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Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:03

Ford EcoSport : Official Review
The Ford EcoSport has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 5.59 - 8.99 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• Snazzy, futuristic styling makes the EcoSport a head-turner. Solid construction too
• 3 engine options, including the impressive 1.0L EcoBoost & economical 1.5L Diesel
• Loaded to the gills with technology & equipment (SYNC, keyless entry & go, cooled glovebox, leather seats, parking display...)
• Smartly packaged interior. Adequate space for 4 adults. Lots of storage and practical features
• Dynamically sorted. Competent handling by SUV standards
• City-friendly! Great ergonomics, driving position, manoeuvrability and size for urban India
• Safety kit includes 6 Airbags, ABS + EBD, Emergency assistance phone call, Emergency brake warning etc. AT variant gets ESP and Hill-Hold

What you won't:

Hyundai-esque light electric steering on the Highway
• Ride quality isn't as plush as that of the Renault Duster. Underlying stiffness obvious
• 362 liter boot is significantly smaller than all competitors
• Narrow cabin width makes a 5th occupant unwelcome. Best for 4 onboard
• Sub-4 meter size and compact dimensions take street cred away
Tree trunk thick A-Pillars result in severe blind spots
• EcoBoost only on top variant. No high-powered diesel like the Duster 110PS

The 2017 Facelift:

Review Link

The EcoSport S:

Review Link

This Review has been jointly compiled with GTO

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:03

3 Attachment(s)
If there's one word you could use to describe the Indian car market, it would certainly be dynamic. Not only are manufacturers forced to account for ever-changing customer demands, but they also have to stay on top of inconsistent government regulations.

The Renault Duster validates our insatiable appetite for car-like SUVs. Despite an unknown brand name, older design, optimistic pricing and unfriendly dealer network, the Duster managed to sell between 5,000 - 6,000 copies per month in the most recent quarter. While the Duster is competent in the areas of engine, robustness and ride quality, what really worked in its favour was the lack of any direct competition. The Premier Rio was destined to be a flop, and Mahindra's Quanto is too utilitarian in comparison. This monopoly won't continue for long though, most brands have compact SUVs as a priority in their product plans now.

Like the Duster, the EcoSport is a monocoque SUV. Unlike the ladder-on-frame Quanto, Scorpio etc., monocoque SUVs are lighter and incredibly car-like to drive. On the flip side, they aren't as tough as traditional ladder frame UVs, especially in load carrying or off-road applications. The monocoque UV seldom has a 3rd row of seats either (Ertiga being an exception). While commercial users will undoubtedly stick to conventional UVs, it's the personal owner that the compact SUV has square in its sight. Cross-shopping across segments is commonplace in India, and the target customers include those who are considering a premium hatchback or C segment sedan. Ford expects the compact SUV segment to grow 5 times from the current level by 2020.

The EcoSport starts its fight with the Duster on a strong footing. Because its length ducks under the 4 meter mark, Ford saves a substantial chunk in excise duties (Related Thread) for all engine options, save for the 1.5L petrol. Good thing that the spare wheel isn't accounted for by the authorities when calculating vehicular length. Then, the EcoSport is a futuristic design and Ford dealerships have a far wider reach across India.

Ford isn't new to the mini-SUV category, having tried its hand with the erstwhile Fusion in 2004. Add a spare wheel to the Fusion's tail-gate and it's a compact SUV like any other today. In fact, the 1st gen EcoSport was based on the Fusion itself. The car tanked in India; you could say it was ahead of its time.

This is the 2nd generation EcoSport that had its initial India showcase at the 2012 Auto Expo. Although the unveiling generated a phenomenal amount of buzz, Ford sure took its own sweet time in bringing the product to market. The EcoSport is based on Ford’s global B platform (same as the Fiesta). Alan Mulally - Ford's star CEO - enforced the design & development of platforms that can be used for multiple products in multiple markets worldwide. This "One Ford" approach is similar to that practiced by Volkswagen. In fact, VW is taking things to an all-new level with its MQB platform (Related Thread).

The EcoSport Concept displayed at the Expo looked extremely futuristic & funky. We're pleasantly surprised that the mass market version has minimal changes. The most obvious are the headlamps which are standard fare halogens, compared to the concept's LEDs. The front bumper receives a minor nip & tuck to bring the length within 4 meters (at 3,999 mm, talk about being close!). Ford designers insist you can barely tell the difference from the Int'l version.

The EcoSport's modern styling makes it stand out on Indian roads. Opinions will be divided though. Some might love the attention-grabbing look, whereas others could be put off by the design extremities, especially that huge gaping grill at the front. Personally, I'm a fan. Even GTO - who usually prefers conservative lines - was impressed. For what it's worth, a snazzy design sure worked for the 1st-gen Swift and XUV500.

When you see the EcoSport in person, there's no denying the fact that it is a compact SUV (read = small). The size is that of a large hatch and from some angles, you might think of a raised & beefed up Figo. The Duster is clearly a size larger and does look more SUV'ish. Still, Ford has done a brilliant job in masking the small dimensions with aggressive elements, bringing a butch look that belies the actual size of the vehicle. That massive octagonal grille placed inside a tall bumper is followed up by sweptback headlamps, giving the front an aggressive stance. The bumper's sheer height is concealed by leaving the lower part unpainted. Moving up to the bonnet, you'll find muscular creases that sharply merge into the A-pillar. From the side view, notice the dark grey bottom cladding that runs around the car. Without this cladding, there would've been too much painted sheet metal, resulting in a tallboy look. Beefed up wheel arches bring some SUV'ish presence, but not quite like the spare mounted on the side-opening tailgate. That spare wheel position is what gives the EcoSport a true blue SUV look. Without it, the car would look like a tall hatchback (a la Fusion). The spare wheel is securely fixed on a sturdy bracket. The small quarter glasses blend into the rear windscreen via a black plastic kicker. Sharp styling gives the EcoSport a drag coefficient of 0.371 (Duster = 0.42).

The Titanium (O) variant we drove was shod with properly sized 205/60 R16 rubber. There were two tyre options seen on the test cars, the MRF ZV2K and Goodyear Assurance. Lower trims will wear 15" wheels and 195 width tyres which may not lend the same stance as the 16's. Ground clearance is ample at 200 mm, while the break over approach and departure angles are 25 & 35 degrees respectively. Ford claims that the EcoSport is capable of water-wading up to a depth of 550 mm (Duster = 350 mm).

As is typical of all Fords, build quality is solid. The heavy two-stage doors shut with a thud and feel sturdy. Overall sheet metal appears to be of a thicker gauge than the Koreans / Japanese, and even that of the Duster. This reflects in the kerb weight of the EcoSport which runs upward of 1200 kilos, all the way to 1290 kg (Duster = 1160 to 1205). Panel gaps are acceptable for the most part. We didn't find huge clearances anywhere, except for the bonnet line (on the side) and the rear tailgate (pictured below). Paint quality is good and there aren't any visible dull / rough edges. However, crude weld joints are visible where the roof ends, and at the base of the A-pillar.

Ford will offer the EcoSport in a total of 10 variants, 3 engine options and 2 transmissions. The 1.5L Diesel MT will be available in all trims, just like the Fiesta diesel. This engine will obviously be the volume generator for Ford. 2 Petrol engines are on offer, a 1.5L Ti-VCT motor from the Fiesta and the 1.0L 3-cylinder turbo-charged EcoBoost. The EcoBoost will only be available on the top Titanium and Titanium (O) variants. The 1.5L Ti-VCT is made in all variants, except the top Titanium (O). You also get this engine with a DSG automatic in the Titanium trim.

The topmost variant we drove was loaded to the gills. It had 6 airbags (front, side and curtain), ABS, leather seats, height-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, driver armrest, tilt / telescopic steering adjustment, rear parking sensors, climate control, keyless entry & go, Microsoft SYNC (detailed post below), Emergency Assist system and lots more. Additionally, the DSG Automatic EcoSport receives hill hold assist and ESP. It's time for the i20 & Verna to move over, the EcoSport is surely the new king in gizmo land. The only 3 features missing are electrically-folding mirrors (useful in India), a sunroof (rarely used by owners) and a rear air-con (not needed due to powerful climate control).

Nice video (shared by Ford) showing the EcoSport inside out

Futuristic styling will be a huge draw. Production version is barely altered from concept form:

Short 4 meter length most apparent when viewed from the side. Black plastic cladding runs around the body and contributes to that SUV look. Wheelbase is 31 mm longer than the Fiesta:

Aggressive face, thanks to the humongous octagonal grill, slim headlamps and massive bumper. Black bottom conceals the bumper's sheer height. Front / rear skidplates would've completed the look:

Rear three quarter angle. The rear is what defines the EcoSport. Without that tail-mounted spare wheel, she'd look like just another tallboy hatchback:

D-Pillar has a black kicker panel which lends a wraparound look to the rear windscreen. It's designed to deflect air:

Size comparo with the Figo. The EcoSport isn't much bigger, but clever design elements hide the compact dimensions to an extent:

Sleek, wraparound headlamps. Single H4 beam with horrible throw (like the Figo) and lots of dark patches. Better bulbs don't help (90/100W upgrade makes some difference, but far from a drastic improvement):

A close look reveals DRL provision. International models get LED daytime running lights. Ford India might be saving those for a mid-life facelift?

Protruding foglamps. Surround gets the ubiquitous chrome treatment:

Indian EcoSport gets shiny chrome on the grill, where the Euro version has dark silver inserts. I'm not a fan of chrome. Intercooler & radiator deep inside:

The bonnet's steeply rising ridges merge with the A-pillar. Contours look fab. Windscreen washers should have been hidden and tucked away under the hood:

Beefy rear & front wheel arches. Nowhere near as bulbous as the Duster's though:

Both front doors get a request sensor. As long as the keyfob is in your pocket, simply press to open:

Humongous ORVMs with integrated blinkers:

Ribbed roof for added structural rigidity:

Sharp tail-lamp styling. Just two lights, one each for the brake & blinker. The other two are dummies:

Reversing light is lower down on the bumper. Also visible is 1 of the 4 parking sensors. Caught the TDCi badge? Yes, this is a diesel, albeit for display purposes only at the event:

Sweet 16" alloys on 205/60 rubber. Design is among the best we've seen for an OEM. The bottommost is an anti-theft lugnut. It requires a keyed spanner to open:

Tailgate handle neatly hidden within the lamp. To open, simply press the button & the door pops out an inch:

The EcoSport's side-opening tailgate requires a lot more space than one that opens upward. A dilemma if you park close to a wall or another car. Tailgate is solid & heavy:

Because the spare wheel is mounted on the tail, there's a lot of empty space below the boot area:

What is this mysterious flap behind the rear tyre? It's an add-on (also seen in the new Fiesta) so the car meets homologation requirements in countries that require a certain percentage of the tyre to be covered by the wheel arch. Should prevent water spray too:

Panel gaps are consistent throughout, except for a rare spot like this one:

Turning radius of 5.3m. Convenient enough, although the bigger Duster has a shorter 5.2m turning radius. I managed to turn the car around on this narrow road:

An ample 200 mm of ground clearance. @ Bangalore speed-breakers, eat your heart out. Exhaust pipe is barely visible from the EcoSport's back:

Two additional exterior angles:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:03

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review

For a sub-4 meter SUV, the EcoSport is extremely well packaged. Save for the hatchback-like narrow cabin, it doesn't feel like a tiny SUV at all.

The funky exterior styling theme is carried over on the inside. The interiors look futuristic, especially when compared to the Duster's boring design. At first glance, the interiors look similar to the Fiesta's. A closer look reveals that the dashboard is all new, except for a few bits like the audio system controls, instrument console and climate control unit. I'm a fan of black interiors and have a personal dislike for beige, happy that Ford decided to buck the trend every other manufacturer follows. On the negative side, the EcoSport's cabin doesn't feel bright or airy, and the dark colours do make it seem smaller than it actually is. To break the monotony, there are a handful of different finishes thrown in. The top of the dash is black while the bottom is grey. The A/C vents, center console, speedo console and steering wheel have shiny silver touches, whereas the area around the climate control & gear knob get a piano black surface. Overall interior quality is surely acceptable (in contrast to the demo vehicles shown at malls) and a definite notch above the Duster. No, the plastics aren't soft touch nor i20-grade, yet they do feel durable. Ford hasn't cut too many corners in the visible areas and we don't foresee owners complaining. EcoSport customers won't be raving about the quality, albeit they won't be whining either. There's a rubber beading around the doors as well as the inside frame for better insulation. The Duster's single door beading was a grouse for many. The A/C vents have a neat rubbery sliding knob to shut them completely. The only real issues we observed were loosely fitted plastic panels around the gear lever and meter console. We could easily shake the entire instrument console by hand. On a related note, the same problem was observed with the foglamp housing on the bumper.

The best part of an SUV is the higher seating and ease of ingress / egress. You simply walk into the cabin; no crouching down to get in like low slung sedans or climbing up as old school SUVs require you to. Space for front seat occupants is excellent. The seats are set higher up and have a long travel range, allowing the shortest / tallest of folk to be comfortable. Headroom isn't a cause for concern, it is ample. The front seats are very supportive and offer amazing lateral support. Slim to medium build drivers will find it perfect. However, due to the additional bolstering, the heavier amongst us will find the front seats to be way too narrow. The leather upholstery looks superb and is of acceptable quality (no, it's not Stanley grade). The red stitching & perforated area bring a sporty touch. Seat compound is on the firmer side, all the better for support on long-distance journeys. The driver's seat is the place to be in, thanks to the many adjustment options that allow you to get that ideal driving position. You get adjustable seat height, lumbar support, tilt + telescopic steering and a foldable driver armrest. The lumbar support and seat height adjustment have a massive range...GTO was turning the lumbar knob forever till it travelled from min -> max setting. No issues with the footwell area. Yep, there is a carpeted dead pedal that you can comfortably rest your left foot on.

Even though you sit tall, visibility is a mixed bag of sorts. While you get a commanding view out front, the A-pillars are as thick as a tree trunk! That, and the large ORVMs, create a huge blind spot on the sides. At one point, I lost an entire scooter in the blind section and on another, I missed spotting a divider to my right while taking a turn. You need to be extremely cautious of this design defect. The good part about the massive ORVMs is the fantastic field of view on offer. The mirrors have a dotted line demarcating the convex curve on the outer edge. Rearward view is similar to any other SUV, but the thick D-Pillars do create blind spots. Further, you should be cautious while reversing as the spare wheel isn't visible at all. Remember to account for it when calculating the gap from an object behind.

Ergonomically, the EcoSport is just like any other Ford. Since I drive a Figo, everything felt natural as soon as I got in. Nothing is out of place and the driving position is spot-on. This is a huge advantage over the Duster which suffers from multiple ergonomic flaws. The steering wheel is nice to hold, even if the cladding is too hard for our tastes. The steering rim is equipped with grooves for your thumbs. To the left are buttons for SYNC voice commands, phone answer / reject and volume up / down. Unfortunately, the indicator stalks are Euro-oriented with blinker controls on the LHS. The indicator stalk has a lane change feature (like the Figo), and you can disable it from the MID if you so wish. The central 3.5" MID throws out a host of vehicle data and houses the SYNC system as well. Additionally, the instrument console gets the ubiquitous smaller MID (between the dials) that provides information on instantaneous mileage, average mileage, distance to empty, average speed, exterior temperature and the speed limiting chime. The EcoSport allows you to preset a certain speed which, if crossed, will result in a warning chime.

Some areas could use a correction though. Taller drivers might find the gear lever to be placed too far forward. The door lock switch is awkwardly placed on the center console (instead of the usual spot on the door). Speaking of the door locks, the system is absolutely useless!! Even if the doors are locked, all it takes to open one (in a moving car) is a tug on the inside door lever. None of the doors get an individual locking switch / knob that you can use to manually lock / unlock. I found this extremely strange as even my Figo has them! With kids on the backseat, you had better enable the child lock system. Another miss is the grab handle for all passengers. The Titanium (O) variant we drove doesn't get a single grab handle, due to the curtain airbags. We found this weird as there are other cars that provide curtain airbags and grab handles, both.

On the positive side, the EcoSport has a lot of cool features that you'll fall in love with. The keyless entry system allows you to open the doors without having to remove the key from your pocket at all. As long as the keyfob is within the vehicle's range, simply press the request sensor on either front door to unlock. Once inside, engage the clutch pedal and hit that start / stop button to fire the engine up. Then, there's the MID featuring a 3.5" dot matrix display. The info screen tells you exactly which door is open, the temperature set on the climate control and more. The Microsoft SYNC system connects to your phone for music / calls via bluetooth and works like a charm. It had no difficulty recognising our voice commands for music or phone calls. The EcoSport is equipped with follow-me-home headlamps that stay on for a bit after you lock the vehicle.

A special point has to be made on the EcoSport's air-conditioning system. Goa is super hot and humid this time of the year. Despite us driving under the scorching sun without sunfilm, the EcoSport's air-con kept the cabin cold. Rear seat passengers were comfortable as well. Get this, we actually had to turn up the climate control temperature at times. After the SUV was parked directly under the sun at the lunch pitstop, when we got back, the air-con did a stellar job in bringing down cabin temperature within a handful of minutes. The climate control system goes all the way down to 16c. Its buttons are easy to use and logically laid out. One complaint we have is that the system returns to fresh-air mode each time you restart the car. Translated, you have to manually activate recirculation mode, else you'll be breathing exhaust fumes of the cars around.

Streaming music from my smartphone, we found the OEM stereo's sound quality to be surprisingly good! The bass, in particular, is impressive. GTO & I both agreed we wouldn't bother upgrading the audio equipment at all. The factory system will leave most owners happy. Good thing because the head-unit's design and its integration with other functions (info-screen, voice commands, steering controls, USB / AUX jacks) makes an after-market fitment rather complex. Don't be misled by the tweeter cover on the front doors though (next to the door handle). It's a dummy, we used a torch and saw only orange paint inside. The audio system has speed volume compensation. That is, the volume automatically goes up as the speedometer climbs (and vice versa).

Storage space is aplenty in the Ford. There are a total of 9 bottle / beverage holders here. The front doors have large pockets that hold 2 bottles each (1.5L and 500 ml). There's a bottle holder on each of the rear doors too, while the center storage area can take 3 more. This central console has spots for a cellphone, iPod and other oddities. The glovebox isn't deep, yet it has a separate partition at the top for manuals & the like. The glovebox' lower half is cooled via a rotating vent and can store 6 cans. There's a nifty storage drawer below the front passenger seat. You could easily place an iPad here, away from prying eyes. Both front seats get useful seatback pockets. Lastly, the storage compartment right below the headlamp control knob is useful for toll tickets etc. You'll also find the OBD port located here.

Steering wheel is nearly identical to the Fiesta's. Meaty to hold, but cladding is too hard. Thumb contours provided:

In addition to tilt, the steering also has the very-welcome telescopic adjustment:

The sporty instrument console. Dials are easy to read. Only 1 trip-meter available. Binnacle is poorly fitted; we could shake the entire unit with a light hand:

Full feature MID provides information on instantaneous mileage, average mileage, distance to empty, average speed, exterior temperature and the speed limiting chime. Use the TRIP button on the left indicator stalk to toggle between the various screens. 7.9 kpl after redlining, 15.1 kpl after light-footed driving:

Audio system with Microsoft SYNC. Sound quality is superb! Buttons are laid out like the old-gen Nokia phones. Door lock / unlock buttons placed above the hazard light switch:

Reverse parking system provides visual & audible feedback:

Effective climate control chills the EcoSport's cabin in no time. Buttons feel good to use and are logically placed. You have to (annoyingly) select recirculation mode each time you start the car:

Smart key can stay in your pocket / handbag. That is, you don't need to remove it to get inside the car or drive away. We're guessing that international variants get a boot release button (3rd is a dummy here):

Well-finished engine start / stop button. To activate accessory mode on the ignition - where you can use the stereo, power windows etc. (but with the engine switched off) - simply hit the button without pressing the clutch:

Chunky gear knob. Shift quality is acceptable, although far from class leading. We've seen slicker gearboxes:

Handbrake area has space for 3 bottles, your smartphone & knick knacks:

USB / AUX and 12v charging ports conveniently located near the handbrake:

Dual-level glovebox isn't too deep. The bottom compartment has an air-con duct to keep 'em coke cans cool:

Extremely supportive front seats. Those with a heavy build will find them too tight. Thanks to a multitude of adjustments & the perfect ergonomics, finding that ideal driving position is a piece of cake:

Seat height adjustment has a wide range that can accommodate the shortest & tallest of drivers:

Driver's seat is equipped with a comfortable, foldable armrest. IMHO, front passenger ought to get one too. The lumbar support knob has a healthy adjustment range:

Acceptable leather quality (no, it's not Stanley grade). The dark red stitching adds a sporty touch. Perforations are in the same red colour:

Small drawer (below the front passenger seat) for items up to 1 kilo. Keep that iPad hidden from prying eyes:

Perfectly positioned pedals. Footwell has a comfortable spot for resting your left foot on long drives:

Solid doors require a firm hand to close. Power window switches on all doors are illuminated in a blue hue. Driver's window has auto up / down functionality:

Front door pockets can hold two bottles (1.5L & 500 ml sizes):

A/C vent knob has a nice rubberised feel. Sliding it to the right shuts off airflow completely:

Height adjustable seatbelts are conspicuous by their absence in such a loaded car. Curtain airbags...

...and side airbags on the Titanium (O) variant. No seat covers permitted:

Tree trunk A-pillars and large ORVMs create a painful blind spot. Observe just how the Hyundai Accent and the space between itself <-> tree is hidden from view:

The ORVMs offer a good look of everything behind. Mirror glass is dual convex; it has a wider field of view after the dotted line (on the outside):

Although the IRVM is sufficiently wide, rearward visibility is strictly average (details with the next picture):

The thick D-Pillars do create blind spots, while the spare wheel isn't visible at all. Remember to account for it when reversing:

Front passenger gets a vanity mirror & manually-activated light. What's cool is that closing the visor shuts the light as well, due to a smart switch design. Unfortunately, the driver's visor gets nothing...not even a mirror:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:03

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
Just like the front, ingress / egress is easy at the back. Once seated, you realize that rear legroom is adequate. It's not excessive, but one certainly can't call the EcoSport cramped. Leg space is sufficient for the average-sized adult; even for taller passengers like me, there is no reason to complain. Outright knee-room is perhaps in the ballpark of the typical C segment sedan. Of course, spacious cars like the Etios, Manza and Sunny are in a different league altogether.

GTO has a super laidback driving position, as do I. Neither of us faced any difficulty sitting behind the other (I am 6' tall and GTO is 5'10"). What aids overall comfort levels is the ideal seat height providing satisfactory under-thigh support. Headroom is also adequate for tall occupants. The backrest has a 3-step adjustable recline angle. The 1st setting is much too upright, but the last is relaxed and laid back. Take your pick. The backrest runs long and offers excellent support to tall passengers. This rear seat might be flat and lacking contours, yet it's a supportive set-up. Move the seat recline angle all the way down, pull the height-adjustable neck restraints up, rest your arm on the scooped-out door pad and you are all set for a long journey.

One sore point is the steep shoulder line that results in an unusually high window sill. It greatly blocks out light from coming in, as well as your outside view. This, coupled with the black interior colour, makes for a dull & depressing ambience. Another issue is the missing center armrest on the backseat. For a car that's so loaded with features, we find it surprising that Ford chose to skimp on such a frequently used comfort item! Then, the front seats have a metal bar at the bottom (pictured below). You'll either love or hate this bar. GTO thought it interfered with the shin area of his feet, although I found it a good place to rest my shoes on. Lastly, grab handles were missed in our Titanium (O) test car. We frequently found ourselves reaching for the (imaginary) grab handle when an enthusiastic driver was behind the wheel.

Things start taking a turn for the worse if a 3rd passenger wants to squeeze in and join the party. In such a situation, it's advantage Duster all the way. Simply put, the EcoSport's backseat is suited to two occupants only. It's limited width results in a 3rd feeling terribly unwelcome. The tall floor hump (though narrow) means that footroom for the middle passenger is at a premium.

Rear occupants aren't left out in the area of practical features. Each door gets a bottle holder and both front seats get seatback pockets, lined with felt on the inside. There is a cabin light at the back (exactly the same part as the Figo's front map light). On the right side of the bench, you'll find a conveniently placed 12v charging socket.

The rear doors don't open out as wide as the front's:

That aside, thanks to the tall stance & high seats, getting in / out is a breeze...even for the elderly:

Awesome seat support at the back. On the flip side, the limited width means 2 adults only. 3rd is so unwelcome. See how the window sill sharply sweeps up, thereby limiting the entry of light:

Minimum / maximum legroom. The front seats have a healthy travel range:

Backrest has triple-stage recline adjustment. Angle seen here is the most relaxed. Neck restraints are adjustable:

That's me (6 feet height) comfortable on the back seat. Adequate legroom:

A closer look at the offending rod mentioned earlier. Reminds us of the Tata Nano; it can mess with your shin area. Alternatively, use this bar as a raised footrest:

Prominent floor hump. Narrow but tall, it's an inconvenience (compared to a flat floor):

Innovatively placed 12v charging port on the seat's right side:

Sculpted rear doorpad. Comfortable armrest. Can hold a 500ml bottle:

Two nifty seat-back pockets:

No grab handles for the Titanium (O) variant, due to the curtain airbags. Feature sorely missed!

Rear cabin lamp. Placed such that it can illuminate the rear seat as well as boot area:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:03

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
There's a boot load of stuff to talk about in this post. For starters, opening the tail-gate will leave mall security guards perplexed, as they won't be able to find the handle. Look carefully and you'll see a scooped out handle within the RHS tail-lamp unit. This isn't a pull-type lever. To open, simply press the request sensor and the door pops out an inch. Yup, as many of you have debated, the door opens sideways and is hinged to the left (not as is conventional to the right). This isn't a big deal at all. That said, a side opening door isn't as convenient as a hatch that opens upward, as it requires you to have a sufficient amount of space behind the vehicle (to open the door). This can pose a problem if the car is parked against a wall.

It's obvious that Ford has prioritized backseat space over boot capacity. We prefer it this way because the backseat is used more often than the boot (at least, for most people out there). Boot space is rated at a mere 362 liters, far smaller than the Duster and even hatchbacks like the Honda Jazz. The Mahindra Quanto's 690 liter boot provides nearly twice as much cargo capacity as the EcoSport! With the rear bench folded away, the EcoSport offers 705 liters of hauling capability.

362 liter boot is the smallest in class. Loading bay is 1099 mm wide and 800 mm tall:

Low lip makes it easier to load luggage:

Scooped-out rear door liberates that much more space. Notice the single gas strut that helps in opening the heavy door. Once you open it halfway, the door opens fully on its own:

The unique parcel tray that rolls open / shut. Useful to keep valuables hidden from prying eyes. You can also detach it entirely, if required:

The tool kit...

...and the jack below:

60:40 splitting rear seat for cargo flexibility. Available in the Trend variant and above:

Rear seats in a single fold:

A double fold moves them completely out of the way. 705 liters of hauling capability this way:

Pull this strap (located behind the rear seat) to fold the backrest down. There's another one on the side of the rear seat. Pulling both lets you double-fold the seat away:

Strap the rear seat onto the front to hold it securely in place:

A boot lamp, as well as a hook for your shopping bags:

A night's luggage for 4 and camera equipment filled the boot up. The wife will need to pack light:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:04

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
The Ford + Microsoft SYNC Interface

SYNC is an onboard media system that connects to your smartphone, and seamlessly integrates it with the vehicle. The EcoSport is the first car from Ford India to feature SYNC. Though the Fiesta has a voice control system, it's primitive in comparison. SYNC is way more advanced, and it can also recognize up to 150 unique voice commands. However, unlike the Fiesta, the EcoSport's SYNC doesn't accept voice commands for the climate control system. In India, SYNC is set up for UK English pronunciations (rather than US English). It can be paired with up to 12 different phones.

The EcoSport SYNC is capable of 3 primary functions:

1. Communication (phone connects via Bluetooth):
• SYNC will download your contacts and SMS to the car.
• Dial any contact by pressing the voice command button on the steering wheel, then saying "Call <person's name>".
• Dial a contact by speaking out the phone number, or using the numeric keypad of the head-unit.
• On most newer Windows phones, SYNC will read your incoming text messages out. This includes translating emoticons or commonly used abbreviations such as "LOL" (laughing out loud).
• Party trick: There are 15 pre-defined SMS templates ready for use. These are sent out with a cheesy signature that reads "This text was sent from my Ford".
• Browse through your phone contacts or call logs from the MID itself.
• Your cellphone's signal strength and battery level are displayed on the MID.
• Supports call waiting and conference calling.
• Warning : Indian law does NOT permit phone calls while driving, even via bluetooth (related thread).

Does it work? Yep, it sure does. I tried dialling a few Indian names from my contacts and the system was able to recognize nearly all of them. For the few it didn't recognize, the system tells you so, and it will display a list of options close to the name. You then have to speak out "1, 2 or 3" to choose a name from that list. If you want to know why it didn't understand a particular name, SYNC will pronounce the contact for you, so you know how the system expects you to say it!

With compatible handsets, SYNC even plays back the same ringtone as your phone. If you have a different ringtone for specific contacts, SYNC will play those out too. For incompatible phones, there is a predefined list of ringtones to choose from.

Although SYNC is way more loaded than the Bluetooth system of my Figo, there is one feature that I missed. In my Figo, if you switch off the car & remove the key in the middle of a phone call, the Bluetooth system remains connected and lets you finish the call. In the EcoSport, once you hit the engine stop button, the Bluetooth gets disconnected and the system shuts off. The call is then transferred back to your phone. Of course, this is down to personal preferences, but I prefer it the Figo way. The system also works the other way. Say, if you are on a call and walk up to your EcoSport, the call will automatically transfer to SYNC once you start the car.
2. Music (Bluetooth Streaming, USB or iPod):
• SYNC can stream music from your smartphone (if it supports A2DP music streaming), or play tracks off your USB drive.
• What's cool is that SYNC can play any requested track by referring to the MP3's ID3 tag (title, artist, album or genre).
• Simply hit the voice command button and say "Play <song name>", "Play <artist name>" or "Play <Rock/Pop/Jazz>".

Does it work? Have to say this again : It works like a charm! This is the best part of the system. You don't need to browse through endless GBs of your USB drive for that one song you want. Simply speak out the name and the song is chosen! I tried with commands like "Play Lady Gaga", "Play Michael Jackson", "Play Billie Jean", "Play Alejandro" etc. It recognized each and every one of them.

Additionally, Ford says that SYNC can create playlists of similar music. By saying "Play similar", the system puts together a playlist of tracks similar to the one currently playing. It probably compiles a similar playlist by referring to the ID3 tag data.
3. Emergency Assistance (only if a phone is connected via Bluetooth):
• A first in India...with the potential to save lives. Unfortunately, response times from medical services are the weakest link in our country. Some States have it good, most are poor.
• SYNC will automatically dial "108" from your phone if an accident leads to airbag deployment or fuel pump cut off.
• SYNC will notify you before dialling 108, and wait for 10 seconds for you to cancel (that is, if you don't want the system to call emergency services). Simply press the hangup button on the steering wheel to cancel.
• If you don't cancel, SYNC will place the call to 108 and speak out an automated message that goes "A Ford vehicle has been involved in an accident. Please standby for GPS coordinates. The GPS coordinates are XX, YY" It will then transfer the call to the occupants for any further instructions.
• If an accident occurs while you are on another call, the emergency assist system will forcefully end it and dial 108. Also, incoming calls will NOT interrupt the emergency call.
• Obviously, SYNC works only if your phone is connected via Bluetooth, has network range and is functioning properly post-accident.

Does it work? Fortunately, we never got a chance to try this feature out. Another media group met with an unfortunate crash, you can read about their experience here. While there are inherent advantages to the system contacting support staff on 108, especially if occupants are physically disabled from using their phones, I have my apprehensions on the operator's understanding of GPS coordinates. India isn't there yet.
Use the directional arrow keys to navigate through SYNC. 4 buttons at the bottom (either side of the door lock controls) are the most important. These are the contextual menu buttons (i.e. soft keys). Each corresponds to the function displayed at the bottom edge of the MID (refer to the next image). The navigation does take some time to figure out:

Music playback. The 4 context menu "soft keys" mentioned earlier correspond to the 4 functions displayed at the bottom of the screen (Options, browse, info, play / pause):

Sound quality is very good. We don't see any need to upgrade in the after-market. Variety of audio settings:

Choose your music based on playlists, artists, genre etc.

A close look at the steering-mounted controls. Center button activates the SYNC voice command:

Phone status once connected. Those 5 orange indicators (on the left) correspond to the selected source (CD, Radio, USB, Phone, Settings):

To dial a contact, use voice commands, the directional arrow buttons...

...or choose from the call logs:

15 ready SMS templates. Love you :D. The wife will wonder why you've suddenly gotten so expressive:

SYNC can also display your SMS:

You can disable the Emergency Assist System if you so wish (not recommended):

Other vehicle settings:

MID tells you exactly which door is open:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:04

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
The 1.0L EcoBoost Engine

Downsizing is a global trend in today’s times due to packaging restrictions, cost, efficiency and environmental considerations. VW was the first to bring a direct-injection turbocharged petrol to the sub-10 lakh segment, which really is the relevant part of the market. That's noteworthy since anyone can offer the latest & the greatest at price points of Rs. 20 lakh and above. Ford is next in line to bring this cutting edge technology to the sector. Not to forget, the American giant was the first to launch a dual-clutch automatic gearbox with the Fiesta DCT...the same tech that the VW Polo TSI has on offer with its DSG. Petrol engines were once the stronghold of the Japanese. Well, they've been left behind in the dust. The Germans & Americans bring fresh technology, the Koreans (i.e. Hyundai) have mastered quality + styling + top class equipment, yet the Japanese continue with engine designs that have been around since the nineties. Maruti, Toyota, Honda & Nissan sure have some catching up to do. There has been a dismal lack of innovation from the land of the rising sun. When it comes to diesels as well, Toyota & Nissan sell older tech, underpowered motors (again, we're talking about the sub-10 lakh mass market here). Maruti completely outsources its diesel engines while Honda has only just launched its first oil-burner in India. Few will argue against the fact that Japanese car manufacturers have gotten complacent, they really ought to pull their socks up.

The EcoSport is powered by the 1.0L 3 cylinder EcoBoost engine. It’s a 999cc, 3 cylinder motor in an SUV. That's lesser cubic capacity than a Rs. 3 lakh Hyundai Santro! Don’t let the size put you off though. Direct injection & turbocharging take the power output to 123 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 170 Nm peak torque (@ a diesel-like 1,400 rpm, carried all the way to 4,500 rpm). Though small in size, the EcoBoost will be the most powerful petrol of any million rupee car. A comparison with VW's TSI motor wouldn't be out of place here. The Polo's 4 cylinder, larger 1.2L engine makes lesser power and about the same torque (104 BHP, 175 Nm). The EcoSport's ARAI fuel economy is higher too. Ford managed 18.9 kpl on the tests, compared to 17.2 kpl for the Polo DSG.

Salient Features of the 1.0L EcoBoost:
• Ford’s first 3-cylinder petrol engine. Developed at the company's Dunton Technical Center, UK.
• The engine is currently imported from their Cologne plant @ Germany. It is also made in Romania and (soon) China.
• India receives the 124 BHP tune. Some other markets get the 98 BHP variant.
• Direct injection is used to feed petrol using Ford's 2nd gen fuel injection system.
• The EcoBoost employs a fixed geometry low inertia turbocharger that can spin up to 250,000 rpm.
• Yes, it does have an intercooler.
• Variable valve timing on both, the intake & exhaust sides.
• Weight = Merely 97 kilos.
• 3-cylinder engines are inherently imbalanced. The end result is a rocking motion as there is no opposing cylinder moving in the opposite direction (much like an unbalanced see-saw). Manufacturers usually cancel out this imbalance via a balancer shaft that has an uneven mass. It basically works like a counter weight or a mass damper to reduce vibrations & rocking motions by spinning in the opposite direction. The EcoBoost engine doesn't use any balancer shaft. Instead, Ford have designed an intentionally unbalanced flywheel and crank pulley at opposite ends of the crankshaft. This saves a huge amount of weight and doesn't sap any power either.
• To further reduce vibrations, hydraulic engine mounts have been used (instead of the usual rubber / polyurethane type).
• The EcoBoost engine has a cast iron engine block instead of an aluminium one. Cast iron can withstand higher stress levels and is less susceptible to overheating damage. The disadvantage of cast iron is the additional weight.
• The exhaust manifold is built onto the engine block itself. This is similar to the Civic's R18 engine.
• The exhaust manifold is water-cooled, thereby reducing exhaust gas temperature. Net result = cooler charge going to the turbo.
• To reduce friction & NVH levels, Ford uses a timing belt that is bathed in oil. This also improves the life of the belt.
• A new variable oil pump that is electronically controlled by the ECU. It pumps only the required amount of oil into the engine (rather than a fixed quota).
• The 1.0L EcoBoost was the 2012 International Engine of the Year.
Here's a nice video explaining EcoBoost tech:
Engine block is small enough to fit onto an A4 size sheet of paper:

Made in Germany at Ford's Cologne Engine Plant. Fuel delivery system by Bosch. Oil specially co-developed with Castrol:

Turbocharged, Direct-injection, Variable valve timing and DOHC. You name it, this engine has it:

To reduce vibrations inherent to a 3-cylinder layout, an intentionally imbalanced flywheel has been implemented:

Even the crank pulley is imbalanced to reduce NVH:

Fixed geometry, low inertia turbocharger:

Two additional image angles:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:04

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
Driving the 1.0L EcoBoost Petrol

The heart of the matter. Strangely enough, this top-of-the-line EcoBoost doesn't get an engine cover!

Badge says it all:

Even though the engine is a 1.0L 3 cylinder, it's a pretty tight fit in here:

Press the clutch pedal, hit the start / stop button and the engine comes to life with a noticeable shake felt throughout the cabin. Engine shut down is seamless though. In fact, this motor behaves like a 4-cylinder petrol at most other times. When idling, the 1.0L EcoBoost is surprisingly refined for a 3 pot, with hardly any vibration felt inside. No one will guess there's a missing cylinder under the hood.

The EcoBoost has definite turbo-lag at lower rpms. This was evident from the minute we started driving. Upwards of 1,500 rpm, there is some pull from the engine, but it really starts gathering pace only from 1,800 rpm onward. When driving around the city in 2nd / 3rd gear, closing a gap quickly will require you to downshift. Sure, if there isn't a hurry, the EcoBoost allows you to continue in the same gear ratio. As long as the rpm needle is in the whereabouts of ~1,500, the car will amble along. Just don't expect instant response from the throttle in this situation. In Goa traffic, we were able to potter about in 3rd gear at speeds as low as 35 kph. If you're the impatient type though, keep the engine spinning above 1,800 rpm, else you'll end up disappointed. Getting away from a tall speed breaker in 2nd gear does result in a dead response. This might also have to do with the tall 2nd ratio (goes all the way up to 100 kph). If your office's basement parking entails a steep ramp, you might have to slip the clutch in 1st gear too.

Where the EcoBoost really shines is in the mid-range. Post 1,800 rpm, the turbo spools up, delivering a solid punch. The motor comes alive and you'd be hard-pressed to tell that it's a mere 1.0L working under the hood. Out on the open road, performance on tap easily matches the 1.5 / 1.6L petrols we know. 2,000 - 4,000 rpm is where the meat of the performance lies, and you'll be smiling each time you cross 2,000 rpm. Acceleration remains strong as you climb higher up to the redline. The engine is free-revving all the way to its 6,500 revv limit. The limiter kicks in gently, it's not a sudden cut-off. Highway cruising ability is relaxed with 100 kph in 5th gear seen at a notch under 2,500 rpm. Petrol cars of a similar power rating usually see 100 kph at 300 - 500 rpm higher. The downside of such a tall 5th ratio is that you have to downshift for nearly every overtaking manouveur.

The 5-speed gearbox is a reasonably slick shifting unit. It's not butter smooth, yet this isn't one we'd call notchy either. Suffice to say that shift quality is par for the course. The gears slot in easily with a medium length throw, and we didn't suffer a single mis-shift during the drive. However, as mentioned earlier, taller drivers might find the gear lever to be placed a tad too far ahead. The clutch is a short-throw design. It requires medium-level effort to engage, and isn't as light as a Hyundai's (as an example).

For a forced-induction petrol engine, you can't hear the turbo whistle at all. Yep, we missed it! The engine is very refined for a 3 cylinder. It's only when you rev past 3,000 rpm, all the way up to 4,500 rpm, that you feel some vibrations creep in on the accelerator & clutch pedals. When you are working the engine at high rpms, a typical 3-cylinder thrum sets in (somewhat similar to other 3-pots like the Alto K10). While the layman might not take kindly to the engine's thrum, enthusiasts will find it sweet sounding. I & GTO, both, loved the sporty note over 4,000 rpm. Ford claims that the EcoSport is the quietest in its class. Sorry, but we disagree. Wind noise from the A & D pillar areas was prominent at high speed. The engine isn't the quietest over 3,000 rpm either.

The EcoSport's suspension is decidedly European in nature. Translated = a firmer ride at low speed, planted stance on the highway and dynamically excellent. As with most other Fords, the suspension is biased towards handling rather than comfort. Ride quality is compliant for the most part. Albeit at low speeds on less-than-perfect roads, there is an underlying stiffness evident. While not uncomfortable, you are always aware of the road conditions below. It's certainly not what you can call plush. Sharp bumps send an equally sharp jolt to the cabin. The Duster's magic carpet suspension lends a distinct advantage to the Renault. On broken roads which the Duster will simply fly over, you'll need to slow down in the EcoSport. Our test car was riding on 16" wheels. The EcoSport's lower variants with 15" rims and a taller tyre profile ought to offer more cushioning. There is an upside to the firm suspension. Ride quality at 100+ kph is completely flat, with no bobbing or pitching over uneven surfaces whatsoever. Expressway damping is of a tall order and the suspension handles undulations really well...with zero bounciness. Rear passengers will appreciate the planted ride that is similar in nature to German cars, leading to lesser fatigue over long journeys. The suspension is fairly muted when doing its work and you don't hear it on the inside at all. The front struts have hydraulic rebound stops instead of the usual mechanical type.

The EcoSport strikes back in the area of dynamics. Poise around the twisties is among the best from the segment. You can push enthusiastically through turns with full confidence. Sure, the taller stance is felt near the limit, but body roll is overall well controlled. Also, sudden lane changes are handled competently and passengers will seldom feel like they are being uncomfortably thrown around. Grip levels are predictable, you know exactly where the EcoSport's limits lie. When understeer sets in, it does so progressively, sans any unwanted surprises. High speed stability is brilliant. On one particularly long straight, I asked my shotgun driver GTO to guess the speed. His answer was 30 kph lesser than what we were actually cruising at.

There's one major fly in the driving ointment and we're going to dedicate an entire paragraph to it. Good steering feel is taken for granted on a Ford. Sadly, that's not the case with the EcoSport. It does appear that the EPS has been configured at Chennai neighbour, Hyundai! We find this peculiar because the Fiesta's EPS is well-calibrated and the mechanicals are the same between the two cars. It's all down to the different tuning. Few will have an issue within the city. You'll find the steering to be light & effortless in urban India. At parking speeds too, the EcoSport's steering is a breeze to operate. Unfortunately, it just doesn't weigh up sufficiently at speed. Enthusiasts will be completely put off. The overtly light steering doesn't complement the dynamics, and you simply don't feel as confident. Over a 100 kph, GTO found the steering twitchy and a bit dead in the straight ahead position. Also weird that he had to make continuous corrections when driving in a straight line at speed. We later asked Ford about the steering's calibration, clearly expressing our disappointment. Response "This is what the market wants". I guess some survey somewhere would have indicated that buyers like steering wheels they can twirl with one finger.

The EcoSport's EPS has pull-drift compensation tech (similar to the Fiesta). The pull-drift system adjusts the steering against uneven road surfaces or crosswinds. Sensors continuously monitor driver input and keep the car in a straight line by making automatic steering compensation. What this means in layman terms is that you don't have to keep tugging at the steering to go in a straight line, when the road is angled from left to right.

The OEM rubber was another spoilsport. Our test car was shod with MRF ZV2K tyres that were absolutely useless. They'd start wailing at the slightest opportunity. With such a brilliant chassis, the MRFs greatly let us down. Thankfully, there are 2 tyre options available in the EcoSport. We had a run on the Goodyear Assurance tyres and found them to offer far better grip. Between the two, our pick would definitely be the GoodYears.

Braking is surprisingly good for a Ford. Pedal feedback is accurate and you know exactly what the tyres are up to. Even from high speeds, the hardware is up to the task of bringing the EcoSport to a stop safely. We like the fact that the ABS & EBD are perfectly tuned, they aren't too sensitive. Thanks to the light steering, compact dimensions and high seating position, urban commuters will be pleased. The 5.3 meter turning radius is decent, but it's longer than expected for a sub-4 meter vehicle (the bigger Duster has a smaller 5.2 meter turning radius). The single drawback is the huge blind spot caused by the thick A-Pillar. You have to keep craning your neck to look out for pedestrians and two wheelers.

The ample 200 mm of ground clearance should prevent intimate contact with Bangalore's skyscraper speed-breakers. The short overhangs, smaller wheelbase & firm suspension only help matters further. On the flip side, a glaring omission is the lack of any sort of underbody protection on the petrol (diesel variant gets it). The EcoBoost variant has no skid plate or plastic cover, leaving the engine completely exposed to the elements. Be careful when wandering off tarmac. A stubborn rock or loose stone thrown up could damage the oil sump / other components.

Petrol gets under-the-hood insulation as well:

One doesn't see the ECU lying flat on top of the battery too often:

Just below the black pipe in the center is the hydraulic engine mount. A majority of sub-10 lakh cars use cheaper rubber mounts:

Vertically-mounted Intercooler:

Look closely toward the back and you'll see a sound dampening & heat-reflective silver sheet. Entire firewall isn't covered though:

This dual-clutch AT is available only with the 1.5L Ti-VCT petrol engine (same as the Fiesta). Note that the gearbox lettering is now on the right side, and there's an S mode (vs the Fiesta's L mode):

Look what we found. The EcoSport DCT gets Tiptronic! This feature was sorely missed on the Fiesta DCT:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:04

Driving the 1.5L TDCi Diesel

1.5L TDCi shared with the Fiesta. 90 BHP & 204 Nm torque on tap:

We can safely assume that the diesel variant will account for a majority of EcoSport sales:

If you like it discreet, choose a dark body colour. This grey EcoSport diesel turned 10% of the heads in crowded Mumbai as the Orange did in less populated Goa:

• Bore x Stroke = 73.5 mm x 88.3 mm.

• Utilises an intercooler (unlike the Figo TDCi) and a fixed geometry Turbocharger.

• 1498 cc displacement. 90 BHP (@ 3,750 rpm) and 204 Nm torque (@ 2,000 - 2,750 rpm). As we've seen with the Figo, Classic & Fiesta, Ford's diesel motors don't necessarily have the highest power rating from the segment. 90 BHP from a 1.5L liter mill is hardly anything to write home about (Honda makes 99 BHP from a 1.5, while Fiat churns out 90 BHP from a 1.3). Ford oil-burners are usually tuned for driveability & fuel-economy.

• The EcoSport diesel's power-to-weight ratio of 72 BHP / Ton is nearly identical to the Duster 85. The higher-powered Duster 110 however, has a 25% advantage in the BHP / Ton and Torque / Ton stakes.

• ARAI fuel economy of 22.7 kpl.

• Unlike the more contemporary diesels (Honda's 1.5L, Fiat-GM's 1.3L etc.) which use a 16 valve DOHC (double overhead camshaft) valvetrain, Ford's TDCi engine is an 8 valve SOHC (single overhead camshaft) unit. The Mahindra Logan, Nissan Micra / Sunny and Toyota Etios / Liva also employ 8 valve SOHC diesel engines. Where the EcoBoost petrol is all about cutting-edge tech, the diesel uses honest old-school mechanicals.

• Variant to variant, the diesel weighs 31 kilos more than the 1.0L EcoBoost, and 48 kilos more than the 1.5L petrol.

• Unlike the 1.0L EcoBoost, the 1.5L diesel utilises an aluminium alloy block and head.

• The Figo's 1.4L, this 1.5L and the 1.6L (sold in markets abroad) belong to the same engine family.

• An insightful discussion on this engine can be found at this link.

• Diesel EcoSport has been reviewed by GTO & Parrys.

The EcoSport 1.5L diesel is practical within the city, offering good driveability. Turbo-lag is well controlled. It's no Duster 85, and there is mild lag felt at times, yet the EcoSport diesel displays a tractable nature when driving in traffic. The car moves cleanly and you'll find torque delivery at lower rpms to be adequate. What really helps is the razor-sharp throttle response. Even if you mildly press the accelerator at the idling rpm of 900, the revv needle shoots up instantaneously. Further, at 1,500 rpm where the Duster 110 is gasping for breath, the EcoSport diesel pulls cleanly. Forget downshifting to 1st for speed-breakers, you can get away from 0 kph in 2nd gear itself by slightly delaying the clutch pedal's release! On that note, I must add that 2nd gear is a vital tool for pottering about locally; you can use it for crawling speeds and up all the way to 90 kph. Beyond 1,800 - 2,000 rpm, the motor comes into its own. Power delivery is fairly linear and there's none of that sudden turbo whoosh some enthusiasts enjoy. As you go through the revs, you’ll notice there isn't any solid power whack, and that progress is consistent all through. Although at times (and it was hard to replicate the same), the EcoSport TDCi jerked at extremely low rpms in a higher gear than ideal. I haven't observed this in too many diesel cars.

The engine is quite revv-happy for a diesel. Keep it on the boil and the EcoSport's performance is sufficiently peppy. Outright power can be termed as adequate. On the open road, the EcoSport diesel hits 100 - 120 kph reasonably quickly. Progress tapers off after that. No, it doesn't feel under-powered, but the EcoSport diesel doesn't have the Duster 110's legs on the highway either. Once the Duster 110 is in turbo mode, it's performance at high speed is something the EcoSport simply cannot match. Overtaking fast moving traffic isn't as effortless as in the Duster 110 either. There's no revv limiter at launch like the EcoBoost variant. The rpm needle goes all the way to 5,200 rpm. On the move, the max rpm you'll see is a notch below 5,000 rpm, but that's really pushing it. Actual progress is slow after 4,000 rpm, prompting you to upshift earlier. What the EcoSport is suited to is relaxed long-distance cruising. In 5th gear, 80 kph is seen @ 1,750 rpm, 100 kph @ 2,100 rpm and 120 @ 2,500 rpm. Still, because the EcoSport has such sorted dynamics, you'll wish the SUV had more power / torque for your favourite ghat section.

I found the gearbox to be slightly better than that of the EcoBoost petrol. Conversely, the clutch pedal's range is noticeably longer. It must be mentioned that the clutch is lighter than what we'd seen initially on the 2011 Fiesta. Ford must've reacted swiftly to early feedback criticizing the Fiesta's heavy clutch.

The EcoSport diesel has excellent damping. You only hear the muted hum of the diesel, there’s no clatter either at idle or when revving. When driving around within urban confines, passengers won't realise there's a diesel under the hood. Even at higher rpms where you can hear the motor working, the engine note is actually nicer than the gruff sound of some other SUVs. On the other hand, vibration is continuously felt on the clutch, right from idle where you can feel the engine ticking over. Pedal & floor vibrations are directly proportional to the engine's rpm levels. Lastly, as noted in the previous post, wind noise remains a bother. Cruising on the expressway, wind noise (from the A-Pillar area) greatly exceeds engine sound.

The diesel's steering is super light in the city and makes commuting an effortless exercise. Unfortunately, at high speed, it doesn't feel like a classic Ford steering at all.

You can redline the EcoBoost all day long and the air-con keeps cooling brilliantly. With the diesel, I did notice the air-con compressor cutting off if the accelerator was continuously nailed to the floor.

Fiesta diesel gets a high-frequency shielding engine cover, the EcoSport doesn't:

The TDCi's instrument console. Illuminated blue needles look awesome:

Firewall has beefier insulation compared to the EcoBoost:

Diesel engine gets protection underneath (missing in the EcoBoost):

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:04

Other Points:

• Ford’s tagline : The urban SUV. We couldn't agree more. The company has a lot riding on the EcoSport. Currently, the Figo is the only car bringing the volumes home. The compact SUV segment is red hot in terms of pent-up demand and there is tremendous market interest around the EcoSport too. It's all down to Ford's pricing, marketing & distribution strategy now.

• A crowded market poses a massive challenge for manufacturers to bring eyeballs to their new launch. Cars like the Chevrolet Sail U-VA, Toyota Liva, Renault Pulse etc. simply got lost in the crowd. Hardly a worry for the EcoSport though. The snazzy design and SUV body style ensure a stand-out presence.

• Just like the Figo, if you slam the brake pedal at speeds above 96 kph / 60 mph, the hazard lights will activate to warn cars behind you (of an emergency braking situation).

• EcoBoost engine block is the size of an A4 size paper; it can fit into carry-on baggage. (Link)!

• Service interval of 10,000 kms / 1 year (whichever is earlier).

• Standard warranty coverage for 100,000 kms / 2 years. Optional extended warranty takes the total cover to 200,000 kms / 4 years. Km coverage is the highest we've heard of, although the duration should have been 5 years instead of 4. Cabbies are the only type of owners who'll ever cover 2 lakh kilometers in 4 years.

• Quick lane servicing (link to thread) will be made available for the EcoSport.

• All-inclusive service / maintenance plans for up to 3 years coming up.

• Internationally, SYNC offers more advanced features such as downloadable apps, traffic updates, turn-by-turn directions, weather reports, news etc.

• The EcoSport is perhaps the only car whose 3 cylinder variant is more expensive than the larger 4 cylinder.

• Max rpm at standstill is 4,300 rpm, still good enough for a quick 0-100 launch. We recently reviewed the Honda Amaze whose 2,000 rpm limit was way too conservative.

• The cooling fan is super loud and it stays on after you shut off the engine (if the temperature runs too hot). It makes so much noise that, at one point, we thought it was the engine running!

• In terms of features, the i20 / Verna were the benchmark among sub-10 lakh cars. Well, it's time for the Hyundais to move over. We can safely state that the EcoSport is the new benchmark.

• The EcoSport has a total of 6 cabin lights. 2 map lights + one central light (front), one light for rear passengers, one vanity lamp on the passenger sunvisor and one in the boot. Sure is a lot of illumination.

• According to Ford, using an electric power steering (instead of hydraulic) leads to a 3% increase in fuel economy.

• The EcoSport has 12 components incorporating the "child part" system (related post). They include the door, alternator, starter, air-con compressor, suspension components, driveshaft, fuel filter, bumper and headlamp. Child part example : The door skin can be sourced individually (no need to replace the full door), as can the side mirror scalps (no need to replace the entire mirror assembly). The bumper is a 3-piece unit, meaning you don't have to replace the entire bumper if only a part of it has been damaged. From the looks of it, the lower part, upper part and center grill are separate pieces.

• Take a look inside Ford's Chennai Factory and how its cars are manufactured : (Report Link).

• Ford invested about Rs. 700 crore into its Chennai factory to set up the EcoSport's manufacturing capability & required capacity expansion.

• Current level of localisation lies at ~65%. The import content is still high and, obviously, will come down with time. Considering the launch delay, we are surprised that a higher localisation level hasn't been achieved already.

• The EcoSport will be available in 7 colours, 4 trim levels, 3 engine options and 2 transmissions. The orange colour (of our test car) really suits the SUV.

• The interior has a blue backlighting effect, as opposed to the Fiesta's red'ish illumination. The speedo & rpm needles also get a touch of blue.

• Hill-hold Assist and ESP are exclusive to the dual-clutch AT variant.

• You just know this car will be a favourite with after-market customisations. We expect to see a load of blinged out EcoSports on Indian roads.

• No, unlike the Duster, an AWD drivetrain isn't on the horizon.

• Credit where it's due : The Quanto is indeed a superbly packaged sub-4 meter SUV. The Mahindra has spacious 1st & 2nd seat rows, can accommodate 5 healthy adults without a fuss and you get to choose from a 3rd row of seats or that massive 690 liter boot.

• The EcoSport is a phenomenal crowd puller. We had tourists clicking pictures at the hotel, cars stopping on a bridge to catch a glance, people pulling over on the highway to check out the interiors and motorcyclists at traffic lights asking about the expected price. The only other cars we've reviewed that generated such interest were the Fortuner & XUV500.

• Thanks to Stratos for post-processing the pictures, Ampere for lending me his Duster 85PS for a comparison drive (right before the EcoSport event), and GTO for accompanying me on the drive + shooting the images.

• Credit for some exterior + interior pictures to Ford's official photographer.

• Disclaimer : Ford invited Team-BHP for the EcoSport test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:04

The Smaller yet Significant Things:

Real-time fuel efficiency bar (0 - 30 kpl range) tells you exactly how efficient your driving style is:

Air-con duct in the glovebox to keep 6 coke cans cool. Turn the knob to enable / disable airflow:

Fuel lid is made of plastic, and not metal. Locking mechanism is linked to the car's central locking system (no separate release lever):

3 lamps at the front, including individual map lights. Notice the mic for the SYNC system:

Rubber cover / mat (in front of the gear lever) comes off easily. Kids in the car = Trouble:

Roof-rails have ready provision for a roof-rack. Ford might make one available as an official accessory:

Small mud-flap ahead of the rear tyre, perhaps to handle air flow (related read). Note the arrow (on plastic cladding) indicating the jack mounting point:

Exhaust pipe is surprisingly low hanging. Should be the first to take a hit if you ever use up that 200 mm of ground clearance:

Flippy key of the lower variant. Spare is a simpler key:

Euro-style stalks mean indicator control is on the wrong (left) side. 5-speed variable intermittent wipers. Pull the stalk for the rear wiper, but don't forget to push it back:

Don't be fooled by the cover, there's no tweeter inside (we checked!). No auto-folding mirrors nor any sort of individual lock for the doors:

High quality rubber shroud, so you don't see any ungainly bits when the steering is pulled via its telescopic adjustment. Neat:

Small drawer below the Euro headlamp switch to store odds & ends. Also home to the OBD port:

Yup, the rear window goes all the way down:

Unwelcome gap between the rear seat and retractable parcel shelf. An eyesore, really. Will be a pain if you drop something between:

Below the driver's seat is a black box. That's the keyless entry module:

Climate control sensor located on the dash:

Press-clips to keep the foot mat from sliding around. Simple + practical:

Full wheel cladding? Check. Some manufacturers usually cut corners here:

Parking spot for your smartphone (next to the handbrake, 12v power source right ahead):

6 Airbags in all. 2 front, 2 side and 2 curtain (Image from Ford):

Sunglass holder. Foam lining to prevent scratches:

The seat's fore / aft adjustment lever has a meaty plastic handle (rather than a mere metal bar like most cars):

Cool toll ticket & card holder below the climate controls:

T'was a bright, colourful day @ Goa:

India-ready ORVMs. No fear of motorcyclists knocking them:

Tiny red dot (on the right of the 3rd brake lamp) houses the rear washer nozzle. Superbly integrated:

Vid6639 25th May 2013 14:04

2 Attachment(s)
EcoSport versus Duster Face-Off

GTO 25th May 2013 18:39

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
Vid, seeing this review, it makes me wonder if you coined the phrase "God is in the details...".

Brilliant review of what is easily the launch of the year. Our heartfelt gratitude for the effort, time & dedication that went into the EcoSport report.

*Rates Thread a well-deserved 5 stars*

Enigmatic 25th May 2013 18:41

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
Its HERE :)

Amazing review of an amazing car :)

nipcarlover 25th May 2013 18:45

Re: Ford EcoSport : Official Review
Finally the BHP review of 2013's most anticipated car of the year is here! clap:

Excellent review vid6639!
Rating thread a well deserved 5 stars!

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