Spo(r)t on

K SHIVRAJ
Saturday, 23 June 2018

The EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine (with six-speed tranny) and the electric sunroof are the highlights of the Ford EcoSport S

The compact crossover has undergone a makeover. Calling it the Ford EcoSport S, the company has armed it with a new one-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and a host of features. Producing 125bhp and 170Nm of torque, the EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine is not very different from the one that was introduced in the same vehicle when it debuted in India in 2013. Somewhere down the line it fell by the side but has made a comeback. 

Instead of being coupled to a five-speed transmission, in the 2018 edition, the EcoBoost engine is mated to a six-speed transmission. The ‘S’ suffix of the vehicle may point at a sporty iteration, the fact is, the EcoSport hasn’t changed drastically in terms of the external appearance over the earlier model.

Maintaining its ‘high-ish’ stance, typical of an SUV, the EcoSport S carries over the changes of the earlier model. Replacing chrome plated elements like the grille, roof and roof rails, fog lamp surrounds and head lights with faux metal bits that are finished in black, or dark colours, the EcoSport S sports HIDs and smart looking 17-inch alloy wheels. 

Electric sunroof 

The cabin is finished in black with contrasting colour elements. The instrument panel features a new LCD MID screen. Mounted on the central console is an eight-inch touchscreen system that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apart from the Ford SYNC3 command system. While sat-nav is embedded, the crossover comes with speed-sensing auto door lock, passenger seat belt reminder, rear parking sensors and a reverse camera across most variants. Also found on the Titanium variant is the MyKey and ambient lighting function. New for 2018 is a tyre pressure monitoring system, and an electric sunroof, which is the biggest highlight for this year’s facelift. 

The part leather seats offer good support, and are comfy. The front seats offer good amount of room.  The rear seat also offers good legroom and headroom, but can be a bit of a squeeze for three to sit. 
On the count of safety, the 2018 EcoSport comes with six airbags, brake assist, stability control and hill hold assist. Cruise control and ambient lighting add to the list. 

No turbo lag
Feeling refined at idle, the engine gets audible as the EcoSport gains speed. Past 3000rpm the thrum increases. Closer to the rev limit the engine feels a bit coarse too. The power delivery is linear and brisk. Unlike the unit offered in 2013, this one does not induce as much lag. No turbo lag is felt, and adds to the pleasure of driving this compact SUV. 

A strong pull starts to show itself as the rev needle moves closer to 1800rpm. It seems to intensify and get stronger as the needle goes past 2000rpm. Almost all the way to the 6600rpm redline, the pull lasts. It is devoid of any rough spots, and makes for good driving pleasure in the city, and on the highway. 
Good tractability gets the vehicle to move without the need to change the gears often and makes overtaking on the highway easy. If the addition of sixth gear aids highway cruising, the clutch is firm yet progressive.  

More driver focussed

If the sound of turbo blow-off (every time the accelerator pedal is released) can get a bit annoying, the EcoSport in terms of performance versus displacement capacity does impress. The brakes exert a strong bite. The steering weighs up nicely, and adds to the dynamic ability of the EcoSport. Compared to the 2013 model with EcoBoost engine, the current vehicle feels more driver focused. Displaying good grip, the compact SUV corners well and feels car-like to drive under most conditions. It exhibits good stability, but offers a firm ride. When travelling on a broken surface, the ride does have a tendency to feel bumpy.   

Verdict

With prices starting from Rs 7.67 lakhs and going up to Rs 11.89 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi, the 2018 EcoSport line-up also includes diesel variants that are powered by the same engine as the earlier model. Except for the new features and trim, the diesel variants don’t seem to gain much. So, the highlights for the Ford EcoSport S is the new EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine (with six-speed tranny) and the electric sunroof. Look beyond, and the 2018 EcoSport S looks stylish for a compact SUV or a crossover, and is value for money.

 

Pros: EcoBoost engine much better than before, new features, styling, handling

Cons: Space at the rear is not great, firm ride

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