Ford EcoSport Review | First Drive Impression

Ford EcoSport Review | First Drive Impression

 

Ever since Ford showcased the EcoSport at the Auto Expo in January, 2012, the vehicle has been a discussion point among the industry and consumers. Two primary reasons are the SUV body style offered in a sub-four metre vehicle and the 1 l EcoBoost engine. Similar to the Figo, the EcoSport is capable of providing Ford with big numbers provided the right technology offerings are offered at a price acceptable by consumers. While the price announcement is still some days away, Auto Tech Review brings to you the first drive impression from Goa.

The key talking point about the EcoSport is the range of engines it will offer at the time of sale. These include 1.5 l petrol, 1.5 l diesel and the 1 l EcoBoost petrol unit. The first two units are the same as found in the present Fiesta. The three-cylinder direct injection and turbocharged engine produces a high output of 123 hp and 170 Nm of torque. Normally, four-cylinder motors displacing about 1.4 to 1.6 l produce a similar output.

On the road, the engine responds well to throttle inputs but has a bit of turbo lag at lower engine speed. This was evident on the hill roads surrounding Goa but could feel better on plains. In urban traffic, the EcoSport is easy to navigate and the five-speed manual transmission is smooth with the gears slotting in nicely, translating into an engaging driving experience. The shift throws however are a bit long and could be bothersome while frequent shifting.

From a design perspective, the EcoSport clearly stands out among the growing category of compact SUVs. The wide gaping grille at the front and the sleek tail lamps at the rear along with the rear mounted spare wheel lend it a larger than actual and sharp look.

As it is with most Ford cars, the EcoSport is a good driver’s car and the precise steering response deserves a special mention here. Ride quality too strikes a good balance between comfort and dynamic handling. One thing that we came across and should be looked out for is the broad A-pillar, which could obstruct the view on sharp turns.

The cabin design is similar to what one finds in the present Fiesta and material quality along with the fit and finish is good. The seat height is optimum and translates into great visibility, something which will be appreciated by consumers looking for a SUV experience.

On safety parameters, EcoSport sets a new benchmark in its segment with the inclusion of Emergency Assistance. The technology is part of Ford’s famed SYNC technology and is capable of sending a voice message automatically to emergency service operators. This happens in the case of airbags being deployed or the fuel pump being shut off. The system can also send out the physical location of the vehicle through GPS in order to assist rescue operations.

Bookings for the EcoSport will begin in June, closer to which details about pricing will be announced. For a detailed analysis about the EcoSport and its technology, watch out for our June issue.

Text: Deepangshu Dev Sarmah