Home / Reviews / First Drive / Ford EcoSport First Drive Review – Enter The Dragon

 

Ford EcoSport 1 web

Ford India have introduced the new EcoSport compact crossover with a more aggressive face and a host of changes under the skin. We drive it in sunny Goa.

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Saurabh Botre

When it comes to getting more from less, there are no better examples than compact crossovers. Blending the comfort and driveability of a car with a decent-sized portion of the capabilities of an SUV, crossovers provide the best of both worlds to those who tend to explore the wild side often, without investing in real-estate over the line.

The Ford EcoSport was the first sub-four-metre car of its kind and it seemed rather ahead of its time. It was small, but it did big things. It could handle city duty, munch miles with ease on the highway, and even go further and tackle more adventurous terrain than what a regular hatchback or sedan in the same price range could manage. That was its winning hand – do it all, pretty much. The new car, Ford say, has 1,600 new parts. That’s a considerable number when you factor in a total of about 2,800 parts that go into making the car. Also, the new EcoSport is 85 per cent localised. That’s a step up from the two-thirds of locally-sourced components in the previous car.

Ford EcoSport 2 web

With the new EcoSport, Ford have sharpened up an already potent tool and made it more modern and appealing. The big changes are the new front-end comprising the restyled grille more in line with its elder siblings, the Kuga and the Explorer. The addition of projector headlamps with LED daytime light signatures as well as the restyled air dam, make it look sharper and more aggressive. The top-spec ‘Titanium+’ model we have here also receives 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 205/50 rubber. The other variants will continue as they are. The EcoSport retains its purposefully-styled silver roof-rails and reverts to the rear-mounted spare wheel, following a more favourable response from customers and potential buyers.

Ford EcoSport 3 web

Big changes have been made inside, too. The all-black interior packs larger, more supportive seats with contrast stitching. The ergonomics on offer are outstanding. Adding to that are the perfectly-positioned head-restraints that offer great comfort and support. The dashboard layout is more up-to-date with a large 8-inch touchscreen incorporating Ford’s SYNC 3 as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. SYNC 3’s voice-command function makes control of several features much easier and less distracting. Connectivity is also improved with not just Bluetooth but also Wi-Fi support. The safety aspect is well taken care of: dual front airbags are standard, with the top trim getting dual front side bags as well as curtain airbags, as well as traction control.

The EcoSport’s cabin also offers a number of usable storage spaces. There’s also a new flexible cargo area with three shelf height possibilities. The load floor may seem like a slender three-kilogram unit, but it can hold several times it own weight. The highest setting aligns itself with the rear seat-backs when folded down. The total volume is 352 litres, with 1,178 litres available when the rear seats are folded flat.

Probably the most significant change is under the bonnet. The new 1.5-litre three-cylinder normally-aspirated petrol engine steps in to replace the older four-pot motor. Codenamed ‘Dragon’, it makes a higher 123 PS and 150 Nm. It comes paired with either a five-speed manual transmission, or an all-new torque converter automatic transmission with six ratios. The new transmission uses a fluid coupling, noted to be more efficient in stop-go traffic, as compared to an electronically-controlled manual. It also marks the end of the PowerShift dual-clutch unit. Unlike earlier, however, the auto option will also be available on the ‘Trend+’ trim level, apart from the ‘Titanium+’ we have here. The higher trim also gets an ‘S’ or sport mode and paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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