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Ford EcoSport review, test drive

Ford has launched the EcoSport all guns blazing and that means 10 variants with three engine options – two petrols (a 1.0-litre and a 1.5-litre) and of course, a diesel. There’s also a twin-clutch automatic option, but only with the 1.5 petrol.

Ford has launched the EcoSport all guns blazing and that means 10 variants with three engine options - two petrols (a 1.0-litre and a 1.5-litre) and of course, a diesel. There's also a twin-clutch automatic option, but only with the 1.5 petrol.

We've got with us the two versions that will undoubtedly be the most popular ones - the now almost mythical 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, which Ford has been pushing hard, and the 1.5-litre diesel - an engine we know from the Ford Fiesta.

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With the EcoSport in showrooms now, the time is ripe for a full test - on the roads we know, through the same crazy traffic we face every morning and on the highways we regularly cruise down.

Design

At just a millimetre under the four-metre mark, the EcoSport has taken full advantage of the 'small car' regulations, which give huge cost benefits to cars of sub-four-metre length. But as a result, it's a small footprint, and the EcoSport needs all the help it can get to give it that all-important SUV look. It achieves this largely through the massive and completely oversized octagonal grille that contrasts with slim headlamps. Then there's the high bonnet and beltline, the black plastic cladding that runs along the lower part of the body, and the tailgate-mounted spare wheel - all nods to the gods of SUVs. That said, the high waistline and tall sides do make the 16-inch wheels on the EcoSport look a tad undersized. The 15-inch ones that come on the lower trim variants would look even more puny.

The overall shape comes across as tightly skinned, futuristic and, when viewed from the front, very 'in your face'. There are nice details, like the wraparound rear screen and the tailgate handle hidden in the tail-light.

The EcoSport is based on Ford's B2E Fiesta platform. The suspension layout is straightforward, with independent MacPherson struts in the front and a non-independent torsion beam rear axle. The steering is electrically assisted and here's the clever bit about it - it's equipped with Pull-Drift Compensation and Active Nibble Control. The former adjusts the power steering to help compensate for the pulling and drifting that crowned roads, off-camber surfaces and crosswinds can cause. Ford says the latter senses and eliminates the shimmy felt at the steering wheel if a wheel is out of balance or if a brake rotor is warped.

Other interesting bits include the special attention paid to improving refinement - in addition to the sound-deadening materials in the doors, roof and body, there's a double-sealing system for the doors, improved glass sealing and an acoustic headliner inside the cabin to help absorb ambient noise.

Ford is also keen to point out the EcoSport's 'off-roading' abilities. As such, it has 200mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 25 degrees and a departure angle of 35 degrees. They also claim it can wade through 550mm of water.

All in all, the EcoSport with the EcoBoost engine weighs in at 1259kg - comparable to a large hatch.

Interiors

The Titanium Optional edition has keyless entry, so with the key in your pocket, all you need do is press a button on the chunky door handle to open the door. The high stance makes getting in and out really easy and once you settle into the front buckets, you'll find they have plenty of bolstering, but they do feel a bit narrow because of extra side support. The long seat travel and a steering that adjusts for rake and reach means you won't have a problem getting comfortable.

Performance

The EcoBoost engine has some fantastic bits about it. It's a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, direct-injection, turbo-petrol making 123bhp - exceptional for its size.

Handling

Fords have always been entertaining to drive and the EcoSport is no exception. It starts with the steering, which is light and yet full of feel and connectedness to the road. It's incredibly direct with little slack, and is in fact, one of the best electric steering systems we have experienced in this price bracket. Add to this a noticeable lack of pitching and rolling and lots of grip, and you have a car that makes driving hard really enjoyable. In the EcoBoost version, the ride is remarkably pliant, allowing only the sharper bumps to thud through. The suspension is really silent, thanks in part to the hydraulic bump stops and Ford's additional sound insulation that keeps noise levels in the cabin down to impressive levels.

Efficiency

With an engine that has the same displacement as the Alto K10's and makes more power than a Honda City's, the EcoBoost engine's fuel economy is impressive. We got 11.8kpl in the city and 17kpl on the highway. The diesel is even more efficient. The 13.3kpl city and 18.6kpl highway figures are both quite impressive.

Verdict

Ford has thrown everything at the EcoSport to make it a truly remarkable package. In fact, it's got almost everything - the strong, in-your-face styling is sure to appeal to Indian tastes, the engines are extremely competent and the ride and handling are really well sorted. Like most Fords, the EcoSport is a joy to drive, which is a large part of its appeal. It may not be so strong on the practical side with its shortage of cabin space and small boot, but the compact dimensions make it city friendly and easy to park. Ford has also packed the EcoSport to the gills with equipment, with several first-in-class features. And to top off what is a well-rounded SUV, Ford has launched it at a clever price. There's no doubt Ford has produced a winner.

Technical Specs

Fact File


Engine
Fuel Petrol / Diesel
Installation Front, transverse
Type 4 cyls, 999cc / 4 cyls 1498cc turbo diesel
Bore/stroke 71.9/ 82, 73.5/88.3
Compression ratio 10.0, 16.0:1
Valve gear 4 valves per cyl DOHC / 2 valves per cyl SOHC
Power 123bhp at 6000rpm, 90 bhp at 3750rpm
Torque 17.33kgm at 1400-4500rpm, 20.8 at 2000-2750rpm
Power to weight 97.69 / 69.76bhp per tonne
Torque to weight 13.76/16.12kgm per tonne
Transmission
Type Front wheel drive
Gearbox 5-speed maunal
Dimensions
Length 3999mm
Width 1765mm
Height 1708mm
Wheel base 2520mm
Boot volume 362 litres
Ground clearance 200mm
Chassis & Body
Construction Five-door, Monocoque SUV
Weight 1259/ 1290kg
Wheels 16-inch
Tyres 205/60R16
Spare Full size
Suspension
Front Independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Rear Semi-independent, stabiliser bar
Steering
Type Rack and pinion
Type of power assist Electric
Turning circle 10.6m
Brakes
Front Ventilated discs
Rear drums
Anti-lock Yes
Performance
0-20 1.60/ 1.33
0-40 3.32/3.18
0-60 5.79/5.88
0-80 8.71/9.47
0-100 12.54/13.72
0-120 17.01/20.96
0-140 24.07/-

  • First Published Date : 30 Jul 2013, 11:58 AM IST