The Ford EcoSport is one of the most looked-forward to launches of 2013 and the action is beginning to hot up in the run up to its launch. Uncamouflaged Ford EcoSports can now be seen in the final stages of testing around the country – and we’ve seen a whole range of variant combinations. Update: Some dealers start taking bookings for EcoSport
So to put things in perspective, here’s a compilation of what’s known about the Ford EcoSport so far, about the variants and features that would be offered in the Indian market. The EcoSport is already being sold in the Brazilian market, but with a different engine and transmission combination than what is likely to be offered in India. Ford has also updated its website with more information on the upcoming EcoSport. Also see: Ford EcoSport official photo gallery
Robust build, functional size
From the early test mules that have been seen around the country, the Ford EcoSport appears to be very robustly built and exudes that solid SUV feel. Enough has been said about its design, but here are some specifics. It measures exactly 4-metres in length without the spare wheel (4250 mm – including spare wheel), is 2060 mm wide (that’s wider than the Renault Duster and the Mahindra Scorpio, but this is mirror-tip to mirror-tip width) and is 1670 mm tall.
The EcoSport has a ground clearance of 200 mm, which is more than adequate for Indian roads and rides on 16-inch wheels with 205/60 R16 tyres (the same size as on the Maruti SX4). It has very short overhangs – 25 degree front approach angle, and 35 degree departure angle, which means you can get over that low kerb if you want to. And it’s also monsoon safe as it has a 550 mm water wading capacity, allowing you to wade through flooded streets with ease.
It has a relatively high seating position and can seat five adults, giving you a good view of the road, but legroom is just average apparently. The rear seat is also a bit too upright. The dashboard design is similar to the Fiesta and looks familiar. The EcoSport will have a boot space of 346 litres – enough for a couple of medium suitcases (it’s more than the Maruti Dzire can carry, and slightly less than the Honda Jazz). Read more: Renault Duster vs. Ford EcoSport: Battle of the compact SUVs
Loaded with features
Ford is likely to load the EcoSport with a host of goodies – with the Titanium variant expected to come with almost everything you need. On the exteriors the top-end EcoSport will have a chrome-lined grille, chrome ringed fog lamps, 16-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, power-folding mirrors with integrated indicators, rear wiper and washer among others.
On the safety front, the top-end variant will offer four airbags and ABS. Brakes are front disc and rear drum combination. The mid-variants will have two airbags and ABS, while the base may have only a single airbag. ABS is likely to be standard.
In terms of convenience features, the EcoSport will get automatic climate control, steering mounted audio controls and multi-information display. The infotainment system is the highlight here, featuring a version of Ford’s Sync, which allows your phone to connect to the car, as well as take voice commands. We’re not sure if Ford will include navigation capability with it. It won’t have cruise control like the Fiesta. Also read: Ford EcoSport to feature Sync
The most interesting engine choice that the Ford EcoSport will offer is the 1-litre EcoBoost engine. This three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine puts out 120 bhp of power and 170 Nm of torque at just 1500 rpm, making it sound extremely capable on paper. And it delivers a fuel efficiency of nearly 20 kmpl. Ford is likely to offer this engine with a five speed manual transmission. However, don’t expect this engine to be cheap, as the technology that goes into the EcoBoost engine is expensive – expect the petrol and diesel EcoSport to be closely priced.
The second engine choice will be the 1.5 litre diesel engine that powers the Ford Fiesta, producing 90 bhp of power and 204 Nm of torque. This will come with a five-speed manual transmission.
Ford has also been seen testing the 1.5 litre petrol engine, which is the same as the one used in the Fiesta – but this engine won’t make sense in the pricing of the EcoSport as it won’t qualify as a small car with this engine. This engine therefore will come only with the dual-clutch automatic transmission in the Titanium variant. All variants will only be front-wheel drive for now. Also read: Ford EcoSport automatic spy photos emerge
The launch of the EcoSport was apparently delayed because the EcoBoost engine wasn’t taking too kindly to Indian fuel standards. That’s something that Ford has hopefully sorted out by now.
What we expect
With the Ford EcoSport qualifying for small car tax cuts, Ford can easily undercut the Renault Duster when it comes to pricing, as the Duster is 4.2 metres long and comes in the higher excise bracket. And given that its main competitor is the Duster, whose prices start at Rs. 7.4 lakh for the base petrol – Ford can easily price the EcoSport between Rs. 6 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh. Given it would have more features than the Renault Duster, it looks like Ford has a winner ready to break out. The EcoSport launch is expected to be announced in early June. Also read: CarToq community votes EcoSport as most-awaited SUV