinder motor doesn't show the vibration or lack of smoothness generally associated with three-pots. Moreover, with 123bhp (brake horse power), it has more power than its diesel sibling. It is very close to the turbocharged, technologically superior 1.0 EcoBoost motor, which is rated at 125 bhp. Anyways, EcoBoost engine, which used to be imported and had meagre sales, has been pulled from India.
The thrust comes from 150Nm of torque. The engine is available in a choice of 5-speed manual and 6-speed automatic gearboxes. The 1.5 litre diesel mill is carried over from the old model and continues to impress you with its linear power delivery.
Ford claims that there are 1,600 changes, including a new front with a more aggressive grille, to the new car in the comparison to the outgoing EcoSport. The prominent exterior changes include LED DRLs, projector headlamps, fog lamp and 17-inch alloy wheels. New exterior color options include new shades of blue and red.
Inside, the cabin has a fresh feel with an all-new dash. The old infotainment system is gone. Instead, it now houses an 8-inch touchscreen panel designed in a floating format at the center of the dashboard, a la BMW and Mercedes. It offers the best visibility. The new seats are also attractive. From the base model, airbags and ABS are standard. The top model has six airbags.
The new petrol engine is a gem. It impresses instantly with its refinement, superb driveability and capability to pull from low revs. The knowledge that there is enough bhp at one's disposal, driving becomes enjoyable. It is quick enough too.
The petrol is available in both manual and automatic transmissions. Gear shifts are quite seamless even in the manual version. The mileage is rated at 17km per liter for the manual and 14.8 km per liter for the automatic. The diesel will provide you a mileage of 23 km per liter.
No price rise
The ex-showroom prices include Rs 7.31 lakh to Rs 9.17 lakh for petrol models; the automatic versions from Rs 9.34 lakh to Rs 10.99 lakh and diesel between Rs 8.01 lakh and 10.67 lakh.
Test drive: Kairali Ford Ph. 9961044444