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Old 2nd March 2019, 11:07   #1
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Default Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

Greetings fellow BHPians and all readers out there in Middle-Earth! After spending 8 months and 4000 kms with my ShadowFax (EcoSport Trend Plus AT), I present before you my buying experience and initial ownership report. I am looking for someone to share in an adventure. I invite you all to accompany me on this quest that led me to acquire my ShadowFax and my experiences with this wonderful steed!

IT'S MINE...MY OWN...MY PRECIOUSSS!
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-photo_20180722_1533100101.jpeg


'ShadowFax' was the wizard Gandalf's horse in The Lord of the Rings. He is from the race of the long-lived Mearas, the greatest horses of Middle-Earth. He was capable of comprehending human speech and was said to run faster than the wind.
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-gandalf.jpg


BLURB

For those who like a sneek peak, here's that below -

~ The Strengths ~

* Looks bold and sporty with silver finished front grille and various black inserts
* Solid build quality
* Safety features including front dual airbags, ABS with EBD, EBA, ESC, TCS and HLA with driver and passenger seat belt reminders
* Low NVH levels leading to a quiet cabin
* Refined 3 cylinder 1.5L petrol engine
* Proper 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission which offers smooth gear shifts leading to effortless driving
* Planted and stable feel on the road even at higher speeds
* 6 way driver seat adjustment with tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjust
* Wide and comfortable front seats
* Very comfortable rear seats with good under-thigh support. Easily accommodates 3 average sized adults
* Good usable boot space for family trips

~ The Weaknesses ~

* Terribly cheap looking MID
* Laggy infotainment system with useless navigation. No Sync3, Android Auto or Apple Carplay
* Thick A pillars leading to blind-spot
* No sliding armrest
* All black interiors with rising window line at the back may feel claustrophobic to some
* Firm ride quality


PROLOGUE

The first car that I drove extensively was my father's Maruti 800 DX which was purchased in 2002, although I mainly drove it from 2015-2018. When I started driving it regularly in 2015, it only had ~9000 kms on the odo in almost 13 years! The engine was in very good condition but all other parts had started to age and deteriorate due to non-usage and non-maintenance. I had the steering and suspension worked upon by a FNG who also changed some bushes and painted the under-body which had rusted. I then took it to a detailer to give it a good wash, engine bay detailing, steam wash for the seats and overall polishing inside out. Got it fitted with a music player, speakers and new wheel covers. Also changed all 4 tyres as the old (original) ones had started to develop cracks. An overall expenditure of Rs.15,000 and the car was decent again. But being a car that old, it didn't have power steering, power windows or any other features that have become common in today's cars. The steering wheel felt like an arm-workout equipment and the AC didn't work properly, leading to hot and frustrating drives. Not to forget, it had seat belts as the sole safety feature!

Since my car usage is low, mostly used for infrequent highway trips out of the city, I was content with the 800. I didn't want to plonk money on something that will be rarely used and sit in the parking space most of the time. Not to mention the additional headache of cleaning and maintenance. But my wife put her foot down, she was fed up of the 800. I too had to admit that the highway trips during summer were killing without the AC. It had also started to feel unsafe as I became more and more aware of the importance of safety features in cars. The 800 had also started to demand part replacement/maintenance and I wasn't too keen on spending additional money on it. So the seed was planted to buy a new car just to have all the modern safety, comfort and conveniences.


CHAPTER 1 - THE SEARCH

The search of my new car and my first ever purchase started sometime in early 2017. I was crystal clear that I wanted only an automatic transmission, and due to low usage, the petrol engine made sense. The initial budget was set to Rs. 8-9 lakhs OTR. I and my wife thought to get a hatchback with all the latest equipment and safety features that comes at that price point in that segment. The Baleno, i20 and Jazz came into consideration. But before exploring them further, I read about the new generation Swift to be launched in India in early 2018. I hate the looks of the older Swift but loved the look of the new generation. With the new Dzire coming out with auto box in all variants, I was fairly sure the new Swift would also have auto transmission in the top variant. So we decided to wait for the new Swift and get the top trim petrol auto.

Sometime during mid 2017, I started to aspire to get a compact SUV. I had heard people wax eloquent about "high ground clearance", "high seating position" and "commanding view of the road", but I had never experienced those personally. Then I got a chance to travel in my colleague's Duster a few times and started acknowledging and appreciating those aforementioned traits. Around the same time, I got to experience another colleague's new Wagon-R AGS and came out unimpressed with the jerky AMT. Both these experiences made me skeptical about the Swift and yearn for a compact SUV.

Fresh round of discussions started at home. Wife was neutral about compact SUVs, anything above the entry level hatchbacks was fine for her. The only major point for discussion was the increase in budget and we agreed to bump it up to Rs. 10-11 lakhs OTR. That brought the EcoSport, Duster, Brezza and Nexon into consideration. The Brezza was a diesel only car. We both hated the looks of the Nexon. That left the final contenders - EcoSport and Duster.


CHAPTER 2 - THE CONTENDERS

The Duster RXS X-Tronic CVT and the EcoSport Titanium DCT both fit my now increased budget. But the EcoSport facelift was due for launch in November 2017 and the Duster facelift, already launched internationally, was nowhere in sight.

I decided to check out the Duster and requested for a test drive. The SA brought the RXS CVT to my office and offered me a long-ish test drive encouraging me to go into broken/non-existent roads to test the suspension setup. Like everyone else, I too was mightily impressed by the Duster's "magic carpet" like suspension, but the outdated interiors and the rubber band CVT were huge turn offs. Also the fact that its facelift had already been launched in international markets made it feel even more outdated.

The EcoSport was the last car standing now. I had started following the Team BHP thread well before the facelift launch. I was hoping Ford would once again launch the AT in the Titanium trim and price it around Rs. 10 lakhs ex-showroom or the AT in Titanium Plus trim at around Rs. 10.5 lakhs. Discussions in Team BHP were on similar lines in this thread -
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...-lakhs-53.html (The 2017 Ford EcoSport Facelift caught testing in India. EDIT: Now launched at Rs 7.31 lakhs)

The facelift EcoSport was launched on 9th November 2017 with the AT in Trend Plus and Titanium Plus variants priced at Rs. 9.34 lakhs and Rs. 10.99 lakhs ex-showroom respectively. Around the same time I got to know that the state government had doubled the road taxes from 5% to 10% on cars priced above Rs. 10 lakhs ex-showroom. The Titanium Plus AT had overshot my budget!


CHAPTER 3 - THE BOOKING

The Titanium Plus AT looked really tempting with all the safety features and latest gadgetry. Additional discussions ensued at home. Both of us wanted the EcoSport and wanted the top variant with all the safety features and bells and whistles so that the car wouldn't feel too outdated in 4-5 years as we wanted to keep the car for a minimum of 8-10 years. Up went the budget though we knew we were already stretching it too much. Now the wait for a test drive and the official Team BHP review before finalizing. My concern was that both the 1.5L Dragon petrol engine and the torque converter AT were new in this facelift. I did not want to jump in too early and be a guinea pig for the initial batches of this new engine + AT combination.

We went ahead and visited the showroom. AT car was not available for test drive and I ended up driving the Titanium MT. With my limited knowledge about cars and my sole experience with the now 15 year old Maruti 800, the EcoSport felt eons ahead in every aspect! Wife too was very pleased. There was no word of when the dealership would get an AT test drive car. Delivery period was tentatively stated as 2 months. The SA mentioned that they already had bookings for the AT and he might be able to arrange a short TD within the stockyard with the permission of the manager and the customer. We asked him to inform us about the same and left.

For the choice of colors, we were both keen on either Blue or Canyon Ridge. On seeing both colors in person, we really liked the Canyon Ridge and zeroed in on it.

No further word came from the SA regarding the AT test drive. Then came the first shocker! Titanium Plus AT prices got hiked by Rs. 21,000 from January 2018. The SA said that prices at the time of delivery would be applicable. The dealership was locking the prices for some customers who were paying the entire amount before January to avoid the hike. I hadn't even booked yet, so decided to take the hike. The Team BHP review finally blessedly arrived in January 2018. The review was very positive about the new engine and fine with the torque converter AT. I had also heard similar positive reviews from owners in my Facebook group. Finally went ahead and booked the Titanium Plus AT Canyon Ridge by paying Rs. 30,000 booking amount on January 31st 2018. No discounts or freebies were offered citing huge demand. Tentative delivery in April 2018.

I came to know that every Ford dealership needs to submit its orders to Ford 2-3 months in advance. Hence dealers usually order popular model/variant/color combinations that they know are in demand. If prospective customer happens to book such a popular combination then he/she might be in luck as it might have already been ordered by the dealer beforehand. Any different or less popular combinations would take 2-3 months to be delivered. The SA also informed that production of new petrol variants were slow but diesel variants would be more readily available.


CHAPTER 4 - DRAMA & HEARTACHE

Reports started trickling in about bulges and cracks in the 205/50 R17 Bridgestone Ecopia tyres fitted in the Titanium Plus. Many owners started reporting similar issues of tyre sidewall cracks, bulges and tyre bursts when crossing potholes even at low speeds. Team BHP too created a separate thread for highlighting the issue -
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/tyre-...-r17-size.html (Ford EcoSport Facelift: Tyre bulging issue (R17 size))

Initially Ford passed the ball to Bridgestone and Bridgestone denied replacement under warranty leaving many owners frustrated and with a hole in their pockets replacing tyres on their own. After a lot of hullabaloo, Ford started replacing the damaged tyres free of cost but never acknowledged the issue nor issued any mass recall. This left a lot of Titanium Plus owners with the perpetual apprehension of when a tyre would crack/burst/bulge. Lot of them started keeping the TPMS permanently displayed on their MIDs and getting down to check the tyres every time they passed any rough pothole at a fair speed.

Other isolated reports emerged that owners were facing complete battery drainage in Titanium Plus AT if the car was left unattended for extended periods of time. Even coming after a week would show complete battery drain with the car refusing to start, requiring jump start or a visit to the service center.

Then came the second shocker! Prices were hiked a second time by Rs. 10,000 for the Titanium Plus AT in March 2018 along with some features silently removed. That was it! I was already way over budget but now I would be paying more and getting less. At the same time I knew I could never be at peace with the potential tyre and battery issues, constantly worrying when something similar might happen to me. With a heavy heart, we decided to cancel the booking and look at alternatives.


CHAPTER 5 - A NEW BEGINNING

We started looking back at the Duster RXS CVT, Nexon AMT and some of the automatic hatches. But none of them really pulled our heart strings like the EcoSport. So we decided to evaluate the Trend Plus AT for the first time which had been dismissed initially. Went over each feature that was missing in Trend Plus AT and evaluated if I really needed them. Came up with the below comparison -

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-trendplusat-vs-titaniumplusat.png


It's funny how many of the features didn't really matter once I thought hard about them. The absence of side and curtain airbags was a sore point but thankfully the Trend Plus AT had all the other safety features like EBA, ESC, TCS and HLA which even the Titanium trim misses!

With the new decision made, I cancelled my booking for the Titanium Plus AT and got the entire amount refunded. I then negotiated a better deal from a different dealership and booked the Trend Plus AT Canyon Ridge on 31st March 2018 by paying Rs. 25,000. Deal included mud flaps, floor mats, boot mat and car cover as freebies and 3rd year extended warranty as corporate discount. Tentative delivery in May 2018.


CHAPTER 6 - THE WAIT

I had booked the Trend Plus AT when it was Rs. 9.65 lakhs. In April 2018, Ford hiked the price again by Rs. 10,000 but this time with some additional features. Rear view camera, Speed sensing auto door lock and Passenger seat belt reminder were the welcome additions.

In the meantime, I was in regular touch with my SA. In May 2018, I was informed that due to huge demand of Canyon Ridge color (probably for the newly launched Titanium S), production was slow for other variants and I would be getting my car in June. I requested the dealership to deliver the car by June first week in time for my wedding anniversary. But in June first week, I was told that the car allotted to me had failed quality checks, hence delivery would be delayed. News came in that Ford was planning another price hike across its portfolio in July. I lost patience and shot off angry mails to the dealership manager and Ford customer care stating that I won't be paying extra money because of their delay. I was assured of delivery by end of June.


CHAPTER 7 - SHADOWFAX HOMECOMING

On 22nd June 2018, I received a call from my SA that my car had been dispatched from the factory and would be at their dealership in 3-4 days. The car arrived on the morning of 27th June and I went to the showroom for PDI. As usual, Team BHP PDI checklist really came in handy. It was raining slightly on that day. The SA was really helpful during the PDI, showing me all the features that I asked for and didn't deny any of my requests. All the time he shielded me from the rain by following me with an umbrella as I ran around the car checking every nook and cranny! Not that I needed it, I would have happily checked the car soaking wet!

Post PDI, I paid 80% of the money and asked the SA to prepare the car for delivery on 1st July, which was a Sunday. The bill was generated for 30th June to avoid any potential price hike.

On 1st July, I and my wife arrived at the showroom by 9:30 in the morning, with sweets in tow for the staff and a memento for the SA. The car had been washed thoroughly and was inside the showroom. The promised freebies accessories were fitted and the interiors vacuumed. We did a small PDI once again and everything seemed fine. The car had few smudges and sticky marks which I brought to the SA's notice. Those were promptly removed and the car also got professionally polished.

I had opted for Ford Preferred insurance through the dealership and they had offered me one from Tata AIG which cost Rs. 31,000. The EcoSport has a standard warranty of 2 years/1,00,000 kms. I had got the 3rd year extended warranty as part of corporate discount. I bought the 4th and 5th year EW plus road side assistance for Rs. 18,400. Did a final check of all the documents, signed wherever required and paid the remaining amount.

Price break-up -
Ex-showroom = Rs. 9,75,800
Road Tax & Registration = Rs. 79,000
Insurance = Rs. 31,000
4th+5th year EW & RSA = Rs. 18,400

Total On Road Price = Rs. 11,55,000


Few memories from the delivery day at Capital Ford, Bhubaneswar -

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-cake-cutting.jpg

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Car unveiled. Cake cut. Sweets distributed. Keys, documents, chocolates and flowers received. The SA drove the car out of the showroom and gave a final tour of the car explaining all the functionalities. It was time for ShadowFax to be unleashed!

"Run ShadowFax! Show us the meaning of haste"
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-run-shadowfax.jpeg

Last edited by FrodoOfTheShire : 4th March 2019 at 07:49.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 13:18   #2
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Default re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

CHAPTER 8 - FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Since the facelift EcoSport's Titanium Plus AT variant is already covered in detail by the Team BHP official review here (2018 Ford EcoSport Facelift 1.5L Petrol : Official Review), I am only going to highlight the features that are different in the Trend Plus AT.

Reflector halogen headlamps without DRLs. Light intensity and coverage is good for city driving and adequate on highways at night. I do like the detailing inside the headlamp unit which breaks up the monotony and lends some style to the unit -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-headlamp.jpg


Headlamps in action. Low beam and fog lamps -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-low-beam.jpeg


High beam, low beam and fog lamps -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-high-beam.jpeg


I love this grille! It's big, bold and has that "Ford SUV" look. This is silver finished which I like more than the chrome grille on the Titanium Plus. Would have loved it even more if it was black! Vinyl wrap is on the wish-list! -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-grille.jpg


16" Steel wheels with 205/60 R16 tyres. Mine came shod with Goodyear Assurance. I hate this wheel cap design! Painting it black is on the wish-list -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-steel-wheels.jpg


Black fog lamp bezel looks sporty. Titanium Plus has body colored ones. Also black roof rails instead of Titanium Plus' aluminium finished ones -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-roof-rails.jpeg


View from the rear. Notice the missing variant badge. Ford removed the badge from lower variants sometime in early 2018. No silver insert in the bumper like the Titanium Plus -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-back.jpeg


Full fabric seats. Titanium Plus gets 'Premium Leather' seats. No complaint with the seats though. They are wide and comfortable with good under-thigh support and side bolstering. Miss the lumbar support in long trips. I haven't opted for any seat covers yet due to the heating factor in art leather -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fabric-seats.jpg


Steering wheel feels chunky and good to hold. No cruise control or speed limiter switches here -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-steering-wheel.jpg


Closer look at the steering wheel. No leather wrap here but it feels soft touch material -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-steering-wheel-closeup.jpg


Gear/Mode shifter feels sturdy. This has an 'L' mode instead of 'S'. The 'L' mode keeps the car in lower gears and helps to pull up if starting from standstill on steep inclines. If the car is already on the move, the 'D' mode is more than adequate on inclines. While we are here, notice that the dual USB ports are not illuminated any more. One of those silent feature deletion by Ford -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-gear-shifter.jpg


No auto-dimming IRVM. Has a manual switch to flip between day and night modes which works fine -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-irvm.jpg


Door arm rests are hard instead of the soft ones on Titanium Plus -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-door-arm-rests.jpg


9" Infotainment system with inbuilt navigation. Comes without Sync 3, Android Auto and Apple Carplay. The system comes from a Chinese company called FlyAudio. The system is laggy and touch response is not that great. System almost comes to a halt on switching to navigation. So I avoid it and use Google Maps on my phone. Radio, music playback and telephony are fine -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa1-clock.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa2-home.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa3-audio.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa4-audio-sources.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa5-settings.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa6-surround-sound-adjust.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa7-eq.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa8-telephony.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa9-radio.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-fa10-navigation.jpg


The main key is a flip open type with lock and unlock buttons -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-key-back.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-key-front.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-key-open.jpg


The spare key is just a normal one -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-duplicate-key.jpg

Last edited by FrodoOfTheShire : 4th March 2019 at 07:53.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 14:38   #3
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Default re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

CHAPTER 9 - ACCESSORIES

1) Protective rubber strips for door edge -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-img_20190302_070043.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-img_20190302_070029.jpg


2) Viofo A119 V2 DashCam. The dashcam was one of the first accessories that I got. With idiots on the road, one needs all the help one can get -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-img_20190302_070537.jpg


3) Ready-made noodle mats from Elegant Auto Retail. Driver side mat has holes that fit into floor indentations, velcro strip on the underside to prevent slipping and separate foot rest patch to prevent wear and tear -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-photo_20180701_125843.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-photo_20180701_125749.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-photo_20180701_125825.jpg


4) Neck and lumbar support cushions. These work brilliantly to prevent back pain during long journey -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-img_20190302_071313.jpg


5) Silicone key cover -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-key-cover-back.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-key-cover-front.jpg

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Default re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

CHAPTER 10 - INITIAL OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE

In my 8 months and ~4000 kms ownership experience, 90% of my usage has been on the highways and 10% in the city.

Exterior Looks & Build Quality -

I love the refreshed looks of the facelift EcoSport. The new grille looks bold and gives the CSUV a butch intimidating stance. I also love the tailgate mounted spare wheel, thankfully Ford retained that for the Indian market in the facelift.
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-exterior-looks-1.jpeg


The overall styling feels balanced and classic, somewhere between the safe, inoffensive looks of the Brezza and the quirky styling of the Nexon. (No offence meant to Brezza and Nexon owners!) Additionally, the Canyon Ridge color of ShadowFax with black inserts look sporty and reminiscent of the Titanium S.
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-exterior-looks-2.jpeg


Due to increased dimensions from every aspect in comparison to the 800, it took me a while to get used to the EcoSport. The higher seating position and visibility of the bonnet did help me to get comfortable with this car in tight spaces. The ground clearance is certainly a boon over broken/non-existent roads and atrociously tall speed breakers.
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-ground-clearnace.jpeg


The build quality is solid. The car feels and acts heavy. Doors close with a reassuring thud which I love. The only kink I feel in the build quality is the spare wheel cover which doesn't inspire much confidence. Owners have reported the cover falling off while driving which has led me to check it regularly in the IRVM while driving.

Interiors -

I do like the all black interiors due to ease in maintenance but it may feel dark and claustrophobic in the rear seats. Dashboard and doors are all scratchy plastics. Visibility feels good with large glass areas. Front seats are wide and comfortable with good under-thigh support and side bolstering.

Driver seat is 6-way adjustable and steering wheel has tilt and telescopic adjustments, which means finding a comfortable driving position is easy. I do miss the lumbar support though, which I have taken care of through aftermarket cushions. Overall the driver's seat feels a good place to be in.

The cheap looking tiny MID with ancient fonts is an eyesore! The thick A pillars cause massive blindspot. I have to constantly shift myself to look through the windshield and the driver side window while negotiating a right turn.

Rear seat was a surprising revelation for me and my wife! Each and every review of the EcoSport ever written, mentions that the rear seats are good only for 2 adults. Hence I always had that thought in my mind. But I found out that its not necessarily true! Everyone in my family is below 5'8" in height and 70 kg in weight. So its an easy fit for 3 adults at the rear seat in my case. The rear seats are also very comfortable and I love to sit on them. Alas, being the sole driver in the family, there's no one to drive me around!

Music output from the speakers feels adequate though the laggy infotainment system is a downer. I would like to upgrade the speakers and add a woofer some day.

The automatic climate control works well and cools down the cabin quickly. Rear passengers have not complained of the lack of rear AC vents. Though, a cooled glovebox would have been better.

Engine & Gearbox -

The new 1.5L 3-cylinder Dragon petrol engine has a linear power delivery and excellent driveability. There is a body shake at start-up and from the outside, the engine sounds slightly louder than other refined 4-cylinder engines. I don't feel the vibrations in the cabin though. I only feel mild vibrations at standstill when I concentrate hard and seek them out. Its ironic that I upgraded from 800's 3-cylinder engine to EcoSport's 3-cylinder engine!

The 6-speed torque converter auto gearbox feels good to use. I am a very sedate driver and drive with a light foot. In 'D' mode, on releasing the brakes from standstill, the car creeps slowly which is great in bumper to bumper traffic and also for getting in and out of tight parking spaces. The car moves forward effortlessly with light throttle inputs, upshifting at around 2000 RPM. The gear shifts are very smooth and un-noticeable when driven lightly. This makes city driving a pleasant and non-frustrating affair.

On the highways, this engine gearbox combination really shines! There is enough power on tap and the engine never feels strained. I was skeptical about overtakes and inclines with the absence of paddle shifters in the Trend Plus AT, but surprisingly the 'D' mode is more than adequate. Putting the foot down on the A pedal, the transmission downshifts, providing instant power for overtakes or climbing inclines. I have even heard from many Titanium Plus AT owners that they rarely use the paddle shifters. The 'D' mode is that good!

Ride & Handling -

Suspension setup is on the firmer side and feels bumpy on broken roads. No complaints on the highway though. It feels solidly planted on the road and perfectly stable at high speeds. Feels like the EcoSport almost lazily cruises at higher speeds. On our first highway trip with ShadowFax, I remember my wife mentioning that she thought we were travelling at ~40-50 kph while we were actually doing 80! I haven't felt much body roll although I rarely chuck the car into corners at high speeds.

Overall the ride is very comfortable on the highways and I rarely feel fatigued even after long hours in the saddle. NVH levels are low and the cabin is quiet. There is no wind or engine noise coming into the cabin, although I do feel the tyre noise over certain sections of the highway.

Steering feels light and easy at low speeds and weighs up as the speed increases. The brakes have good bite and provide good stopping power.

For the first ~2000 kms, I drove with varying speeds and always kept the maximum speed under 80 kph on the highways. Post the first servicing with engine oil change, I have taken ShadowFax to a maximum of 110 kph. But I keep majority of my highway drives limited to 80-90 kph as I personally feel comfortable around or below those speeds. I have been consistently getting a fuel efficiency of 17-18 kmpl on the highways. In the city though, the fuel efficiency reduces to 7-9 kmpl depending on traffic conditions.

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-mileage-1.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-mileage-2.jpg


First Service -

The first service was scheduled at 3 months/2500 kms whichever earlier. I had clocked ~2100 kms when I gave the car for the first service. The service was an easy enough affair and was completed without any hassles. I had requested for engine oil and oil filter change which was carried out. All other fluids were topped up, exteriors washed and interiors vacuumed. Total cost Rs. 2242.

Last edited by FrodoOfTheShire : 4th March 2019 at 00:30.
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Old 3rd March 2019, 22:50   #5
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CHAPTER 11 - ADVENTURES OF SHADOWFAX

Ever since ShadowFax became my trusted steed, I have visited few places in Odisha, as and when my schedule has permitted. Needless to say, I am now addicted to road-trips with ShadowFax!

In August 2018, I and my wife visited Jirang, which is known as the 'Tibet of Odisha'. I had written a detailed travelogue on the same here (A Trip to Jirang - The Tibet of Odisha). Sharing some photographs and a video from that trip -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jirang1.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jirang2.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jirang3.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jirang4.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jirang5.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jirang6.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jirang7.jpg




In September 2018, we visited the Jagannath temple at Remuna, Odisha. It's a relatively new temple, constructed just few years back. The architecture is inspired by the two most famous temples of Odisha - the Jagannath Temple of Puri and the Sun temple of Konark. The temple looks as if built on a chariot having 16 wheels pulled by 4 horses. The smaller statues and carvings decorating the walls are really artistic and feel very similar to what we see on ancient temples. Moreover, small lights running throughout the structure light up the temple beautifully after sunset -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jgm1.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jgm2.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jgm3.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jgm4.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-jgm5.jpeg


In October 2018, we visited Ratnagiri, Udaygiri and Lalitgiri in Odisha. Together known as the 'Diamond Triangle', these are major excavation sites that have uncovered ancient Buddhist monasteries and relics -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-bud1.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-bud2.jpeg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-bud3.jpg

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-bud4.jpg



EPILOGUE

Though my car buying quest was full of ups and downs, yet in hindsight, getting the EcoSport Trend Plus AT is one of the best decisions of my life. It has got all the features I need and very few that I miss. It fit within my budget without needing to stretch too much. More importantly its a solid, safe, well built car with great driveability and comfort! I do hope that ShadowFax serves me well for the foreseeable years to come and hope to have more grander adventures with my steed!

Thanks for reading!

Finally, a badge of pride and honor adorning ShadowFax. I started driving more carefully than before after becoming a Team BHPian and putting up this sticker on my car. After all, I have a reputation to maintain! "With great power comes great responsibility"!

Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-tbhp-logo.jpeg

Last edited by FrodoOfTheShire : 4th March 2019 at 08:27.
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Old 4th March 2019, 21:29   #6
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Default re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

Moving thread from Assembly Line to Initial Ownership Reviews forum. Thanks for sharing, Frodo Baggins!

Regarding those ugly wheel caps: Don't bother painting it black. Just remove the wheel caps and check out the car's stance. The steel wheels are black in color - I think it will look good.
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Old 5th March 2019, 11:00   #7
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Default Re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

Congratulations on the car. I loved the updates that Ford gave to the EcoSport when I tested it a year ago. They were all so meaningful and not merely cosmetic changes.

The new grille made the car look so much better than before. I didn't quite like the new instrument cluster, but the infotainment system is brilliant. I found many other features useful too, but what impressed me the most was the new 1.5L Dragon engine. I didn't recall experiencing such refinement from a 3-cylinder engine.

With the automatic, you have a pretty competent city runabout. However, while you say it's not important, I still feel you might miss the S mode on highway drives when you want to have some fun.
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Old 5th March 2019, 11:24   #8
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Default Re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
Regarding those ugly wheel caps: Don't bother painting it black. Just remove the wheel caps and check out the car's stance. The steel wheels are black in color - I think it will look good.
Thanks SmartCat! I'll try out your suggestion. I searched a lot in the local accessories shops for a black/gunmetal wheel cap but didn't find one. Hence thought of painting it black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Congratulations on the car...but the infotainment system is brilliant.

However, while you say it's not important, I still feel you might miss the S mode on highway drives when you want to have some fun.
Thanks Aditya! Yes, the Sync3 infotainment system on Titanium Plus and Titanium S is brilliant as I experienced during my test drive. But sadly the FlyAudio one is pathetic that's now available on Titanium and lower variants. The Trend Plus AT used to have the smaller 6.5" Sync3 system when I had booked it, but later got "downgraded" to this 9" monstrosity, which I finally got!

As for the S mode, I can't miss something I haven't experienced! Although I'll take your word for it!
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Old 5th March 2019, 13:28   #9
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Default Re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
Thanks Aditya! Yes, the Sync3 infotainment system on Titanium Plus and Titanium S is brilliant as I experienced during my test drive. But sadly the FlyAudio one is pathetic that's now available on Titanium and lower variants. The Trend Plus AT used to have the smaller 6.5" Sync3 system when I had booked it, but later got "downgraded" to this 9" monstrosity, which I finally got!
Can you elaborate a bit upon why you call this a monstrosity? Where exactly does it lag, apart from the absence of Android Auto/ Car Play? I understand that the inbuilt navigation is laggy, but is there anything else specifically that makes it terrible? Just trying to understand what the pain points are.

How about the basis music functions and touchscreen response?
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Old 5th March 2019, 15:07   #10
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Originally Posted by arindambasu13 View Post
Can you elaborate a bit upon why you call this a monstrosity? Where exactly does it lag, apart from the absence of Android Auto/ Car Play? I understand that the inbuilt navigation is laggy, but is there anything else specifically that makes it terrible? Just trying to understand what the pain points are.

How about the basis music functions and touchscreen response?
Well, I called it a monstrosity based on its size, shape and overall physical appearance which looks very aftermarket and sticks out like a sore thumb on the dashboard. The 8" Sync3 unit looks aesthetically more pleasing to me and is much better integrated into the dashboard as it was the original design. Even the lower variants had a smaller 6.5" Sync3 unit during launch.

I feel, Ford might've thought they'd hoodwink general customers into thinking that this was an upgrade from the smaller 6.5" touchscreen to a much larger 9" unit! Afterall, the common thinking is "bada hai toh behtar hai"!

As far as any lag is concerned, its again based on comparison with the Sync3 unit which is butter smooth and as responsive as a modern smartphone. The FlyAudio unit at times needs firmer presses and at times takes a bit longer to respond. I have also faced few situations where the unit suddenly stopped working with some error pop-up on the screen in Chinese. Only a full vehicle restart brings it back to life.

There have been other severe issues reported as well, but thankfully I have not faced them -
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offic...ml#post4405877 (2018 Ford EcoSport Facelift 1.5L Petrol : Official Review)

The concerned persons in the above post have visited the service centre multiple times. They've had software updates and unit replacements but some new issue comes up each time. Service personnel themselves don't have any clue or permanent solution.

What's more worrying is that going forward, Ford might be providing these units in all their offerings to be manufactured in partnership with Mahindra -
https://www.autocarindia.com/car-new...nd-2020-411525

"One thing that the two SUVs will share will be the touchscreen. Based on Ford’s multimedia system that sits a rung below its Sync3 suite, the new system is likely to get a screen similar to that on the lower-spec EcoSport, but with several upgrades"

Personally its not a deal breaker for me due to my limited usage. Music and telephony functionalities are fine as much as I've used them.

But considering how brilliant the Sync3 unit is, as highlighted in our official review and every other media outlet, prospective buyers might not be aware of the poorer quality of the FlyAudio units. Afterall, even the TD vehicles would be top variants only, equipped with the Sync3 unit, and I am not sure if every SA would point out that lower variants have a different/inferior unit. So general customers have little chance of knowing this until after they've bought a lower variant.

Phew! End of rant!
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Old 5th March 2019, 17:20   #11
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Default Re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

Congratulations on the Ecosport sir! Seeing your regular updates and discussions of yours on the official review thread, I was longing for a report of your own! And here it is!

I always wanted to see as to how the Trend Plus AT would look in pics. On paper, no doubt it's a well-rounded package. One wouldn't complain about any lack of features as this one gets all the basics right. I've been eyeing the Ecosport AT since launch as our next car (for my 70-year old Grandpa) but looks like the upgrade will have to wait for a few months more before we could get our hands on one. For our requirements, the Trend Plus AT fits the bill just right. We had even decided of getting one in Dec 2018 (Discounts, anyone? ) but we decided to let it pass and decided to splurge on the Titanium Plus AT when the time comes.

With regards to the 9" Touchscreen on the Trend Plus and Titanium variant, I was sure it wouldn't be as good as the Sync3 but the UI looks almost the same except for usability and I must say it's not as bad as I had expected this one to be. Does this one get Android Auto and Apple Carplay? Asking this because neither you've mentioned about it and nor the Ford's brochure talk about the same.

For the wheels, I'd suggest you get the OEM 16" Alloys from the Titanium. They wouldn't cost as much as the reputed aftermarket ones would cost and would look clean IMHO.

Will watch this space for regular updates as you munch miles with the Ecosport.

Cheers!
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Old 5th March 2019, 20:06   #12
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Default Re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

@Varun_HexaGuy:
Only the Sync3 System comes with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. The FlyAudio System doesn't have either but covers other basic aspects. (Call, Audio, Video and Navigation)

@FrodoOfTheShire:
Congratulations for getting the ShadowFax. Very nicely written ownership review for the Facelift EcoSport. I have the Facelift Titanium variant with the FlyAudio System and have seen many people complain about the system due to lag/responsiveness/features etc but I am satisfied with it so far since I haven't come across any lag or unwanted behavior within my 6 months of ownership, it works as expected while I do miss Android Auto/Apple Car Play support. Maybe the firmware on the latest batch of cars have fixed the lag issues.

Anyway, wish you lots of happy miles with your stead!
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Old 5th March 2019, 22:33   #13
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Default Re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varun_HexaGuy View Post
Congratulations on the Ecosport sir!

I've been eyeing the Ecosport AT since launch as our next car...
...decided to splurge on the Titanium Plus AT when the time comes.
Thanks a lot Varun!

Yes, the Trend Plus AT gets all the basics right and even gets the additional safety features that even the Titanium lacks. Although, if budget is not a concern, then the Titanium Plus AT is a brilliant car. Now it comes with 16" wheels which gets rid of the tyre issues and also gives a plusher ride compared to the 17".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varun_HexaGuy View Post
Does this one get Android Auto and Apple Carplay? Asking this because neither you've mentioned about it and nor the Ford's brochure talk about the same.
It doesn't get Android Auto or Apple Carplay. Infact I've mentioned it twice in my review, once under the 'Weaknesses' section and then just before the infotainment unit photos!

You can find it in the brochure here -
Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax-aa-ac.png

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varun_HexaGuy View Post
For the wheels, I'd suggest you get the OEM 16" Alloys from the Titanium. They wouldn't cost as much as the reputed aftermarket ones would cost and would look clean IMHO.
Thanks for the suggestion! Alloys are not on my immediate wishlist. Maybe after few years or in time for the tyres replacement, I may splurge on some sweet alloys and maybe try to get the projector headlamp+DRL unit of the higher variants if possible. Just to rejuvenate the look and feel of the car!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny View Post
Congratulations for getting the ShadowFax. Very nicely written ownership review for the Facelift EcoSport. I have the Facelift Titanium variant with the FlyAudio System...
...Maybe the firmware on the latest batch of cars have fixed the lag issues.
Thanks Funny! Congrats on your EcoSport too! Sadly, the Titanium variant was the highest sufferer when the 8" Sync3 unit got replaced with the FlyAudio. Glad to hear that the your FlyAudio is working fine. Touchwood!
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Old 6th March 2019, 08:12   #14
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Default Re: Ford EcoSport Trend Plus AT (Facelift) - Ownership experience of my ShadowFax

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Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
CHAPTER 9 - ACCESSORIES

4) Neck and lumbar support cushions. These work brilliantly to prevent back pain during long journey -
Attachment 1854501
Congratulations on the purchase. Can you share where you sourced the neck cushions from?
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Old 6th March 2019, 11:14   #15
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Congratulations on the purchase. Can you share where you sourced the neck cushions from?
Thanks Jayram! I've been receiving quite a few enquiries on the accessories, so putting the links below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
1) Protective rubber strips for door edge -
https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32817559719.html

2) Viofo A119 V2 DashCam -
https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32701811121.html

3) Ready-made noodle mats from Elegant Auto Retail -
https://elegantautoretail.com/collec...=5870572666918

4) Neck and lumbar support cushions-
https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32789188555.html

https://m.aliexpress.com/item/-/32777405863.html

5) Silicone key cover -
https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32856057000.html
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