We had previously talked about a soft launch of the Ford EcoSport in Delhi and Mumbai malls. CarTrade.com got a chance to see the EcoSport from close quarters at the Infinity Mall in Malad, Mumbai. At first look, the model appears to be a compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with tremendous road presence and interestingly, such a design has never been witnessed in any other Indian car.
At the soft launch, one of the variants of Ford EcoSport was placed. The most hyped engine of this vehicle is the revolutionary 1.0 litre EcoBoost powertrain, which is capable of generating a huge 120 bhp of maximum power. The car will be available in a total of three engine options, namely the 1.0 litre EcoBoost, a 1.5 litre petrol and 1.5 litre diesel engine. Reportedly, the EcoBoost has won several awards across the world as it generates very low levels of emission. This engine is anticipated to give the compact SUV a mileage of 17 kmpl. Ford India may look to manufacture the EcoBoost engine locally, in a bid to reduce manufacturing costs.
On the designing front, the EcoSport gets sharp lines all around and a large front. Big-looking trapezium-shaped air dams have been provided to the vehicle, giving it a bold stance. The front fascia, with a radiator grill looks similar to the international model of Ford Fiesta. Cat eye headlights can be observed on the EcoSport, which will provide it a dominant look. Boot space in the vehicle is quite good and so is plastic quality. Interestingly, delay in EcoSport's launch is not based on an India-specific market strategy, but on Ford's international policy.
An online marketing campaign known as EcoSport Urban Discoveries has been also launched with respect to this product. Through this campaign, instead of giving media a chance to drive the vehicle, Ford India wishes to give a chance to the common man to drive the EcoSport for 21 days and then record his personal experience with the model. Through the contest, participants would first send pictures of a new and interesting place in their city through photographs, videos and descriptions. Based on short listing as per votes and other criteria, 35 participants would be selected. Two more members would be added to this group in order to form teams of three. Each of these teams would use a Ford EcoSport to travel to the selected location. One would be a team leader and others would be team members.
Experiences would be uploaded on the microsite of the auto maker. Teams would need to keep gathering votes in order to stay in the hunt for winning prizes. The Team Leader would get the EcoSport, while members would get holiday packages. Ten lucky followers of the winning team would also be gifted iPads. Coming back to the vehicle, it can seat up to five passengers at a time with utmost comforts. Legroom and head room is decent for a vehicle of this size. In compact SUV segment of the Indian auto industry, Ford EcoSport will compete against the likes of Mahindra Quanto, Renault Duster and Premier Rio, amid others. It must be noted that the overall length of this compact SUV is over 4.2 metres, which means that it is not eligible for an excise duty cut from the government.
For engaging customers, road shows for this SUV will be held at major malls across 12 cities of the country. Modular interactive zones will be set up at each of prominent shopping malls, allowing customers to understand the car's features. Cities are chosen such that North, East West and South regions of India would be covered. Prices for the new Ford EcoSport have not been revealed yet. 4x2 versions would first be available in India, but based on customer demand, the auto maker can also look at launching the 4x4 variant at a later date.