Ford EcoSport 1.5D Titanium(O) MT
Good: Radical design and good mechanicals make this compact SUV worth all the hype that has been around. Very competitive pricing makes this more interesting than the competition.
Bad: Not as driver oriented as other Fords, the EcoSport isn't spacious either.
Not so long ago, buying an affordable new car was a pretty simple affair. One had to pick either a hatchback or a sedan and that was it. But today, things are a little different. Your local dealership is full of cars with different body styles. With premium hatchbacks, sub-4 meter sedans and compact crossovers taking up the floor space, there is practically every sort of car to suit each and every need.
One such car is the EcoSport, Ford's latest offering that happens to be a compact crossover and a rather good one at that. Post the launch of the Figo, Ford hasn’t had a lot of success here in India, but the company is confident it can turn things around with the EcoSport and having bagged 30,000 bookings in little over two weeks of launch, this new model already is shaping up to be a clear success.
Part crossover, part hatchback - the EcoSport nearly looks every bit the same as the original concept first shown at the 2012 Auto Expo. Upfront, it’s all bling with an oversized chrome-garnished grille and some unique design cues never seen before on a Ford.
The pair of sleek looking headlamps and that high bonnet line gives the EcoSport a purposeful stance. However, move onto the side and you'll notice that the car looks tamed in spite of the unique 16-inch alloy wheels, black-cladding and the flared wheel arches. At the back, the EcoSport gives a proper impression of an SUV thanks to the tailgate mounted spare wheel.
The EcoSport on the whole sports a refreshing design but it is really compact if you pit it against the Renault Duster, it's arch rival. Having said that, the Ford looks generously proportioned on the road, standing next to, say, a Swift or any other big hatchback. It is, of course, longer and wider but substantially taller than a regular hatchback and it’s the high, commanding stance that helps peg the EcoSport as a compact crossover.
What sits ahead and powers this car is a familiar diesel engine. This 1.5 litre TDCI unit is the same engine that powers the Fiesta. It’s known for its linear power delivery and impressive refinement and even in the EcoSport, this engine doesn't disappointment.
The 4-cylinder engine makes 90PS of power and 200Nm of torque and delivers all of it in a very linear way. There is no sudden surge of acceleration even when the turbo spools up. Instead, the ample torque is spread out evenly which is a boon when driving at slow speeds in city traffic.
When the going gets twisty and should you choose to push it to its limits, the EcoSport performs reasonably well, if not as well as similarly priced cars wearing the Blue Oval badge. Those with a thing for driving might prefer more feedback from the chassis and more power out of the engine, but there’s no reason for others to complain.
Thanks to the high ground clearance and chunky 205 section tires (offered in higher grade models), the EcoSport feels like it can take on bits of rough terrain. That said, it doesn't give you the same sense of confidence that you may find driving a full size SUV.
The EcoSport is not perfect. The cabin is a bit short on space and fit and finish in some places is iffy. But we know it will still sell in huge numbers mainly because it manages to combine the ruggedness of an SUV with the practicality of a big hatchback. It’s a recipe that’s hard to fault.
Just remember to book yours in Mars Red.
(Read the complete review including User Experience here.)