Ford Ecosport Diesel Review
Recently it was reported that Ford has stopped taking bookings for its compact SUV Ecosport. This was done as the waiting period kept increasing and the company could not deliver as per the demand. The company has sold over 30,000 units since its launch in June 2013.
The Ecosport has also bagged numerous awards on different platforms both nationally and internationally. It was the most anticipated product by Ford in India as it promised many firsts in its segment. The American car maker had also shocked the nation by launching it at a jaw-droppingly low price.
We had earlier reviewed the Ecosport with the Ecoboost engine and were sure that the car will be a success when launched. The exhaustive list of features paired with great technology would be an instant hit.
Having heard so much about this SUV, we decided to let loose and take a long trip from Mumbai to Kolhapur and check out the scenic offerings in an Ecosport. We chose the meatier 1.5L diesel variant for this trip as it looked the best on paper. Did the Ecosport surprise us or let us down is what we find out in this review.
Ecosport does not look similar to any other car sold in India. It has been tagged as “SUV” but then it looks more like a grown-up and beefed up hatchback. It reminds of a Ninja Turtle character with big lips and stretched eyes. The Ecosport does not look out of proportion and is very modern in design.
It has a bold trapezoidal grille with chrome slats on it. The headlights are streamlined with the radiator grille and stretch their way to the side panel. To make it look rugged, the lower section of the front bumper has a black plastic guard. The fog lamps get an angular pocket for their housing on the front bumper. The bonnet gets a subtle raise in profile as it flows to the front windshield.
Flared wheel arches and macho alloy wheels are the two main things which pronounce the Ecosport a typically SUV styled car. The rugged plastic cladding continues on the side skirts as well. These claddings are not only for aesthetic rough and tough look but also are very useful too.
The side profile does not offer a lot in terms of design. The beltline is very muscular. Adding to the aerodynamics of the EcoSport are the sectional lines flowing from the hood to the A pillar. This design also claims of the lowest coefficient of drag in its segment which is 0.371. The ORVMs jet out from the side panel. They can be electrically adjusted from inside the cabin.
With a massive spare wheel bolted on the tail door, the Ecosport looks very sporty. The tail door release button has been smartly camouflaged with the rear tail lamp design. I still prefer the styling of Duster over the Ecosport. The reason for it is Duster’s simple yet strong design. It does not look overdone at all. The Ecosport feels a tad too modern to impress all.
Since this was supposed to be a long trip, we wanted the car to be extremely comfortable, practical and great on size to pack in everything we shop. This looked very ideal on paper but when we started zeroing on different options we had to compromise on various factors. Finally, we decided to take the Ecosport for this exciting trip.
The driving position of this car is very impressive. It does feel like a big car from inside but then at the same time it also feels very confident. The front row legroom is simply superb. Even for taller passengers, with different height adjustments and seating positions, it is a zone to be in. To aid comfort, the driver seat also gets foldable armrest which is useful during frequent gear changes.
The rear passenger area is decently spaced if not very generous. It also offers different arrangements to adjust the seat. However, the rear seats are very low on comfort and want more cushioning. Rear passengers will always complain about this in long journeys and so did my friends in this trip unless they got tired and fell asleep.
If you are too bored driving all by yourself and all other passengers have fallen asleep...no worries as the car will talk to you. The SYNC voice assist system works perfect in Ecosport. It is very precise and understands different accents and dialects. Change track; know more about it are some of the functions this system takes care of. Though she is not as intelligent as Siri (iPhone) she is still very helpful.
The instrumental panel is very stylish with all the digits and fonts giving an athletic approach. It is very aptly illuminated. Love the styling of the needles and the cool blue background lights. The instrumental panel has been split into four different sections which show various information.
We also managed to stull the different utility pockets of the Ecosport with water bottles, cold drink cans and what not. Even the large boot area was filled with all Kolhapuri shopping including chappals, masalas and other goodies.
To reward our hard work, we decided to do a road trip. After going through various places to visit in India, we decided to go to Kolhapur since we had heard so much about the place. Kolhapuri chappals, spicy cuisine and Shahu Maharaj palaces, this place had it all and there we were armed to do a Mumbai Kolhapur trip.
Once the destination was finalised, it came to choosing the perfect drive for this occasion. We jotted few pointers for this car to satisfy which include great suspension setup, spacious cabin and an efficient engine. Ecosport was the only car which had all the boxes ticked but then it satisfied all these criteria on paper and real world conditions are way different than assumed.
A small flashback and I remembered driving the Ecosport in Goa. Back then it was the critically acclaimed, award winning and fuel efficient Ecoboost engine which I drove. I was happy with its in-city performance but at the same time was not very impressed with its highway run as the engine felt very exhausted. Thus, we decided to opt for the 1.5L TDCi variant.
The driver’s position gives a precise idea of the dimensions of the car. Since our variant was the Titanium (O) it had a start stop button. After engaging the clutch and pressing the button, the diesel motor was all set to go.
The 1.5L TDCi engine has a displacement of 1498cc. This engine produces a maximum power output of 91PS at 3750 rpm and a torque of 204 Nm at 2000 to 2750 rpm. This engine is offered in a 5 speed manual transmission.
While driving in Mumbai, the transmission stick was put to maximum test as the stop go traffic is a real challenge. The bumper to bumper traffic compels you to keep your one foot on the clutch pedal while juggling between the gear stick and the steering wheel. The traffic conditions were worse and we had almost stopped moving near Vashi on the way to Pune.
The Ecosport might be an SUV by definition but in real world, it is simply not. SUVs are high on presence, impractical, not convenient and fuel guzzling vehicles but then the Ecosport fortunately is not any one of them. It steered its way with great ease amongst the traffic. It does not feel heavy at all.
The gear stick had to be engaged to first every time the car needed some extra power which generally does not happen with torquey diesel cars as they can sustain their power on second gear too. Inter shifting gears is very easy and smooth. It is impressively better than the box fitted in Duster and generations ahead than the one seen in Quanto.
Finally after battling heavy traffic, we finally managed to get the Ecosport to a place where it really belonged, the highway. The power and torque figures appear average on paper and if you compare it with competition they don’t look great at all but then driving it changed my thinking about this car.
Till 2000 rpm, the engine lacks the punch of a typical diesel car. It has a very low audible grunt. But then as it crosses the 2000 rpm mark, there is a new character waiting to be unleashed. The diesel engine gets LIVE in action. As the engine speeds increases, the car becomes more energetic.
Especially after 2500 rpm, the engine does not let you down even for a minute. It adapts to the different styles of driving. At some patches we were comfortably driving at speeds of 160 kmph and with great confidence. Unlike other cars, the Ecosport does not shudder at all at high speeds and remains very firm footed on the road. Having an aerodynamic design indeed helps the car not to resist the air flow.
The suspension setting is different for the diesel and felt very assuring. Even on harsh terrains, the Ecosport performed decently. The setup is more towards stiffer side and that helped in its precise handling on highways. Even the brakes offered a strong bite.
There were only two disappointments we experienced in this trip with the Ecosport. Firstly, the headlight illumination was very poor and ineffective. This was because of the poor wattage of bulbs. In pitch black conditions, there was negligible difference between normal lights and high beam. Also, the dipper function was not very quick and had an evident lag. Powerful headlight bulbs should solve the poor illumination issue.
Secondly, very uncomfortable rear seats as the passengers seated in the rear section were very unhappy about the comfort of the seats. These seats lack proper cushioning and can do well with greater back support.
The diesel engine indeed impressed us throughout the journey with its amazing performance. It was not at all tiring as we drove nonstop without taking major halts. The best mileage figure we managed to get was 12 kmpl.
|Engine Displacement/No. of Cylinders||1498/4|
|Power in PS/RPM||91/3750|
|Torque in NM||204/2000-2750|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Gross weight (Kgs)||1755|
|Fuel Tank capacity in Liters||52|
|Mileage in KMPL||18|
|Remote central locking with Flip Key||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Electric Swing gate release||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Driver and passanger airbag||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Side and curtain Airbag||No||No||Yes(only AT)||Yes|
|Rear parking sensor||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Audio control on steering||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power adjustable ORVM||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power windows||Front||Front & rear||Front & rear||Front & rear|
|FM/AM radio +AUX, in +USB||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|SYNC(With voice control)||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Two Tone Environment||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ex Showroom price Mumbai (Rs.)|
|1.5D TCDi Diesel||7,35,400||8,26,620||9,27,289||982,865|
|1.5P Ti VCT||6,10,614||7,10,224||8,10,891||9,09,461|
|1.5P Ti VCT AT||NA||NA||9,09,461||NA|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||1.5 Diesel MT Titanium||1.5 Diesel(110PS) XV Premium||1.5 dCi RXZ Plus||C8|
|Ex-Showroom Price Mumbai (Rs.)||9,82,865||12,46,350||12,12,474||7,60,784|
|Engine Displacement/ No. of Cylinders||1498/4||1461/4||1461/4||1493/4|
|Power in PS/RPM||91/3750||110/3900||110/3900||100/3750|
|Torque in NM/RPM||204/2000-2750||248/2250||248/2250||240/1600-2800|
|Transmission||5 MT||6/M||5 MT||5 MT|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Ground Clearance in mm||200||205||205||180|
|Gross Vehicle Weight in Kg||1700||1787||1781||1330|
|Mileage in KMPL||18||19||19||16|
|Front Fog lamp||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
From the time it was shown at the 2012 Auto Expo, the Ecosport was the most anticipated car in the country. Ford took its own time to launch the car after making sure the Ecosport was fully ready for India launch. There are other players like the Duster, Terrano and Quanto but the success and popularity of Ecosport is unparallel. Long waiting periods and stopping bookings vindicates the same.
We were very glad that the Ecosport was chosen for doing this road trip. It truly impressed us with its performance.