Ford EcoSport: the catalogue buster

I drove the one with the 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine. On paper, it’s tiny, has only three cylinders and, speaking of paper, Ford says the engine can sit on floor space as small as an A4 sheet. And on paper, it makes 123bhp – but the car never feels like 123 horses on the road. But then, that seems to be the way of the new world where horses may translate to performance numbers but never on to feel.

There is quite a bit of lag till 2000rpm, and post 4000rpm, the engine emits a pleasing petrol growl. But compared to Ford’s old 1.6-litre 100bhp petrol that sounded nice and had a more linear power delivery, this new-gen turbo-charged petrol has a limited torque curve and also needs you to go through an elongated learning curve to extract the maximum possible. On our very restricted drive in Goa, I couldn’t vouch for its fuel efficiency. But if it proves to be in the teens in city traffic, then this 1.0-litre engine might well be worth it.

The five-speed manual is a bit sticky and not as slick as you’d expect from a Ford. Furthermore, this isn’t the kind of box mated to the kind of engine that will let you put it in fifth and cruise. If you drop vehicle speed to about 60kph or engine speed to under 2000rpm, and you need some quick momentum, you cannot just plonk your right foot on the throttle. You will have to downshift to get it going again. There are cars that need you to work hard to get to the power, and there are cars that make the act of working hard to get to the power fun and engaging. The EcoSport is not the latter. Good thing it doesn’t have a sixth gear, then.