WHEN: Early 2013
HOW MUCH: Rs 9 - 11 lakh
ENGINES: 1.0-litre, 3-cyl turbo-petrol, 120 PS power, 170 Nm torque
COMPETITION: Renault Duster, Maruti XA Alpha
The Ford EcoSport is an exciting new car from Ford, and a very important one at that. Following on from the Figo and new Fiesta, the EcoSport is intended to take the Blue Oval to more and more customers, firmly establishing Ford as a maker of quality compact cars.
Make no mistake, the EcoSport is a compact SUV, intended more to be at home in an urban environment, and Ford itself acknowledges this. The compact dimensions are married to high ground clearance and a commandingly high seating position, which help in negotiating the urban jungle. Such considerations are especially important in India, and don’t we know it!
The EcoSport has been designed at Ford’s Camacari design studio in Brazil. Brazil, along with India, forms one of two production bases for the new EcoSport (a third site may be established later). The EcoSport is intended to be sold in over 100 markets worldwide, and Indian production will be exported to other markets in Asia and Africa. The styling echoes the Kinetic design philosophy, but with squarer, broader surfaces. A bold trapezoidal chromed grille forms the centre-piece of the face, flowing into a broad, ridged bonnet. The continuity in the design is emphasised by these bonnet ridges, which flow into the A-pillar, itself steeply-raked to give an impression of speed and agility. The big chrome grille is flanked by a pair of small fog lamps, which seem a little out of sorts with the overall design. The headlights are geometric too, with LED elements which may make production, but only on the higher variants.
The wheel arches are substantial, and accentuate the stance of the car. A bold line runs down the sides, highlighting the high belt line. The B-pillars have been blacked-out, as have the D-pillars. The small glass area at the rear is supported mainly by the C-pillars, and this design gives the roof a suspended look, further adding to the lightness of the design.
At the rear, the spare wheel mounted in the centre of the tail gate is the defining element of the design. The taillights bear resemblance to the new Fiesta’s, but are more angular, keeping in tune with the rest of the EcoSport’s look. Minus the spare wheel, the EcoSport just ducks under the 4 metre mark in length, which entitles it to an excise benefit. This no doubt will help Ford’s cause in pricing the new EcoSport competitively.
Ford has resorted to substantial plastic cladding all along the lower perimeter of the body. Not only does this lend the EcoSport a certain ruggedness, it is practical too. Dents and scrapes are inevitable in urban driving and parking, and the dark-grey plastic should prove more robust than shiny paintwork.
The EcoSport will be powered by Ford’s new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. EcoBoost is ford-speak for down-sizing and turbocharging, which is turning into a trend among global car-makers. With ever-tightening legislation, car-makers are forced to think green, and turbocharging seems a sure-fire way of achieving the objectives. The amazing aspect of the EcoBoost is that it produces power and torque similar to a 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated engine, but consumes almost 40 % less fuel. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine in the EcoSport is rated at 120 PS and 170 Nm of torque, which are truly amazing figures indeed. Better still, Ford claims that the max torque will be available from as low as 1300 rpm!
The engine will be mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Theoretically, the Ecosport could also get Ford’s new 6-speed dual clutch automatic, but then it would price itself out of contention, especially in the Indian market.
For the time being, Ford has neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of a diesel EcoSport, but the model could be a distinct possibility, especially given the skewed fuel prices in India. The 1.5-litre Duratorq from the new Fiesta could fit under the bonnet of the EcoSport as well, but the development work would probably have to be done in India.
We don’t have any pictures of the interiors as yet, but we expect there could be elements of the new Fiesta evident in the interiors as well. The voice-activated controls for the HVAC and stereo are a possibility as well.
Sales of the EcoSport are likely to commence early next year. It will be built at Ford’s Chennai facility, with about 50,000 units scheduled for production. Ford has recently upgraded its Chennai plant to produce 200,000 units a year, which includes all its models. Pricing will be key, but as with the new Fiesta, don’t expect the EcoSport to come cheap. We expect prices will start around the Rs 9 lakh mark, but to begin with the EcoSport should manage to carve a furrow on its own.
Ford has a very clear target, to increase its global sales by 50 % by 2016. This translates to 8 million units a year, and ford believes the maximum growth will be from Asia and Africa. The EcoSport is a keystone car for Ford in that sense, and a lot of the company’ future success will be riding on it.
Ford Upcoming Cars
Ford’s B-Max is almost production ready. This small multi-utility vehicle, or MUV, is based on the Ford Fiesta platform, which also serves as the basis of the EcoSport compact SUV, and is part of the Blue Oval’s new One Ford global product strategy. Read More...
Ford’s all-new Ranger pick-up truck is being readied for production from next year. The SUV version based on this pick-up truck, sold as the Endeavour in India, will follow shortly thereafter. Read More...
- upcoming cars
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