Compact SUVs are going to be the next big thing in the Indian car market. Every car maker is looking to foray into this segment having convinced after an extensive research that there is a strong demand for compact SUVs among urban car buyers in India.
The Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport, both being five seater SUVs, have received encouraging response from audience at the Auto Expo 2012. We bring you an early comparison of the two SUVs based on limited information we have. Click here to visit the Renault Duster Car research hub on CarToq.
Engines and performance
The Renault Duster will come in three engine variants: a 1.6-litre petrol motor that puts out 105 bhp of power and 1.5-litre dCI motor with two states of power outputs: 85 bhp and 110 bhp.
On the other hand, the Ford EcoSport will come with a 1-litre, 3-cylinder, ‘EcoBoost’ engine that puts out 118 bhp of power and possibly a 1.5-litre diesel engine (used in Fiesta) that puts out a 90 bhp of power.
The petrol EcoSport might be slightly quicker than the Duster—it’s likely to be lighter. The diesel would most probably see a ‘draw’ between the two SUVs.
The Renault Duster will come with four-wheel-drive system in the top-of-line 110 bhp diesel engine variant which combined with its sturdy body and high ground clearance should give it decent off-roading capability. Ford EcoSport, on the other hand, is likely to better handler on good roads.
Space and comfort
The Duster could have an advantage in terms of legroom as it measures 4,300 mm in length while the EcoSport too would measure about 4,250 mm and hence, neither of the SUVs may qualify for the Indian small car excise duty sops. Ford may have to be cautious in offering the EcoSport as more spacious than the Fiesta sedan. This is because the Fiesta sedan has been criticized for having less space for rear passengers.
Overall, the Duster and EcoSport will accommodate five passengers with ease. However, the Duster may have a slightly larger boot space than that of the EcoSport.
The Duster has conventional SUV looks with front, rear and side body cladding, high ground clearance and large wheel arches. The high ground clearance and roof rails give a sporty look to this mini SUV. The rear of the Renault Duster lacks visual appeal but is radically designed with small tail lamp cluster that doesn’t gel with the overall structure of the Duster.
The Ford showcased the EcoSport prototype at the Delhi Auto Expo. The production version of the EcoSport will not have the sharp looking LED headlamps and LED tail lamp cluster. Instead, it will have conventional halogen headlamps and regular tail lamps. The rest of the design elements in the prototype will likely be carried over to the production version.
The chrome rich wide gap radiator grille and dual tone body cladding gives the EcoSport, a sporty look. The side profile is pretty conventionally designed with the shoulder line slightly rising at the rear when it merges into the C-pillar. The rear is muscular with the spare wheel mounted to the centre of the boot door.
Summing up, the EcoSport will likely appeal to younger buyers while the Duster will likely appeal to those who covet traditional SUV looks.
Price mileage and overall VFM
Pricing will be a key parameter in determining the sales numbers of EcoSport and the Duster. We expect the Renault Duster and the Ford EcoSport to start at around Rs. 7 lakh for the base variant and to go up to Rs. 10 lakh for the top-end variant.
If priced in the same range of Rs. 7 lakh – 10 lakh, the EcoSport may have a slight edge in terms of performance and mileage, owing to its compact dimensions (read as less kerb weight). Further, Ford India is having a wider sales and service network which again, may attract customers towards the EcoSport than the Renault Duster.
The Ford EcoSport and the Renault Duster will kick-start a new compact SUV segment in India. The success of the two SUVs depends on lots of factors such as pricing, performance, mileage, features and customers’ expectations. Ultimately, the compact SUVs are propagating a loud message to entry-level sedan buyers, “Wait for us!”