The Ford EcoSport launched back in 2013 had all the ingredients our SUV-minded market sought. The game has moved on though. And even though the little Ford SUV is still up there in terms of sales, the car maker has decided to give it a facelift and there’s definitely more here than meets the eye. In a nutshell: it gets a subtle facelift, extra features and more power.
If you were expecting the facelifted Ford EcoSport to stand out against the outgoing version, then you might want to rejig your thoughts. What catches your attention immediately though, is the new attractive golden bronze paint shade and the addition of those DRLs. These are the only visual characteristics that sets it apart from the earlier version. It’s only on closer look that you will realise that the boot opening switch has now been relocated to behind the handle so that it eases usability.
Ford could have blended in a few distinct visual upgrades to the car, like maybe a redesigned grille, a new shape for the bumper or even a fresh alloy design. Nevertheless, we feel that the EcoSport looks trendy anyway. Plus, everything that lent the EcoSport a butch and prominent compact SUV-like appearance carries on in this new updated version.
Hop into the EcoSport and you will realise that changes on the inside are limited as well. The dashboard retains the same angular design with the same crowded button placement around the music system. But now chrome accents have been splashed around to make the cabin more cheery. You can find these chrome accents on the door handles and instrument cluster. Moreover, the handbrake lever, which was earlier situated too close to the driver, is now more centrally positioned for easier access.
Also, the control stalks are now repositioned to suit our right hand driving style. So, the light and indicator stalk is on the right and the wiper stalk is on the left. But, these could still have been better put together in terms of plastic quality. In fact, the cabin experience is only let down by the use of hard but durable plastics, which makes the EcoSport seem less premium than it is. Nevertheless, you will appreciate the snug front seats that fondly embrace you especially on faster commutes. Also, generous legroom and headroom keeps both front occupants satisfied.
The cabin’s rear is a different story altogether, and while there’s adequate kneeroom, the rear interior width justifies comfort for only two passengers. There’s plenty of headroom though and occupants will definitely find comfort with the under thigh support that’s on offer. That said, to keep the interiors as spacious as possible with the cars length of just 3,999mm, the boot size had to take a cut and it can swallow just about 362 litres at best.
On the features front, Ford’s updated EcoSport now gets a voice-operated Sync system which apart from emergency assistance, also includes AppLink. The AppLink function, allows certain apps from your smart phone display necessary details on the car’s infotainment system. Some of the new features that are listed on the top-spec variant include automatic headlamps with DRLs, rain-sensing wipers and an auto dimming rear view mirror.
Ford has revealed that the ECU on the EcoSport has been tweaked and some changes have been made to the fixed-geometry turbocharger. The end result is a 10 per cent bump in power. The diesel engine now pumps out 98bhp of max power. The torque figure of 205Nm though continues unchanged but is delivered at a lower 1,750rpm. Get behind the wheel and you’ll notice that the engine is smoother, more linear and much easier to drive than the earlier car. While the outgoing model had a more pronounced turbo lag till about 2,000rpm, the new car picks up pace almost from the word go. It is this characteristic that makes the new EcoSport even more city friendly as constant gear shifts are not required.
Highway manners have improved and overtaking is now easier thanks to the strong midrange. Our VBOX tests showed that the new car completed the 20-80kmph run in third gear one second quicker than the older car while the fourth gear run from 40-100kmph required two seconds less. For users this would mean that you can hold the fifth gear and still have enough steam for adequate driving duties from 80kmph all the way to 140kmph plus, without a downshift. Flat-out acceleration from 0-100kmph takes 13.7sec, just 0.1sec faster than the old car.
Suspension setup on the new EcoSport remains unchanged; at low speeds it rides well except for certain undulations that can get it to rock sideways due to the high centre of gravity. However, when speeds pick up, the ride gets better and this compact SUV glides over bad stretches of road with no noises emanating from the suspension. The steering, for SUV standards, is direct enough to help you keep your line without being all over the road. You will also appreciate the wide track that lends the EcoSport with reasonable stability especially around a bend. When in city limits the EcoSport turns out to be extremely user-friendly thanks to the nimble steering and light clutch. Nevertheless, the thick A-pillars do affect the visibility for the worse.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||98 @ 3750|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||205 @ 1750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||52|
|Tyre size||205 / 60 R16|
|Keyless entry with push-button start||Yes|
|The 1.5-litre TDCi engine that now produces 98bhp and 205Nm of torque||Yes|
|Auto-dimming interior mirror||Yes|
|6 Airbags (Driver, Passenger, Side and Curtain Airbags)||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Yes|
|DRL's and automatic headlamps||Yes|
|Rain sensing wipers||Yes|
|Rear parking sensors||Yes|
|SYNC technology with AppLink function||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||98 @ 3750||84 @ 3750|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||205 @ 1750||230 @ 1500|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||52||60|
|Tyre size||205 / 60 R16||215/75 R15|
The updated Ford EcoSport continues on its predecessor’s footprints to offer a reasonable package. Changes to the engine characteristics have made the EcoSport diesel smoother and this in turn makes it a more driveable SUV than before. Fuel efficiency figures are quite reasonable and it returned 13.8kpl in the city and 18.8kpl on the highway. On the other hand, interior space is only sufficient and there are bits in the cabin that create an impression of quality not being up to the mark. You can buy the EcoSport in trims called the Ambiente for Rs 7.98 lakh, Trend at Rs 8.70 lakh, Trend+ for Rs 9.18 lakh, Titanium at Rs 9.86 lakh and the Titanium+ for Rs 10.44 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi). The EcoSport turns out to be a great package in the segment especially when you consider the fact that Ford prices the top-end diesel variant for just Rs 10.44 lakh.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane