With skies turning on the burners in the Great Plains of India, mercury in the thermometers in National Capital Region is all expanded. With the summers on its peak, and temperatures reaching above 40 degree Celsius every other day, the great Himalayan ranges are the only respite for most. Ford EcoSport, which is with us for quite a few weeks now has successfully made us believe that it is a great city car with extremely appropriate dimensions to fit snugly in city traffic. But how good it is on the long, broken highways and the crooked roads of the mountains? We went out to find its worth on the long journey and shrunk mercury inside the thermometers.
Ford EcoSport – Delhi to Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh
Date of arrival: 2nd April
Odo reading: 17,988
Current reading: 21,162
Fuel economy (indicated): 19.2 km/l
The small cantonment town of Kasauli is located in the lower part of the Himalayan range. The cantonment was established in the British era in 1842 and is currently a getaway from the scorching sun and the piping hot surface. The Ford EcoSport is often criticised for offering a small rear space but none of the average sized four adults who travelled in it complained about that part. Yes, the rear passengers did feel the absence of a rear AC vent due to the increasing effects of global warming but we did manage to get through by setting the powerful AC of the EcoSport at a lower temperature, which in turn semi-solidified the front passengers. Nonetheless, we believe that there are enough aftermarket solutions to solve this problem.
Just as in the city, the EcoSport proved its worthiness on the open highways because of the perfect combination of a powerful diesel engine and features like the cruise control. The 99 Bhp and 205 Nm flowing through a 5-speed manual transmission to the front wheels are enough for the EcoSport to overtake the traffic when the cruise is set at the maximum legal speed of 90 km/h. The sub-4m SUV remains calm and composed at high speeds, thanks to its handling-focussed steering wheel and suspension setup. It can easily change directions with minimal signs of body roll even when the speedometer needle hovers over the three-digital markings. However, the 16-inch tyres and the stiff (for handling) suspension can make you feel the broken roads a bit more than some of the occupants’ comfort level. However, as a driver, this setup will ensure an appearance of smile every now and then on your face.
Ford has always been known for making quality cars and the EcoSport is no different. Apart from getting a high star safety rating in various international markets, the Indian-spec EcoSport offers as many as 6 airbags, Traction Control System and ABS+EBD to keep you safe from any kind of situation that you cannot predict. In fact, it even gets features like Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that makes sure that you always keep an optimum level of air inside the rubber. Also, Ford EcoSport was the first company to introduce the Emergency Calling system that can call the emergency services without wasting any time if it senses an accident. The same system is now being launched in various models in the market.
The EcoSport is a great place to be on the highways, not only because of the cruise control, driver-oriented set-up, safety features or performance but because it also gets high-quality speakers that can play through Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, USB and FM. Upon reaching the winding roads of the lower Himalayas, we were greeted with the wide Himalayan Express, which remains one of the best and most scenic short distance expressways of the country. In an EcoSport, it is a perfect place to be. Keeping the vehicle in the right gears, we kept on gaining altitude until we reached the narrow incline to Kasauli. From Delhi, the route to Kasauli is pretty straightforward and it is only about 300 km of the road but driving the car enthusiastically on inclines can bring down the mileage displayed on the MID of the EcoSport pretty quickly. Still, we managed to score a high of 17.8 km/l with a boot full of luggage, AC on a low and souls filled with excitement!
Kasauli is a popular tourist attraction and has quite a few places to do touristy things. A Google search will tell you all about the mall road, the sunset point, the bun-samosa and the church. And we went to all these places to create some great memories together.
In the end, after returning to our base, we had done a total of 670 km with a single tank full of fuel and an average of 17.8 km/l. What did we miss in the car? Well, maybe the rear AC vents but we have a lot more to say about the things that we loved about the car including the infotainment system, its safety features, the way it drives among many others. It is just sad to see the EcoSports staying just behind the podium finishers on the sales chart in the segment but we do hope that it fights back in the future. This compact SUV certainly deserves a lot more and that is coming up next month in our wrap up review. Before that though, teammate Bunny Punia will weave his magic with a solid fuel economy run. Stay tuned!