Ford Ecosport is one car that re-wrote the Indian automotive rule books. With the Ecosport, Ford demonstrated how to ‘create’ an SUV that has all the convenience of a small hatchback. One of the cleverest designs Indian car market has ever seen. The car had the foot prints of a premium hatchback, ground clearance and road presence of an SUV and measured under four meters to keep the price under check. The car created a new segment in India, the compact SUV segment. The car leveraged sales from India’s fetish for SUVs and the car endeared with the practicality of a hatch back. In short Ecosport is a hatchback in SUV garb. The car raked in real good numbers on the sales chart and in no time became the largest selling model for the American automotive giant in India. However, with the introduction of the cars like Hyundai Creta and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza the little American has to move out from the numero-uno position in the mini SUV segment.
Ford has now introduced their first major mid-life facelift for the Ecosport. We take the new Ecosport under the slice table.
The first thing you notice on the new design is the big Ford signature chrome grille at the front. The front fog lamps are integrated along with the indicators and gels well with the new set of redesigned headlamp assembly. The bonnet also acquired a power hump. In totality, Ford has deliberately attempted to render some bulkiness to the design, which gives the baby Ford a ‘love it or hate it’ factor. The side and rear remains the same except for the newly designed 17-inch alloy wheels. The new design cannot be termed perfect, however, the Ecosport do not look like a hatchback trying hard to be an SUV rather can be safely pegged as a small SUV.
The 2017 Ecosport gets an altogether new design theme for the dashboard. The major change that clamors for attention is the new color touchscreen infotainment system, which neatly protrudes at the top center of the dashboard. It misses on sat-nav but compensate it with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The instrument console surprisingly looks plain-Jane devoid of the funkiness of the outgoing model, which is a disappointment and just don’t gel with uber-cool nature of the car. However, it is easy to read and houses an MID which displays a whole host of information (Distance to empty, instant fuel economy, Tyre pressure and digital speedometer)
The air-con vents are placed unusually low at the front and it shares the controls and display from the new Figo. The new Ecosport shares many other elements from the Figo’s part bin, including the shiny and scratchy plastics. The car gets large door storage bins on all the four doors. Ford chose not to give a rear AC vent this time also.
The legroom and shoulder room is just decent and nothing extra-ordinary. The limited legroom is compensated with the high sitting position. The back seats get enough thigh support which is welcome. The seats get softer cushions and reengineered contours, which definitely has improved the comfort for the occupants. In addition, the rear seats on the top trim Titanium + can fold forward the seat base to generate a completely flat floor. Front seats are also redesigned and are a little wider compared to the outgoing model. The steering can be adjusted for rake and reach as well. The top variants get six-airbags to keep you safe. The seats get Isofix child seat mounts.
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Engine and Performance
The major change here is the introduction of the new 1.5-liter petrol motor christened as the ‘Dragon’. This three-cylinder motor replaces the 1.5-liter Sigma petrol motor. This smooth and super silent motor generates a peak power of 123 hp and 150 Nm max torque. The smooth and ample power delivery even at lower revs is a boon in the city and the car pulls cleanly right from the lower revs. This engine comes mated with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic torque convertor. Sadly, Ford retired the quicker and relatively hi-tech dual clutch auto box. However, Ford has given you paddle shifters along with the new automatic gearbox which adds the sportiness to the automatic.
The 1498cc four-cylinder diesel motor is carried over from the outgoing model. This one has enough oomph and torque. This TDCi motor generates a peak power of 100 bhp and maximum torque of 205 Nm. The power delivery is smooth devoid of sudden spike in power when the turbo spools up unlike the turbo diesels from Suzuki. A smooth but not perfect five-speed transmission does the gearing duties.
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Ride and Handling
Ford has tweaked the handle and ride on the new Ecosport. The new Ecosport has a softer ride compared to the old one. However, Ford has managed the same without compromising much on the handling. Considering the high center of gravity compared to a normal hatchback or sedan, there is definitely little body-roll but that should not be a matter of concern and you can carry good speeds into most of the corners. Traction control and hill-start assist is a standard feature across all the variants.