Ford has revised the engine range for the EcoSport and for this new model, introduced an entirely new 3-cylinder petrol engine. The new motor can be had with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter. The diesel, meanwhile, is the tried and tested 1.5-litre TDCI 4-cylinder motor.
The new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine is dubbed ‘Dragon’. Replacing the old EcoBoost turbocharged motor, this naturally aspirated unit (putting out 123bhp and 150Nm of torque) is fairly advanced, featuring an aluminium block and cylinder head. To address the inherent imbalanced nature of the 3-cylinder configuration, Ford has integrated a balancer shaft to reduce the vibrations. At idle, there is a tiny bit of vibration coming through the pedals and the door armrest though once you get the car up to speed, it all smoothens out. In fact, on the move, this three-cylinder motor is incredibly smooth as long as you don’t floor it. The power output looks good on paper but you have to bear in mind that the EcoSport is a heavy car (1250kg for petrol MT, 1320kg for petrol AT and 1300kg for diesel MT, as tested) and this puts demand on each and every horsepower. Around town, the three-cylinder motor/auto box combo is impressive, with good low-end response from the motor and smooth shifts from the torque converter. Speaking of which, this engine pulls surprisingly well from low revs without knocking thanks to the healthy bottom-end. Being naturally aspirated, it delivers power in a linear manner right until 6,500rpm as it revs freely to the redline.
The 6-speed torque converter is also new and for puttering around town in traffic, it works just fine. On part throttle, the gearshifts are smooth if not quick. It will upshift at around 2,000rpm with a light foot and as you press on the throttle, the shift points get higher (between 3,500 and 5,000rpm). Thankfully, it allows the car to crawl till 5kmph from standstill as you go off the brakes which is handy in rush hour traffic. All in all, it’s a decent, no-nonsense transmission that does a good job of adding convenience to your daily drives. In our acceleration and roll-on tests, the EcoSport petrol auto recorded a 0-100kmph sprint time of 12.08 seconds and took 9.52 seconds to accelerate from 40 to 100kmph. The manual gearbox equipped model, on the other hand, took 11.76 seconds to hit 100kmph from standstill. The 5-speed manual has a light shift action and clutch pedal; however, it’s not as slick as we would like.
The diesel powered EcoSport retains the 1.5-litre, four-cylinder motor from its predecessor. On the face of it, this engine still makes 99bhp and a healthy 205Nm of torque but we found it to be noticeably smoother and a bit more responsive than before. It’s a strong performer around town, one that remains quiet and refined – something you will appreciate the more time you spend driving the car. The refinement extends to the 5-speed manual gearbox which is light and smooth and makes good use of the engine’s torque to keep things ticking along strongly. While there is still some turbo lag below 2,000rpm, the engine pulls hard in the midrange and once rolling, the EcoSport simply rides that solid torque delivery up to highway speeds. Unsurprisingly, the diesel model turned out to be a whole second quicker to the ton compared to the old car, dispatching 0-100kmph in 12.50 seconds. It’s also slightly quicker in-gear, hitting 20-80kmph in third in 12.70 seconds and 40-100kmph in fourth in 15.09 seconds.