The market of compact Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) is on a rise in India as more and more people have developed a penchant for them. Many reasons can be attributed to the growing popularity of compact SUVs, starting from their spaciousness and ending at road presence. A compact SUV gives the luxury of a sedan, along with the comfort and performance of a utility vehicle. There are a lot of auto makers in the Indian car market, which offers a wide range of utility vehicles. Industry experts are of a view that auto companies have realised that the compact SUV segment of the Indian auto market has high potential, which will surely pull in some decent volumes for them. As a result of this, a high number of cars are vying for the top spot in this segment, such as Mahindra Quanto, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Premier Rio, Renault Duster and the most recent, Ford EcoSport.
Among these cars, the Renault Duster has done really well, becoming an instant hit with critics and buyers alike. The Duster from Renault comes in both, petrol and diesel variants with the latter being more popular. Be it performance, safety, power or handling, the Duster scored pretty high on all score cards. However, the dominance of Duster is being challenged by the Ford EcoSport, an aggressively priced compact SUV that has generated a tremendous buzz in the market. The American giants, shrewd in their policies, targeted the compact SUV segment as they had mapped the increasing demand for the same.
The response generated by the EcoSport can be reflected by the fact that the company had to stop bookings for the diesel variant for a period of three weeks. This was done to match the production with the demand as the car had received massive bookings even before the launch. Post the launch, the vehicle has soared, getting great reviews from industry experts, who have appreciated the EcoSport for a lot of things. Keeping the performance of a car aside, a buyer would always lean towards a stunning looking vehicle, which the EcoSport certainly is. Ford, the American giant, has, seemingly, paid a lot of attention in designing the exteriors of this compact SUV. The looks of this vehicle are stunning and have received widespread appreciation from all corners. Its design comprises a wide radiator grille with a thick chrome strip and a Ford insignia marking its presence. Many experts, giving a Ford EcoSport review, have claimed that the looks of the car are surely going lure a high number of buyers in the long run.
Indeed, the EcoSport is perfect in all aspects when it comes to its looks. It has a sporty appearance with a masculine build and a ground clearance of 200 mm, which makes the car stand out on the road. One of the highlights of the exterior of this car is the smooth side profile comprising pull type door handles and rear view mirrors. The unique look of this car features slim wraparound head lights, along with circular fog lamps in a chrome housing. EcoSport gets a rugged look due to the uncovered spare tyre attached at the rear.
Interestingly, the door at the rear opens towards the left side, a concept that will take some time to get used to. The design of the EcoSport not only enhances the looks but also enhances its driving dynamics. There is a wide air dam on the front bumper that facilitates faster cooling of the engine. The front windscreen of this car, made from toughened glass, comes with two intermittent wipers while the large rear windscreen is equipped with a rear wash and wipe function and a defogger. Safety is ensured by the pair of reflectors on the bumper and dual-exhaust pipes. Apart from this, the tubeless tyres offers a great grip on road to ensure optimum safety and comfort.
Notably, a Ford EcoSport review states that its interiors are quite similar to the Ford Fiesta, which comes with a cockpit design. Plus seats with premium upholstery, smooth dashboard, superb instrument cluster and notification lamps are some of the salient features of the EcoSport’s interiors. The adjustable driver seat comforts the driver and helps in getting an elevated position for better visibility. Sun visors for the driver and front co-passenger are equipped with a vanity mirror. The air conditioning system inside the EcoSport is quite powerful, thereby cooling the entire space in a short span of time. There is a leather covered multifunctional power steering wheel with mounted controls for the paired Bluetooth phone and the audio system.
Storage is one of the key elements in a car and this car scores high here, as well. The car features 20 storage spaces that include a space under the front passenger seat and around 9 holders for bottles. It comes with a complete music system with a CD player and options to connect external devices through USB, auxiliary input and Bluetooth. As far as spacing is concerned, this compact SUV can easily accommodate 5 persons with plenty of leg and elbow space. Speaking of the technical specifications of the model, the EcoSport from Ford comes in diesel and petrol versions.
The petrol variants of the EcoSport are offered with an option of three engines, namely 1.5 litre petrol, 1.5 litre diesel and 1.0 litre EcoBoost. Also, there are several choices for buyers in terms of colour, such as Diamond White, Kinetic Blue, Moondust Silver, Chill Metallic, Panther Black, Sea Gray and Mars Red. The turbocharged EcoBoost engine has a displacement of 999 cc and produces an maximum power output of 123 bhp at 6000 rpm along with a peak torque of up to 170 Nm.
Diesel variants of the EcoSport are named the same as the petrol models (Ambiente, Trend, Titanium and Titanium O). However, all the diesel models are powered by a 1.5 litre TDCi engine that has the capacity of producing 89 bhp at 3750 RPM. There are two varieties in terms of wheel size in the EcoSport, which includes 16-inch and 15-inch alloy wheels. The Ford EcoSport price of the top model, Diesel Titanium (O), is Rs. 8.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), which is quite accepted, considering its large number of features. The key highlights of the same are SYNC with voice control, smart keyless entry, push button start, cool glove box, side and curtain airbags, front fog lamps and power mirror with turn indicators.
A lot has been said about the performance of the EcoSport by critics, who have praised it for the comfort, fuel efficiency and good handling. Industry experts have pointed out that, although the ground clearance of this model is high, its body roll is tightly controlled. The steering wheel of this compact SUV performs well at high speeds and facilitates great control and navigation. On comparing its ride quality with Renault’s Duster, the EcoSport lacks a bit due to the presence of a stiff suspension set up. While this vehicles scores high is its fuel efficiency and its ability to guarantee an easy drive in city traffic. Better elevation gives the driver a good view of the road ahead, thereby providing assistance while moving in crowded areas.
There a lot of safety features in the EcoSport, such as rear parking sensors, traction control, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and airbags. Some features, though, are available only in selected models. One of the most noteworthy security attribute of the EcoSport is the injection of super-strength boron steel present in the doors for improved strength and safety. Other safety features include the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) mechanism, which enhance the stability and prevent wheel locking during emergencies.
To put things into perspective, Ford has launched a great vehicle in the market that is on its way to becoming a huge success. After all, the price range in which this package is available makes it value for money. Also, it seems like an intelligent move made by the American auto giant to target a segment that does not have a lot of competitors, unlike others. The EcoSport is a value for money compact SUV that is ideal for city traffic conditions. However, when pitched against the segment ruling model Renault Duster, it comes up with a lot of shortcomings in terms of power, performance and quality. The Renault Duster has taken the market by storm and it is highly unlike that the EcoSport will be able to replicate the same level of success. Nevertheless, since the compact SUV segment has a lot of scope for growth, it is expected to do only good to the manufacturers, who are looking to gain momentum in the Indian car market, which is going through a tough time at the moment.