Ford Ecosport Review & First Drive

Ford EcoSport Overview

The new Ford EcoSport receives a mild facelift and the changes under the skin are what make a significant difference in the package. Gone is the critically acclaimed and award winning 1.0 EcoBoost engine that couldn’t find favour with Indian customers. The other 4-cylinder petrol has also been axed and in its place is a new 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder petrol that is lighter and promises to be more efficient as well. The new automatic transmission also assures to offer petrol buyers a smoother drive in the city. Ford also promises the cheapest cost of ownership in the class and this could be just the boost that the EcoSport needed to regain the ground it’s lost since it was launched in 2013.

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The addition of the new petrol engine and smooth automatic transmission have made the new Ford EcoSport lineup a lot more desirable. And the technology package has further brought it on par with the competition. Ford says that it has increased the level of localisation in the car from 60-65 per cent to nearly 85 per cent, and this has helped in pricing it very competitively.To top it all, the company is even promising that it will cost between 7 to 10 per cent lesser to maintain than even the Maruti Vitara Brezza. Taking all this into consideration, it seems that the EcoSport is all set to reclaim the limelight it received when it was launched in 2013. View offers on Ford Cars from Ford dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop.

Ford EcoSport Exterior

Even in its new avatar, the little SUV continues to be quintessentially EcoSport. Changes to the design are most noticeable at the front. The sleek headlamps have been shown the door. In its place are big, chunky units that make the EcoSport look angry. If you pick the top-spec Titanium or Titanium+ variant you get halogen projectors and a sweet daytime-running lamp setup too. Then there’s the new grille, which gets some neat hexagonal detailing. Of course, the hood has been resculpted to accommodate the new nose. Tying all of these elements together is the redesigned bumper. The prominent faux skid plate finished in dull silver adds another dollop of muscle.

In profile, there’s not much new. There’s no change to the sheet metal here, so it continues to sport a fuss-free, likeable design. The only noticeable difference is the new set of 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 205-section rubber. The large rims and the low profile tyres give it a sporty stance. The rear gets a redesigned cover for the spare wheel, but we’d be happier showing off the fifth alloy. The rear bumper has been worked upon as well, but the changes are of the blink-and-miss variety. The EcoSport looks every bit the compact SUV it should. The formula isn’t drastically different. But this works just fine. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right?

Ford EcoSport Interior

The EcoSport’s dash looked wow back in 2013, but as time passed it started to look a bit cluttered and fussy. Ford’s fixed that with an all-new dash that’s simple and functional. The all-black theme with piano black accents is sporty and there’s some conservative use of dull silver accents as well. What’s new here? Well, quite a lot. Kicking things off is the new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s integrated well into the new dash and also gets physical controls for the audio right under. Of course, there’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also gets Ford’s new SYNC3 tech (borrowed from the Endeavour) – which means the car can read out your text messages, and you can use voice commands too. Lower variants will get a 6.5-inch touchscreen sans Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, whereas the base-spec Ambiente will feature a simple audio player and Ford’s nifty phone dock. The screen is among the best we’ve used so far. It’s quick to respond to touch and swipe gestures are dealt with smartphone-like speed.

There’s a new steering wheel too that’s borrowed from the Ford Focus. It’s a meaty leather-wrapped three-spoke unit with well-defined contours at the ten and two positions. In the top-spec Titanium+ trim it gets buttons for cruise control and limiter over and above the usual buttons for music and phone. Like before, there’s tilt and telescopic adjust with a healthy range, so drivers of a variety of sizes will feel right at home. Then there’s the new instrument cluster. Compared to the rest of the interior, it does look a bit blah. The MID, although informative, is a bit too tiny. The monochrome dot matrix display doesn’t help its cause either. We reckon Ford could’ve gone a step ahead and offered a bigger (and coloured) display here. Also, a little dull silver accent around the dials would’ve added a bit of flair.

We mean that quite literally. The air-conditioning on the EcoSport is an absolute chiller. Yep, it still doesn’t get rear air-con vents, but we never felt the need for it. Even as the mercury soared past 35 degrees, the cabin was cold in no time. If you’re a sucker for stats, Ford says the air-conditioner on the EcoSport can cool the cabin from 50 to 25 degrees in 15 minutes. We’ve got no issues believing that.The cabin is a nice place to relax, and the reworked seats add to the comfort. Based on customer feedback, the two seats are wider, have better bolsters and softer cushioning. It does deliver in terms of support for the side and the lower back. Over to the rear, kneeroom is just about enough for a 6-footer to sit behind his own driving position. But there’s no way you’re fitting three of your friends together in the rear seat. There simply isn’t enough width. We’d use it as a four-seater, and use that well positioned rear armrest. The front occupants gets an armrest as well. But we think it’s positioned a bit too low. A little higher, and it’d have been equally usable for the co-driver as well. What’s good, though, is the deep cubby hole the armrest hides. Check for Ford EcoSport  in agropedia

Ford EcoSport Gearbox

The EcoSport now comes with just two engine options – a 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel. The petrol engine is an all-new 3-cylinder naturally aspirated unit. It makes a healthy 123PS of power and 150Nm of torque. This engine is more compact, lighter and is also claimed to be more efficient than the engine it replaces. Ford has gone to great lengths to quieten the thrummy nature of the 3-cylinder. There’s now a balancer to reduce vibrations and they even have the timing belt, which usually is open to the elements, running in an oil bath. At idle and start up, it still sounds like a typical 3-cylinder, but as soon as you get moving, it quietens down. It’s really nice to drive at city speeds because all that power has been focused around low- to mid-range rpm and trails off at higher revs.

The 1.5-litre diesel makes the same 100PS and 205Nm as before, but has received a different state of tune. The difference is not noticeable though, and the diesel is still a very pleasant motor to drive, with a very linear torque curve and barely any noticeable step up in acceleration when the turbo kicks in. What has increased though, with this new tune, is the claimed mileage which has now stands at 23kmpl, a good 3kmpl more than earlier. The petrol also promises one more kilometer per litre at a claimed efficiency of 17kmpl.

Another new and significant change to the EcoSport package is a new conventional automatic transmission that replaces the more advanced dual clutch transmission that was earlier offered with the previous 1.5-litre petrol power plant. This new transmission may be old school, but the way it behaves is much more suited to the EcoSport. It’s much better than the gearbox it replaces and at city duties, it feels quicker too. Shifts are butter smooth and though they are a little slower, they are much more predictable and you never feel unsure of what will happen when you punch the throttle. This allows you to get on with enjoying the drive and makes for effortless city commuting. Check for low interest car loans on Ford Ecosport at Fincarz.

Ford EcoSport Driving

Ford says the only changes it has made to the suspension is to the bushes, but this seems to have made quite a difference in the way the car rides. It goes over bumps and speed breakers in a much more composed fashion and while the suspension is still quite sporty, i.e. firm, there is very little sound that makes way into the cabin. Only really sharp bumps like level changes and rumble strips make their presence felt in the cabin. But those apart, the EcoSport is a very quiet place to ride in. Even road and engine noise at city speeds is very nicely controlled and this makes for an even more comfortable experience.

Like all Fords, steering feel is excellent and this combines well with the sporty suspension setup around corners. There is still some body roll that comes from the tall boy stance and the short wheelbase, but it’s still fairly well controlled. Together, they keep the sporty edge, that the EcoSport had, alive even today. What could do with some improvement though, are the Bridgestone Ecopia 205/50R17 tyres which don’t feel as if they offer as much grip as we know this chassis can handle.

Ford EcoSport Safety

This is an aspect where the EcoSport scores well. Dual airbags and ABS with EBD come as standard across the range. You also get speed sensing auto door locks and the top end variant gets 6 airbags. Ford also offers the emergency assist feature, which automatically calls up the emergency services in the event of an accident. The automatic gets added tech like EBA, ESC, traction control and hill-launch assist.

Ford EcoSport Price in Chennai

Ford Ecosport On-Road Price in Chennai ranges from 8,30,726 to 12,80,922 for variants EcoSport 1.5 TIVCT Petrol Ambiente and EcoSport 1.5 Diesel Platinum Edition respectively. Ford Ecosport is available in 11 variants and 8 colours. Below are details of Ford Ecosport variants price in Chennai,Check for Ecosport price in Chennai at Tryaldrive.

Ford EcoSport Final Thought

The Ford EcoSport has done well for Ford since its debut in 2013 and last year’s update brought it right back into the game with rivals like the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and the Tata Nexon. The styling changes on the EcoSport S may be subtle but work well in elevating the SUV’s upmarket feel. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine and new six-speed gearbox meanwhile make it more engaging to drive. On the whole, the EcoSport S is a well-packaged offering for someone wanting a feature-rich sub 4-metre SUV, and Ford is also going to town about its lower service costs.

Well, yes. With the update, the EcoSport has got its lost mojo back. But it isn’t a drastically different package from the compact SUV we’ve come to love over the past few years. Of course, this means that the cabin is still suited for four, not five, and if you want to have some fun you’d probably have to look at the diesel. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Dragon engine does its job beautifully. Yes, it isn’t sporty. But we won’t hold that against it because paired with that automatic transmission it delivers in spades inside the city. That’s where the EcoSport will spend most of its time, so that’s a tradeoff we’re willing to live with.

Finally, Ford’s expected to price the EcoSport quite aggressively since localisation levels have risen from 65 per cent to 85 per cent. To top things off, Ford claims that the EcoSport will be the cheapest to maintain in its class – 0.39 paisa/km (diesel) / 0.42 paisa/km (petrol) vs 0.62 paisa/km (Brezza). When you put all of these together, the EcoSport comes across as a package that’s impossible to ignore.

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