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Living with Ford EcoSport

Introduction: Living with Ford EcoSport

The Ford EcoSport is widely regarded as the one which kick-started the compact crossover trend when it arrived in India back in 2012. It showed the world – which at that time had just begun developing an affinity towards SUVs/crossovers – that a high riding vehicle need not be humongous, imposing and carve an SUV-sized hole in your pocket to own. The EcoSport is a global product for the Blue Oval sold not only in India but also developing markets like Brazil apart from European and American countries. We recently got a chance to spend time with the Ford EcoSport to find out how the American sub-four metre SUV is to live with. 

How Practical is it?

The all-black cabin of the updated EcoSport might not be to everyone’s liking, but the cabin doesn’t feel claustrophobic at all. Both the front seats are large and provide ample support while the driver’s seat gets a manual height-adjust as well. The leather-wrapped steering rack is adjustable as well. There is a slot in the centre console ahead of the gear lever but there isn’t much space in there to even place a phone, which is weird since both USB ports are placed there. 

The driver armrest which doubles up as storage bin is deep and more than enough to hold all possible knick-knacks. The front door pads can hold two litre-bottles easily and there’s still space for more. And the cubby holes and coin holders in the centre console are a nice touch.

At the back, however, the bottle holder is not big enough for a litre bottle. The rear passengers get their share of cup holders too in the foldable armrest. The glove box size is more than adequate and it also has a separating compartment for other documents. Then there is slot carved in the passenger side dash for stowing a mobile phone. 

Apart from that, the cargo space of the EcoSport is also larger than its competition and the floor is adjustable with three height settings. This comes in handy while aligning the boot floor when the seats are folded flat.

What's the fuel efficiency like?

The hood houses the 1.5-litre petrol engine of the Dragon family mated to a six-speed torque converter. This naturally-aspirated three-cylinder motor puts out 123bhp of power at 6,500rpm and 150Nm of twisting force at 4,500rpm. The EcoSport in the petrol-automatic guise returned 9.89kmpl in the city and 13.07kmpl on the highway.

Meanwhile, in CarWale road test, the petrol-manual delivered 10.02kmpl and 12.96kmpl respectively. The diesel EcoSport (which is only available with a five-speed manual transmission) returned a fuel efficiency of 13.8kmpl in the city and 18.8kmpl on the highway.

What's on the feature list?

The most prominent feature which grabs attention inside the cabin is the floating 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It is bright and intuitive and comes loaded with all the connectivity features. Featuring Ford’s SYNC3, the system is quick, easy to operate and pretty smooth as well.

In terms of equipment, the EcoSport comes loaded with climate control, height adjustable driver’s seat, electric mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring system, projector headlamps with daytime running LEDs, six airbags and ABS, and ambient footwell lighting. But features like cruise control, side airbags, rain sensing wipers, ISOFIX, automatic headlamps, Emergency Assist and a rearview camera are only available in the top-of-the-line Titanium+ and S trim. And sunroof is offered only on the S variant. 

While the overall quality is on par with what you’d expect in a car in this price point, it needs to be pointed out that the instrument cluster looks dated. The simple layout has a tachometer and speedometer on either side, but the small display screen – which reads out information such as TPMS, trip metre, gearshift indicator, average fuel economy and digital speedo – looks like it’s straight out of a car from the 90s.

How does it perform on the daily commute?

The fairly compact dimensions of the EcoSport is a huge boon in a city like Mumbai. The steering is direct and well weighted and this makes weaving in through slow-moving traffic a breeze. The ride does absorb all the bumps and imperfection of the road with aplomb.

The 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated motor does have a linear power delivery but there is an evident lag in low- and mid-range. The motor needs a hard push on the accelerator pedal for a boost in power for quick overtaking manoeuvres. Even the automatic transmission is brilliant but it is always eager to upshift early in the rev range. 

That said, its performance is more than adequate as the motor pulls cleanly from low to higher revs without much fuss both in the city and out on highways. Additionally, for spirited driving, it does come with S mode with paddle shifters behind the wheel. Engine aside, the quirky pillar design both fore and aft aren’t the best in business when it comes to blind spots. 

How is it for a weekend?

The EcoSport might be a good companion for daily commutes and short highway stints. But for a weekend with five adults, it is a bit of a squeeze. Even though the front seats are wide and offer ample support for the long weekend drive, the back bench is a best fit for two adults only. As seen in our space test (you can read about it over here), the rear bench of the EcoSport does not offer as much shoulder room as say, the Nexon or the ample headroom as the Vitara Brezza.

For packing weekend luggage for four people, the boot space of 352-litre has got a wide opening and a fairly low loading lip. 

Out on the highway, three digit speeds kick in swiftly, and the EcoSport feels planted at those speeds. The karaoke with Ford's infotainment system – which is one of the best in business – can keep you entertained all through your weekend drive. 

What's the deal with the warranty?

Ford India offers two years of warranty or 1 lakh kilometre, whichever comes earlier with the EcoSport. Apart from that, the carmaker has also worked on reducing the service cost of its vehicles. Ford claims that the total maintenance plan of this very EcoSport trim is just Rs 19,500 for 36months/30,000km, Rs 66,000 for 36months/50,000km, and Rs 95,500 for 48months/60,000km.

Conclusion

Overall, the EcoSport is a strong performer in every task you throw its way – something you will appreciate the more time you spend with it.

Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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Ford EcoSport Price in Popular Cities

CityOn-Road Prices
Kolkata₹ 8.7 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 9.25 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 8.8 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 9.46 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 9.1 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 8.93 Lakhs onwards
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