According to Ford, the biggest gem in its all-new EcoSport crown is the revolutionary 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. Meanwhile, on the side, Ford will also launch two bigger engines in its wonderful baby SUV. We drove the new biggest gem in the crown, the tried-and-tested 1.5-litre diesel.
This is the same engine as in the new Fiesta. So, on tap you get nearly 90bhp and 204 Nm of torque. Ford engineers have left the unit from the Fiesta mostly untouched. Actually, there is a marginal 1bhp increase in power, but it will be safe to say you won’t notice it unless you are partially a robot. Compared to the Renault Duster’s engine, this is a super smooth unit, although it lacks a bit of the bottom-end grunt. The torque starts kicking in only when the engine reaches around the 1,400-1,500rpm. Below that, the car struggles no matter how much further you push that extreme right foot pedal. But past that, it is a linear surge.
In diesel guise, the EcoSport is a light-footed wonder. The needle on the speedo goes through the range in a hurry. It does 130kph in no time and without a fuss, which is a good thing for our highways. The five-speed manual gearbox is also a carryover. It has slick throws and it slots in easily making sure you are not missing gears when in a hurry to downshift or upshift.
The steering is light and lacks feel. More importantly, on longer drives you may find your muscles getting tensed up after some time, as you keep 'correcting' it. But despite that, the EcoSport stays a nimble mover. At least, it's better than in the EcoBoost variant, thanks to the excess weight up ahead. There is a fair bit of roll but the car strives to stay in line around corners. Unlike the Fiesta, the EcoSport comes with an option of 16-inch alloys, shod with specially made Goodyear tyres. Ride is pliant but suspension is on the softer side, which means it can get a bit bouncy in there. Thankfully, the seats are comfortable and with the right kind of support to the back and under-thigh.
Our sources in Ford tell us that fuel efficiency of this engine will cross 20kpl, which is phenomenal for an SUV. Of course, expect real world figures to hover around 16-17kpl at best, which is still the kind of numbers we Indians would love to hear.
With the EcoSport, Ford has hit a sweet spot with our needs. It looks hot, has a comfortable and feature-packed cabin and great ride. Plus, it can teach a thing or two about refinement to its capable rivals.
1498cc, 4cyl diesel engine, 90bhp, 204Nm, 47 litre fuel tank, 200mm ground clearance, 0-100kph - 13.24sec, 30-50kph (3rd) - 4.24sec, 30-50kph (4th) - 7.51sec, 50-70kph (5th) - 7.52sec, FE - City - 13.1kpl, Highway - 17.1kpl.
Ford is yet to reveal the prices. Trusting they get it right, we would expect the tag to be around Rs 8.0-8.5 lakh, for a regular Indian family, the Ecosport is all the car it will ever need. The diesel is just the bonus.
Looking for the review of the EcoSport petrol variant? Click right here.