Ford has begun on-road testing of the all-new, 2nd generation EcoSport compact SUV. The test mule sits beneath a Ford Fiesta hatchback’s body, which is meant to disguise the lines of the new EcoSport. What this also suggests is that the on-road testing is at the early stages, with the SUV being tested for mechanical integrity for now. The all-new EcoSport is slated to make its global debut in 2020.
Images courtesy Autocar
In India too, the SUV is expected to launch in 2020. The next-generation EcoSport will use the Ford Fiesta platform. The 1.5 liter-3 cylinder Dragon petrol engine, which was recently introduced in the facelifted EcoSport, is one engine that’s expected to be carried over to the new model. The fate of the 1.5 liter TDCI turbocharged diesel engine remains unknown for now given the tightening emission norms globally.
Ford may choose to go with a petrol-only approach for the new EcoSport is emission compliance for the diesel motor gets too expensive. The other key engine for the new SUV will be chosen from the EcoBoost line up. In Brazil and other parts of Latin America, the current Ford EcoSport is sold with a 2 liter petrol engine and a four wheel drive layout on the range topping variants. It remains to be seen if this naturally aspirated motor is retained in the new model.
It’s likely that Ford will replace the 2 liter petrol engine with a smaller, turbocharged unit from the EcoBoost range. A four wheel drive layout could be retained for specific markets, and the Indian market is likely to get a front wheel drive layout, as is the case with the current version. More details about the new car will surface in the next few months.
Currently, speculation on global auto media outlets is rife that the all-new EcoSport will be more of a crossover than a butch-looking compact SUV. While the EcoSport has been a very successful SUV in India, it’s been a tepid seller in many international markets, particularly in developed countries. This could be a reason for Ford to take the crossover-ish route with the new version of the SUV.
What also remains to be seen is whether the 2nd generation Ford EcoSport continues with a sub-4 meter footprint. This is a crucial detail that is quite important to the Indian market, where sub-4 meter cars get big excise duty benefits. Even if Ford makes the next-gen EcoSport larger for the global market, the SUV is likely to be shortened to fit the sub-4 meter segment in India.
Also, Ford has tied up with Mahindra for joint product development, electric vehicles and more. The American automaker is likely to lend the new EcoSport platform to Mahindra for a sub-4 meter compact SUV. This SUV could also be electrified by Mahindra Electric with an eye on the future. Both Ford and Mahindra are expected to sell the electrified variants of the all-new EcoSport and the Mahindra-badged SUV in India in future.