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Punchy Little Thing – Ford EcoSport EcoBoost

1/28/2015 1:37:23 AM
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We finally drive Ford’s much-talked-about EcoSport with the EcoBoost engine. But does it really live up to the hype? Well, we have solved the mystery the Car India way

The Ford EcoSport created headlines when it was first unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo. But the main reason for all the hype around the EcoSport was its 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, which, since the launch, has won the International Engine of the Year Award two times in a row. A few months ago we tested the highly capable 1.5-liter diesel EcoSport, but now we bring you the complete road test of the much-praised EcoBoost engine EcoSport. But does it really deserve all the attention it’s getting? Well, read on to find out how good this new EcoSport really is.

I must say that Ford have hit the nail on the head so far as styling of the EcoSport is concerned

I must say that Ford have hit the nail on the head so far as styling of the EcoSport is concerned. The car is based on the Fiesta platform, and its styling is as aggressive as the Fiesta’s. In photos it looks butch and aggressive and in really it is. The big, open-jaw-like front grille, narrow headlamps and machine-gun-like fog-lights give the EcoSport a very distinct look at the front. Plus the rakes windscreen, high shoulder-line and flared wheel-arches help it look muscular and robust. The rear of the car is also designed well and complements the rest of the car quite nicely. The chunky C-pillars and the wraparound rear screen blend well and placement of the spare wheel on the rear door seems like a well-thought feature.

It has all the typical Ford elements that give it a butch and muscular stance. Youthful, modern, proportionate and well-executed are the words that describe the overall design of the EcoSport quite well. And these terms also stand true for the interior. A good-looking dashboard with a chunky steering wheel and easily legible instrument console give it a very welcoming feel. The seats are nice, too, although they are good only for four people; five would be a squeeze. Ample support and comfort from the seats upfront is a plus-point for the EcoSport’s cabin. Besides, a good amount of boot space elevates the car’s desirability.

Youthful, modern, proportionate and well-executed are the words that describe the overall design of the EcoSport quite well

Equipment list on this top-end EcoSport EcoBoost is as impressive as in the diesel variant that we tested in July 2013. One gets all the bells and whistles one expects of a top-end car that is priced so attractively, and there was hardly anything that I felt was missing in terms of equipment. The EcoSport EcoBoost comes loaded with all the safety features of the diesel variant as well. Six airbags and ABS come as standard, but features like the ESP, TCS and EBA are all missing from the EcoBoost. These features are reserved exclusively for the 1.5-liter automatic petrol variant.

However, the car feels safe without the added security. Its build quality is good as everything feels quite solid and sturdy. The award-winning 999-cc turbocharged three-pot motor is what truly takes center-stage. It signifies only a technological leap for Ford, but is also a very good all-round performer. On paper it develops 125 PS of power, which is quite remarkable for such a tiny engine, but the 170 Nm of torque, which is available from 1,400 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm, is even more impressive. Ford engineers have spent quite a lot of time tuning this engine and making it a highly refined motor. And it becomes quite evident the moment you start driving the car.

The seats are nice, too, although they are good only for four people; five would be a squeeze

Being a turbocharged engine you would expect it to have a bit of a turbo lag, but there is hardly any to be noticed. The power delivery is quite linear and it feels gentle rather than abrupt. The smooth shifting five-speed manual gearbox is precise and the ratios are kept short. The highlight of this motor is the excellent bottom-end power and good mid-range power. The top end is also impressive as it helps the car attain a top speed of 181 km/h.

Performance-wise the EcoSport EcoBoost is a decent machine that generates quite good figures, 0-100 km/h sprint takes just 12.22 seconds and it takes just over 35 seconds to attain its top speed. In terms of performance, I can say that the EcoBoost engine is a decent unit, though its main goal is good fuel efficiency, the car that we tested returned a healthy 11 km/l within city and 18 km/l on the highway.

It may be small but packs a punch that will impress the enthusiasts as well as the novice driver

Handling-wise there is very little to complain about. The tall seat gives you a commanding view of the road ahead, although the A-pillar creates a blind spot which can be a big problem for many in India. The EcoSport uses the same suspension bits and pieces that are found on the Fiesta, but it has been stiffened up a bit for the EcoSport. Despite that the handling remains impeccable. The perfectly tuned suspension and the responsive steering that communicates well give steering that communicates well give round corners. There is slight body-roll, but it doesn’t bother much. High-speed stability is good and even at 181 km/h we did not find it bereft of composure. The suspension, chassis and the steering are so well configured that despite the missing ESP and traction control, the EcoSport felt well planted and quite solid at high speeds. Ride quality is good as it gobbles up undulations quite well. However, on bad roads it’s hampered by the slightly stiff suspension setup, though it doesn’t really bother you much most of the time. The brakes also feel nice and have a good bite that inspires confidence.

Overall, the EcoSport EcoBoost is a good car/baby SUV that can give you the thrills while being light on your pocket

Overall, the EcoSport EcoBoost is a good car/baby SUV that can give you the thrills while being light on your pocket. It has a frugal and punchy 999-cc motor that behaves nicely and has enough grunt to get you out of most situations. Its agile and nimble handling inspires confidence and the excellent fuel efficiency is the icing on the cake. A starting price of $14,875 is a bargain. So, if you are looking for something that is light on the pocket, but is filled with features, then the Ford EcoSport with the EcoBoost engine is the right car for you.

Specs

         Price: $15,587

         Engine: three-cylinder, inline, petrol, 999cc, DOHC

         Power: 125 PS

         Torque: 170 Nm

         Transmission: Five speed manual

         0-60mph: 5.83sec

         Top speed: 181.69 km/h

 
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