Ford wasn’t doing well in India a few years ago, it was Figo and Fiesta that started grabbing market share for the American automaker. Since then Ford didn’t look back and started getting new models. The latest model after Figo was new Fiesta. The recent offering from Ford is now the beautifully designed Ford Ecosport. It makes real sense to Ford to sell this compact crossover in India as Ford believes in one manufacturing and heavy localization, ohh yes and the under 4 meter road tax benefit in Indian market.
EcoSport comes with 3 engine options in India – 1.5 liter petrol, 1.5 liter diesel and two times ‘International Engine of the Year’ award winner small wonder from Ford, 1 liter Ecoboost. It’s not only Ford which is selling this compact crossover in India, Renault conquered this market by their leap of faith Renault Duster which was a good hit in the market and lifted Renault India up in their market share. There is Mahindra Quanto and Premier Rio too in this segment but in terms of number of sales, they are way below these two top contenders Renault Duster and Ford Ecosport.
Renault India was smart to launch Duster in low price by introducing petrol variant but in India when petrol prices are shooting up, the market demand is of diesel Duster. Renault gave good introductory price for Duster and grabbed attentions of the buyers who are looking for compact SUV and with a low price tag. Duster diesel is offered in two states of tune of same 1.5 k9k diesel motor and that’s the favorite of everyone willing to buy the compact SUV. It was clear to Ford that Indian people like crossover and they are willing to spend a chunk of amount on compact crossover which is almost equal to B+ segment top end car or C segment car.
Ford launched the Ecosport and it is a big hit for Ford due to the killer pricing offered on entry level variant, that’s 5.59 lakhs (ex showroom Delhi). This price was for entry level variant of 1.5 liter petrol engine. On-road cost of this variant comes around close to 6-6.5 lakhs depending on the cities you buy, this means instead of buying top end diesel Figo people started getting attracted to EcoSport due to its pure crossover looks.
Indian customers demanded Ecosport so heavily that this compact crossover grabbed 30,000 bookings within 17 days of launch, now that’s a real number of being hit. In the first two months, EcoSport outsold Renault Duster by close to 1000 units and repeated story of Brazil market in Indian compact crossover market.
This is all due to Ford EcoSport Diesel that people loved. Ford EcoSport offers space of a hatchback and a feel of an SUV. Its a perfect urban SUV as called by Ford. Team ICB was eager to know how the diesel motor from new fiesta feels in this urban SUV and we tested this car for 7 days in all terrains, all traffic conditions, all small lanes in Pune, from ghats of Lavasa to Mumbai-Pune expressway and here we will give you experience of Ford EcoSport Diesel’s driving impressions.
The oil burner in EcoSport is not a new mill, it is tried and tested in new fiesta. 1.5 liter turbo charged diesel motor produces 91 PS of power that’s not too less or too much for this size of engine, but the interesting figure is 204 Nm of torque this engine churns out to move this crossover from stand still. Compared to the engine of Figo and Ford Classic, this engine is much quieter and refinement levels are well achieved by powertrain guys at Ford. We were interested to check how this car feels on highways and to check power delivery of this engine we headed towards the ghats of Lavasa.
We noted that the massive torque helps car to move quickly with full load conditions and one can easily keep going on 2nd gear in slow moving traffic, thanks to 204Nm torque. The turbo kicks in at 1500rpm and there is minor turbo lag which can be annoying at times. The power delivery is smooth and linear and there is no sudden push-back into seat due to turbo boost. EcoSport Diesel engine doesn’t feel small for size of this car. The gear ratios are well matched with power and torque delivery and that gives you good drivability in all conditions.
The overtaking scenario on highways won’t let you down as you don’t need to down-shift every-time, 4th and 5th gear are well designed for speeding abilities, for 4th gear from 50-80kmph for 5th gear as low as 60kmph. The EcoSport can easily cruise at 130kmph and we hit the top speed of 180kmph at enough straights on highways. The point worth mentioning here is that the ride quality of EcoSport at around 60-80kmph is superb. The suspension package is well matched with chassis and EcoSport is a fantastic ride-comfort package. Moving towards ride-handling department, being SUV-like, it does have a minor body roll.
All Ford cars are known for driving pleasure due to hydraulic power steering unit and the feedback from it that connects driver and the car, but EcoSport disappoints driving fanatics here. Steering is too light while a good part about it is that it assists you to move this urban SUV in small urban spaces and at the same time it feels light at higher speeds. EcoSport is equipped with 16 inch 205 section rubber that is powered by disc brakes at front and drum brake setup at rear to stop this SUV. EcoSport braking is sharp and it gives confidence of driving this urban SUV at little more sporty way as you are backed up by the braking confidence.
We drove EcoSport Diesel for around 700 kms and fuel economy we got inside city was 15kmpl and on highway car managed to give 17-18kmpl with speeds in 3 digit number. Ford claims fuel economy of 22.7kmpl for this 1.5 diesel mill which is ARAI certified and under specific conditions. So range of 15-17kmpl with combined driving is really good for this fantastic looking vehicle.
EcoSport has its own category rivals and those are Renault Duster, Mahindra Quanto and Premier Rio. Among all these 3 rivals Renault Duster competes with the EcoSport in terms of space but the Ecosport wins with plenty of modern features like Climate control, 6 airbags, better looking interiors and few more features. The styling of EcoSport makes Duster look like an old age design. In terms of pricing, EcoSport Diesel is much cheaper than Renault Duster and offers value for money. The entry level variant diesel variant ‘Trend’ is priced at Rs. 6,81,851 (ex showroom Pune) where as entry level variant of diesel engine Duster RxE (85 PS) is priced at Rs. 8,65,852 (ex showroom Pune).
EcoSport makes a real sense in this segment of crossovers because it offers space of B+ segment car, it sits above the ground by 200mm so forget about mars inspired road problems, it is short in length and its handing capabilities inside city makes it a real urban SUV.
We thank Satyajeet Bhaskare for beautiful night clicks of Ford Ecosport.