Friday, 10 May 2013

2013 Ford EcoSport

Some say "there's no replacement for displacement". However, it seems Ford doesn't believe in the saying. Large engines may be powerful but it doesn't mean smaller engines can't perform as well. Welcome to the 1.0- litre EcoBoost engine from Ford, it's a compact turbocharged direct-injection engine and it debuts in Ford's new star, the EcoSport (pronounced echo-sport). India will be the first country to get this engine in the EcoSport. 

The Titanium variant is the only variant available with the EcoBoost engine. The 3-cylinder, 999cc engine may sound like an entry-level hatchback unit but it performs exceedingly well. And that's down to its output figures of 125PS of max power and 170Nm of peak torque; figures one usually associates with a 1.6-litre engine. This turbocharged DOHC engine even features variable valve timing (intake side) and is quiet and refined.
Work it hard and you'll hear a distinctive three-cylinder engine note. Vibrations are low but it sounds like one for sure. The power delivery isn't jaw dropping but it is quite powerful and one can feel the pace. The engine revs all the way up to 6500rpm and thanks to longer gear ratios, one can take the SUV all the way to 100kmph in second gear. Turbo lag is minimal and driving around town is effortless and one doesn't have to shift quite often. It is an involving engine and suits the EcoSport's fun character. Now, We didn't test the car for its economy, but the ARAI claimed figure is an impressive 18.9kmpl. A quick 0-100kmph run and the EcoSport EcoBoost will do it in an impressive 11.6 seconds.

The Ford EcoSport handles well too; the suspension is slightly stiff and around corners it's more like a sporty hatchback than an SUV. Despite the height, it holds the line perfectly. The steering is set slightly towards the lighter side but considering its an electric unit, the feedback offered is impressive (like in the Fiesta); it helps you corner precisely and keeps one involved all the time.
The compact steering wheel is borrowed from the Fiesta and it is great to hold. There is a hint of body roll when pushed hard into bends but it never is a cause for concern, and even at higher speeds, the car feels completely planted. 
And despite the stiffly setup suspension, the ride quality is pretty good. It handles the undulations well, and even over broken and bumpy roads, the ride never got jarring or uncomfortable even. Braking is another area where the Ford EcoSport impresses - the SUV's brakes have good bite and progression.

So how spacious is it? Well for a car that's under 4-metres, there is ample space. Up front, the driver and passenger are comfortable and there is more than adequate knee room at the back. However, three grown-ups at the back will be a tight squeeze and the floorboard, which isn't completely flat, hinders comfortable seating for the second row passengers. There are 20 storage spaces inside including 9 bottle holders.The boot holds 346 litres which is more like in a big hatchback but the good thing is that the space is usable with very few intrusions. If one needs more space, the seats even fold 60:40 and the boot capacity increases to 705 litres.
Back to the cabin, the all black interior does make it feel less roomy inside but adds to the sporty character. The A-pillar is quite broad and does affect visibility while the high belt line hampers the view for the rear passengers.
The EcoBoost model is only available in the top end feature loaded Titanium variant. So one gets standard features like SYNC (Voice assist), stereo with aux, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, leather upholstery, 16-inch alloy wheels, ABS and six airbags to name a few.
Prices haven't been announced yet but expect the Ford EcoSport EcoBoost to be priced over the 1.5-litre petrol variant and on par with the diesel. The EcoSport will be available in four variants and eight colours. Bookings for the EcoSport will start in June and expect the SUV to now go on sale in July.

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