Ford Ecosport started the compact SUV revolution in the country, in 2013. Since then, other manufacturers have been fighting in this immensely growing space. As the Ecosport completes four years of its product lifecycle, a facelift was due and so the company has gone ahead and readied one. Interestingly, Ford calls it the All New Ecosport. We were not sure at first as to why so, however, after spending some time with the vehicle, we came to the conclusion that Ford is not entirely wrong in calling it all new, though being a facelift . Why is it so? Read further to know more.
The New Ecosport gets an all new front. This includes a large trapezoidal grille, reminiscent of other Ford SUVs. It also reminds you of the Endeavour, to an extent. The headlamps are also new, this time with projectors. There are LED daytime running lights also embedded in them. The bumper is a new one and what stands out, are the new large fog lamps. The fog lamps go a long way in making the Ecosport look bolder.
The side sees no change, except for the new 17-inch alloy wheels. These are also of a new design and add to the overall appeal of the vehicle. These come only in the Titanium Plus variant. The lower ones get a 16-inch alloy wheel. The ground clearance is still 200mm. The same story applies to the rear, where the Ecosport sees no change. The spare wheel still sits on the boot door.
The front of the earlier Ecosport also was aggressive, but the new one adds some more glamour to it and looks fresh for sure.
This is where one can see major changes. The dashboard layout is new and the highlight is the new 8-inch touchscreen. This is a floating type one, which is increasingly getting popular. The screen has very good resolution and it is fast too, like a smartphone, in terms of response. It comes equipped with Sync 3 and gets Apple Car Play and Android Auto. There is also a reverse camera available.
The steering wheel is also an all new one and looks good as well. The best part is that all controls are mounted there including audio, bluetooth, driver info and cruise control. It is nice to hold and it also feels softer than before.
The instrument cluster is also all new. It sits wider but I found it to be old school. Reminds me of the cars of the 90’s. The driver info screen is small and the font too thin, but the information it gives out is great. There is a digital speedometer and also tyre pressure monitoring. An excellent feature this is. The outside temperature indicator was not accurate and had an error of around 5 degrees.
The fit and finish is good but the plastics still feel hard. The front seats are now broader and feel more comfortable, but the lumbar support adjustment is no more present. There are decent storage spaces and the armrest has a deep pocket.
The rear hardly sees any change. Ecosport is a four seater and remains as is. There are no rear AC vents this time as well. Another feature omitted is the reclining of the backrest of the rear seats. But the seats fold flat and it is easier to do it now with the help of a button placed at shoulder level. The boot is simliar sizewise but is more utilitarian now as it gets an adjustable floor.
Engine & Performance
This is another area of major change. Two engine options are now available on the Ecosport. One is the same 1.5-litre TDCi diesel, which makes 100bhp of power and the other is an all-new 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine. Now this one is not a turbo petrol, but a naturally aspirated one. The 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine has been given a rest this time.
The diesel was always a strong performer and continues to be, with little tweaks to improve driveability. It comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The new 1.5-litre petrol is the one which is a major change here. This new engine comes with new generation technologies and unlike most manufacturers who use turbocharges, this one relies on natural aspiration. Does it do a good job? Well it does. Now, don’t expect it to be a scorcher. This 3-cylinder unit is designed for good driveability. It makes around 121bhp of power. It is pretty silent on start but gets noisier at higher revs. The high point about it is that being devoid of a turbocharger, there is no turbo lag here. This engine pulls cleanly from standstill. It doesn’t feel very punchy as such, but puts a smile on the face because the response to the throttle input is instantaneous.
This engine comes with an option of a five-speed manual and a new six-speed automatic transmission. Ford has done away with the dual clutch transmission and gone in for a conventional automatic. I actually like the behaviour of this powertrain, coz of its ease of driving. If your usage is mainly in the city, then this is a very good option to consider. We have yet to check the actual mileage of this engine. We shall share that later, once we drive the new Ecosport for a longer duration.
The market is shifting towards petrol engines, hence Ford has invested in a newer petrol unit and also continues to offer an automatic on it, rather than the diesel.
Ride and Handling
Where we previously found the Ecosport wanting, was in the ride department. Generally Fords have a good ride quality, but the Ecosport had a tad harsher ride comparatively. There was quite a lot of customer feedback too about the same. Ford has taken this into account and worked on the suspension setup. The result is a better ride quality that is evident. Don’t expect it to be a sea change, but there is decent improvement. The improvement is more evident on the 16-inch wheels rather than the 17-inchers.
Handling was one of the USPs of the Ecosport and it continues to be. The softer setup has not hampered the handling. Also, the introduction of 17-inch wheels has aided the handling alongwith lower profile tyres. Ford has also made the steering a bit lighter. This is evident at parking speeds, where the steering does feel lighter. This also is a result of customer feedback.
The All-New Ford Ecosport is a better equipped and fresher looking compact SUV now. The diesel engine was always its strong point and now with the introduction of the new petrol engine, it has become even more competitive. The prices are yet to be announced, but we reckon that there will not be a major increase, owing to competition’s aggression. Ford claims that the Ecosport now has upto 85% of localisation. Also, the maintenance cost is one of the lowest in the segment. With all these things put together, the Ford Ecosport comes across as a good package and a strong contender. The brand value of the Ecosport is the best for any Ford, in India and it commands a loyal fan following as well. Now, it is to be seen whether the Ecosport will repeat its success once again.