Ford India has recently launched the facelifted and more feature-rich Ecosport with starting price of INR 7.2 lakh on-road Mumbai. We find out whether it has the stuff to get the competition worried.
The facelifted Ecosport’s design and dimensions remains largely unchanged. The new car retains the assertive front-end but now gets revised head-lamps with an LED strip as parking lights and do not work as day-time running lights. The Ecosport would have looked more premium if it had DRL’s ,that everyone these days is looking for. What is does sport is a refurbished design for the skid plate and has 17-inch alloy wheels. Most importantly, the SUV retain sits ground-clearance of 200mm and the spare wheel mounted on the rear door.
The location of the button for the boot opening has also shifted to the bottom from the front. Apart from this there are no other changes to the exterior of the car and the changes are difficult to notice with an untrained eye. The new EcoSport is available in a new colour called Golden Bronze with 7 others including Mars Red, Diamond White, Panther Black, Kinetic Blue, Moondust Silver, Chill Metallic, and Smoke Grey.
The cabin preserves the current model’s design, but sees the addition of a handful of new comfort and convenience features like the electrochromic mirror that automatically deflects a beam of light from trailing vehicles to minimise obstruction to drivers. People who are familiar with the Ecosport will also immediately notice that the indicator stocks are on the right side instead of being the other way around. Ford has also introduced automatic headlamps as a value addition. The handbrake is draped in leather and has been moved to the left, which is a welcome addition because it was too close to the passenger’s seat belt before and used to result in scraped knuckles. There’s also a chrome pack, which gives chrome highlights to the door handles, instrument cluster rings, power window inserts and AC regulator. While the chrome inserts might be a little overdone, it does liven up the interior.
In terms of safety, the new compact SUV gets up to 6 airbags and the Emergency Assistance feature that uses SYNC and a Bluetooth-paired phone to call emergency services automatically and provide information about the vehicle and location. Ford India has also introduced a new trim-level in the 2016 Ford EcoSport line-up – Trend+, while the Titanium (O) variant has been renamed to Titanium+.
Moving on to the new Ford EcoSport’s engine options, the carmaker continues to offer the compact SUV with a choice of 3 options: the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, and the 1.5-litre Ti-VCT petrol. While the performance numbers of the petrol motors are the same, the diesel engine has been re-tuned to deliver improved and minimizing turbo lag. As far as EcoSport’s transmission options go, a 5-speed manual is the standard provision with the option of a 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission albeit only with the 1.5-litre Ti-VCT petrol.
Ford seems to have used a bit more insulation because the engine noise is well damped at idle, and it remains smooth when accelerating, only getting intrusive at high revs. It’s not a drastic change, but refinement levels are noticeably better than before. The engine delivers very linear acceleration and it’s now even more responsive. The big difference is felt in the way the car picks up speed from low revs and delivers good performance throughout the rev band. You can keep it one gear higher and stay in third gear in traffic for a longer time. The car also feels quicker.
With this update Ford has addressed most of the minor niggles inside the cabin, but it’s the engine upgrade that’s the master stroke. It doesn’t result in a major price increase either, which makes the new EcoSport an even more compelling package.