The Ford EcoSport is arguably the most awaited car in India. The sub-four meter compact SUV with stunning looks is expected to be launched with a mouth-watering price tag – one that will pitch it directly against the C-Segment sedans. The EcoSport was first unveiled in the concept form at the 2012 Auto Expo and is already on sale in Brazil and China. We now have a lot more information of the upcoming SUV and here is the additional information including specs, features and other info in detail.
The EcoSport will be built at Ford’s plant in Chennai, from where it will also be exported to few other markets in Africa and Middle East. This probably the reason why the India launch has been delayed - Ford is trying to localize maximum components to keep prices in check.
The compact SUV segment is gaining popularity in India – the ride height of SUV, riding and handling of a sedan make them an apt choice on Indian roads. The Renault Duster has already demonstrated the opportunities in the steadily growing segment and there are few more lined-up from manufacturers like Honda (with their new Earth Dreams diesel engine), Hyundai and even Chevrolet. The Ford EcoSport has another advantage on this front – it is less than four meters in length and hence will be extremely maneuverable in city conditions.
The EcoSport will be powered by a tiny, frugal, extremely efficient and highly acclaimed three-cylinder 1,000cc petrol engine called the EcoBoost. Although the cubic capacity of the engine seems meager, it produces healthy 120bhp and 170Nm of torque with the help of turbocharging. This also means that it will be a lot more environment friendly as compared to most other vehicles in the segment. Although there many questions asked globally about the capabilities tiny engine with just 1.0-litre displacement, the post launch reviews from many global markets have been extremely positive.
The EcoSport will also get a diesel engine mill. The oilburner will be the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit from the 2011 Ford Fiesta developing 90bhp and 204Nm of torque. The Ford duratorq engine is also one of the most economical engine in the segment offering efficiency of around 20kpl on highway runs.
Both the petrol and diesel engines will be matted to five-speed manual transmission, powering the front wheels. The top-end petrol variants will also be available with Ford dual-clutch six-speed automatic gearbox, which is current available with the Fiesta.
The Ford EcoSport is based on the Amercian car maker’s new Kinetic design philosophy. The hexagonal front grille is the new signature styling already seen on the Ford figo facelift and the recently launched D-segment sedan Mondeo. Unlike the jazzy projector units seen on the concept, the production version gets conventional bulb and reflector units. Fortunately the design remains same and the sleek angular headlamp console looks really neat. The crossover appears really big when looked at from the front, thanks to the fared wheel arches; the roof-rails give the EcoSport a rugged feel. But it looks compact from the side, due to the sub-4 meter length.
The hind side of the EcoSport holds the integrity of the design. The taillamp design is also sharp that gels with the overall flow. Also the door-handle for the tailgate is integrated into the chrome elements of console (look closely at the right-side taillamps, the chrome unit is the door handle). The spare tyre adds to the bulk of the car making it look marginally bigger and has also helped Ford cut the length for tax subsidies.
Ford Ecosport has been spotted testing in India in numerous colours and we expect few of them to be on sale. The flagship bold orange colour will certainly be a part of the list the concept version was unveiled in this colour in India. The Ecosport was also spotted in the new Kinetic Blue and Bright Yellow colours - we hope these are part of the final offering. The colours look superb on the new Figo facelift and go well with the Ford’s new design philosophy.
Ride & Handling:
Just like all Ford cars the EcoSport is expected to be a good handler. The benchmarks set by the Renault Duster are quite high, but the EcoSport with similar monocoque construction and front-wheel-drive setup should be able to match them. Ford might offer an all-wheel-drive version in the global market, but it won’t be made available in India anytime soon. Then again the EcoSport is mainly an urban crossover, not expected to do too much of off-roading.
The compact-SUV will be a five-seater only; also there won’t be an option of adding jumper seats to the rear. This also means that the EcoSport will be solely for personal use and won’t interest fleet car markets. The boot space of the Indian version should be somewhere around 350-litre – putting it at par with space in the C-segment sedans; rear seats can be folded 60:40 to increase space to 560-litre. The tall-boy riding position means that ingress & egress from the EcoSport will be relatively easy, though we suspect that the headroom in the second row might just be an issue for really tall passengers
The dashboard will most probably be black, with silver inserts for the top-end variants. Although, beige has always been the preferred by Indian customers, Ford has generally offered dark interiors giving a sporty touch. There are 20 storage places in the EcoSport including side drawer for the front co-passenger seat and a cooled glovebox. There is also a dedicated place to stow-away your umbrella. The other key features include hill launch start, keyless entry & drive, Bluetooth enabled music system, ABS-EBD with traction control.
The size and engine specs of the Ecosport are that of a small car as per the Indian regulations. This means it will get maximum tax benefits and will be positioned very competitively. The compact-SUV will have 80 per cent localized parts and the starting price of petrol variant is expected to be around Rs 6.5 lakh – notch below that of the Renault Duster. The diesel variants should start around Rs 7.5 lakh, while the top-end titanium diesel version is expected to cost Rs12.5 lakh.
Ford is still mum about the rollout date, but has now started building for the launch with the new Ecosport Urban Discovery contest and by displaying the new Ecosport at few prominent locations across metro cities. We did spend some time with the Ecosport at one of these outing and have put together a small first look video of the compact SUV. We suspect that the Ecosport will be launched by the end of May with deliveries starting June. Check the link below for more details of exteriors and interiors of the much awaited car.