Ford unveils the EcoSport, showcases it to public ahead of launch

Ford today unveiled the much-awaited compact SUV, the Ford EcoSport at Select City Walk mall in New Delhi. The vehicle, as expected, was almost instantly mobbed by the public, going to show the kind of expectation Ford has created with the EcoSport.

The EcoSport will be on display at the mall for three days and will then move to another popular city mall. This showcasing of the EcoSport is taking place in 12 cities. However, the actual launch of the Ford EcoSport will only be in end May 2013 after the end of Ford’s Urban Discoveries campaign, where 100 lucky consumers will get to keep and experience an EcoSport.

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Latest update on the Ford EcoSport

For the first time we managed to actually get into and sit in a Ford EcoSport to give you a realistic picture of what to expect with this urban SUV. And for obvious reasons, we are going to draw parallels with the Renault Duster. It’s smaller in size, but slightly taller than a Duster. However, it does not have as much interior room as the Duster has, so don’t go expecting a really huge vehicle – it’s quite compact! Literally, a compact SUV. Read more: Renault Duster vs. Ford EcoSport: Battle of the compact SUVs 

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Engine Options

Ford has confirmed THREE engine choices and four trim variants (top-end being the Titanium) for the Ford EcoSport. The three engine choices are the 1.5 litre diesel engine putting out about 90PS (89 bhp) of power with a five-speed manual transmission, the 1.5 litre petrol engine putting out 107 bhp of power and with a six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, and the much-talked-about 1-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol EcoBoost engine (120 bhp) mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

The model on display at the unveil was a “Mars red” (deep orange coloured) 1-litre EcoBoost Titanium variant that was quite stunning to look at in the metal. Also read: Ford EcoSport to feature Sync 

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How big is the EcoSport?

As expected the Ford EcoSport is under 4-metres in length (not including the spare wheel mounted on the boot door). It is as wide as the Ford Fiesta, and sits quite tall – slightly higher than the Duster, but doesn’t look bulky at all. The 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/60 R16 tubeless tyres and the 200 mm of ground clearance give it a tall stance and it looks the “SUV” part quite well.

However, don’t be fooled by those looks. Interior space is good enough for FOUR adults, and five would be a tight squeeze. The EcoSport is compact in every sense of the word. Boot space with the seats in place is just about a little better than a Hyundai i20 at just over 300 litres, but with the 60:40 rear seats split and folded down (the also recline to various angles), there is plenty of loading area. With the front seat adjusted for a 5’8” person, there is decent enough legroom for a six-footer, but headroom is just about enough. Did we mention it’s a compact SUV? Yes, it’s compact alright.

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How does it compare to the Duster for size? The Renault Duster is much larger – especially when it comes to luggage space. However, in terms of rear-seat space, they are at a par when it comes to legroom, although the Duster has a wider rear seat and can seat three abreast relatively more comfortably. Also see: Ford EcoSport official photo gallery

In terms of fit and finish, the EcoSport easily beats the Duster on plastic quality and in overall fit, finish and styling. It has a pretty premium feel to it. It has a two tone grey and black interior, which makes it feel a little cramped.

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What features will the EcoSport have?

The EcoSport on display is the 1-litre EcoBoost Titanium. It comes with instrumentation that is almost identical to the Ford Fiesta. In terms of features, it was well loaded, featuring: Full keyless entry, push button ignition, SYNC technology – Bluetooth voice-based commands, integrated CD, MP3, USB, Aux-in music system with steering audio controls, automatic climate control, tilt steering, height adjustable driver’s seat, leather upholstery, two airbags, ABS and EBD, rear wiper, demister, front fog lamps, alloy wheels, front and rear 12V power socket, power adjustable (manual folding) mirrors with integrated indicators, power windows, hill-start assist (brake holds the vehicle for 3 seconds), 550 mm water wading capacity, deep glove box with a separate inner shelf, multiple cup-holders and parcel tray. Also read: Upcoming Ford EcoSport likely features and variants 

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What we think

With the kind of public buzz the Ford EcoSport is gathering and with the 1-litre EcoBoost variant and 1.5 diesel variant conforming to small car excise duty norms, we think Ford has the opportunity to price the EcoSport attractively and gather good volumes quite quickly. Mind you, those looking for a proper SUV would be disappointed though – think of it as a hatchback on steroids and you’ll get the picture. Given that it qualifies for small car excise norms and that the Renault Duster is overpriced now, Ford has the market ripe for the pickings. Just hang on to your chequebook for a couple more months. Bookings have not yet officially begun though. Also read: Ford EcoSport bookings being taken by some dealers