The term 'downsizing' became familiar in the automotive industry only recently. Defined as the reduction of engine size for the sake of fuel efficiency and emission control, downsizing* is often seen as a plague in the automotive world.
*Generally related to petrol engines, downsizing does not usually reduce the output but increases it with the help of turbochargers.
With emission norms getting stringent in most countries, manufacturers are forced to follow downsizing. As for Ford, the EcoSport is not the first car they've downsized. The Ford EcoBoost series engines have made their way to many models including the Mustang and even the range-topping supercar, the GT.
Car enthusiasts often disapprove downsizing, especially on high-end cars, claiming that it kills the car's feel. To an extent, this stays true since turbocharged engines lack the raw nature of a naturally-aspirated unit.
But in a mileage-conscious country like India, is the new Ford EcoSport S an example of 'Downsizing Done Right'?
We take the EcoSport S through the plains of Chennai to find an answer!
Design & Styling
When the first-gen Ford EcoSport was launched in the country in 2013, the crossover received mixed opinions on its styling. The car was initially entitled as ‘weird-looking' by some. The primary reason for this was that Indians were not used to seeing a bridge between a hatch and an SUV; that too within four metres of length. Though a lot functional, we couldn't find the original EcoSport design aesthetically pleasing.
But the new Ford EcoSport S is quite good to look at with the revamped ‘One Ford' design language. It features the traits of something we can call an ‘urban design'. Compared to the regular EcoSport model, the ‘S' variant looks Sharper, Sportier & Special.
With some subtle design tweaks, Ford has managed to convert the predominantly-rounded design of the EcoSport to a more angular approach. The minimal evidence of chrome, although being a good thing, might upset the Indian majority. Even the headlamps and taillamps are smoked. The Canyon Ridge paint scheme plus the gloss black roof accentuates the looks even further.
Up front, the hexagonal honeycomb grille extends to either side till it almost touches the reverse-tapered headlamps with projector units. The LED DRLs make the headlamp boundary more distinct. The ‘X-theme' bumper supports them and also houses the hawk-eye fog lamp plus indicator cluster. The grey skid plate and the faux splitter lay the foundation of the front design.
The side profile shows how high the crossover rides. At a ground clearance of 200mm, the Ford can avoid most surface irregularities. A black fibre garnish starts from the front bumper and extends the length of the vehicle. The roof rails are black too.
But what catches the eye the most are the wheels. The new EcoSport S rides on a nice set of 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels. The 205/50 R17 Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 tyres are wide and offer adequate grip too.
The low-profile tyres and wheels finished in gloss grey, top the list of the best aesthetic components of the car.
The mirrors are electronically-adjustable and foldable and have got puddle lamps (illuminates the floor) underneath.
At the rear, the spare wheel centres your vision while the rest of the design forms around it. The windshield is noticeably small. The viewing area is even smaller with the black surrounds and the rear wiper unit.
The second-gen EcoSport has let go of the awkward one-sided* reverse light format. The reverse lights are now at the bottom, in good company with the reflectors.
The EcoSport still has the rear tailgate handle integrated into the right tail lamp. But unlike before, it is now mirrored by a plain silver garnish on the other tail lamp.
Interiors & Features
The dark-theme interiors of the Ford EcoSport S get satin orange accents that run across the dashboard and seats. Leather upholstery (with faux content) is in abundance. The overall fit-and-finish is good too.
At the centre of the dashboard flags the 8.0-inch Ford SYNC 3 Infotainment system with a lot of functionalities (more on the unit coming below). The UI is really responsive and legible. Thanks to the raised position, drivers need not take too much of their forward vision to interact with it.
Below the unit lies the wide hexagonal AC vents which look cool and modern. The orange accents flow down from underneath to enclose the climate control, connectivity ports and the gear lever.
The distinct orange garnish on the passenger side separates the airbag location with the glove box below.
The three-spoke steering wheel is leather wrapped and has got controls for the audio, cruise control and phone. Like most Ford models, it is quite large in diameter; something loved by driving enthusiasts.
The steering wheel gets a neat orange stitching while also being tiltable and telescopic.
The entire lighting controls are placed separately on the dashboard to the right of the steering column. This will need a little getting-used-to for average drivers. As for the stalks behind the wheel, the left one controls the wipers and the right one is used only for activating the indicators and pass-light.
The instrument console gets large dials. The digital display in between them shows various stats and information which include a gear-shift indicator, real-time & average mileage, outside temperature, door-open indicators et cetera.
The EcoSport S comes with two USB ports and a 12V output. The rotary knobs have a good finish and feel to them.
There is also a Traction Control (TCS) toggle button beside the USB ports. As by popular practice, the system will still be active in a low magnitude even if it is switched off.
But the most-discussed interior addition is the sunroof. Ford calls it the ‘Fun Roof', which is also the highlight in the limited-run Ford EcoSport Signature Edition.
The sunroof controls are conveniently placed within reach at the top. The front cabin lighting has three units: central illumination, left and right reading/map lamps.
There is also a sunglass holder. Unlike in most cars, the inside of the sunglass holder is finished with a soft fabric.
Coming back to the SYNC 3 infotainment system, here are some things it offers:
- Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
- A digital compass
- In-built navigation
- Bluetooth & WiFi connectivity
- Vehicle settings
- Footwell ambient lighting controls
- Voice Recognition
- Automatic headlamps ON/OFF
- Emergency Assist
- Valet mode
In addition to this, the EcoSport gets the following features too:
- Push-button start
- Automatic headlamps and wipers
- Ford MyKey*
- Four speakers; two tweeters
- Driver seat height-adjust
- Reverse parking camera
- Cleverly-placed hooks inside
- Illuminated boot
*Ford MyKey allows you to set a speed limit, seatbelt reminder and audio volume-lock, for your peace of mind, the next time you let someone else drive your car.
Practicality, Comfort & Storage
Being a crossover, the EcoSport is bound to feature the practicality of both a hatchback and an SUV. There are plenty of big and small storage spaces in the Ford EcoSport S.
The glove box is cooled and comes with two cabins. You can also find a pen holder inside.
The doors are also quite heavy and showcase Ford's excellent build quality. The leather trims on them are a boon for the wrist and elbow during long drives.
The front doors have a larger storage compartment compared to the rear ones.
The front seating position is good for most average-sized drivers and its soft bolsters provide excellent support. The central armrest is wide but not long enough.
However, the armrest hides a deep storage compartment.
Storage spaces also extend to two cup holders and a central compartment ideal to place an air freshener.
The rear bench is comfortable but is a bit tight for three adults. The headroom is comparatively better than the legroom which is invaded by the rear AC vents.
At a boot space of 352 litres, the EcoSport S can carry a good amount of luggage.
The 60:40 split-folding seats improve the luggage capacity further.
Although the loading area is on the higher side, the boot floor can be lowered/raised by three levels.
Engine, Performance & Drive
The main highlight of the new Ford EcoSport S is its engine. The 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine is not new for the EcoSport. But this time, it has come in a new package.
The 3-cylinder petrol unit makes 123bhp and 170Nm of torque. It comes mated only to a new 6-speed manual for good reason – Ford India is one of the very few brands in the country which makes driver-focussed cars. The new EcoSport S is aimed to be just that while also ensuring the added practicality of a compact-SUV.
The engine is light and compact. This has also created a large hollow space in the engine compartment.
This unit is the sole winner of the ‘International Engine of the Year (under 1.0-litre)' award ever since its introduction in 2012. In global markets, the engine gets cylinder-deactivation too.
We wouldn't say that the engine is a performance powerhouse. But it has a good balance of fun and everyday-usability. Go hard on the accelerator and the revs climb smoothly with a slight turbo lag; one wouldn't mind much.
The electronic power steering is lively and weighs up well at high speeds. But we don't have an answer if your friend who is a hardcore Ford fan, compares it with the brand's old hydraulic unit.
The 6-speed transmission has got noticeably short ratios* in the first four positions. This makes the crossover a breeze to drive in the city and on the twisty backroads. The 5th and 6th gear are overdrive** units, best-suited for highways. In most cases, the EcoSport S is good with just five gears.
*A short ratio gear gives a lower speed range but higher torque. In contrary, a long ratio (tall) gearbox gives a wider speed range but at the cost of lower torque.
**It is a type of gearing which multiplies the transmission output speed such that, the vehicle moves at a higher speed at a lower engine rpm. This is usually done either by having a gear ratio less than 1:1 or using a planetary gear system.
Upon kickdown at mid-range rpms, the short ratio gears and the turbo spooling seem to lack sync. This means that when the turbo spools, the revs climb quickly but the short gear ratios limit it from increasing the vehicle speed.
An expert driver can counter this if he/she knows the perfect shifting points for each gear.
If you get a chance to put the car in 6th, you will notice the power band taking the car way past 100km/h gradually but without much hassle. However, the EcoSport S is clearly not aimed for the highway, but for spirited driving on the outer roads.
The gear shift travel or throw is on the higher side if you compare it with that of a hatchback but lower than that of a typical SUV.
The EcoSport S is also available with the existing 1.5-litre diesel unit that makes 99bhp and 205Nm of torque. It comes mated to a 5-speed manual.
While the wheels have succeeded in giving the crossover the looks, it gave a hard blow to the ride quality. The suspension is well-tuned to take on most terrains. But bad road conditions communicate a lot through the steering due to the low tyre wall. On the bright side, the car rides firmly on the straights.
The first-gen EcoSport's major downside was its body roll. The new EcoSport S does have some roll, but in an amount which you wouldn't be concerned much. You will notice it only if you swerve hard.
The compact body and the turning radius of 5.30 metres have given the EcoSport S, good manoeuvrability too.
The clutch is adequately light on the foot but is placed a bit close to the dead pedal. You will find your left foot scrubbing on the dead pedal during most clutch operations.
Also, the pedals look really good in the silver flavour.
In short, the Ford EcoSport S has an adaptable performance. It's a nimble car for the city and the narrow remote roads without compromising heavily on highway performance.
Do note that all the above observations can change with varied driving styles.
Technical Specifications, Mileage & Dimensions
The Ford EcoSport S does offer good performance figures for a 1.0-litre engine (thanks to the turbo). Mileage figures are also decent considering the car's output.
Engine Specifications & Mileage
|Engine||1.0-litre EcoBoost||1.5-litre TDCi|
|Power (bhp)||123 @ 6000rpm||99 @ 3750rpm|
|Torque (Nm)||170 @ 1500-4500rpm||205 @ 1750-3250rpm|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||1670||1690|
Safety & Assist Features
The EcoSport S comes loaded with Ford's Emergency Assist. The system connects our phone to the Ford SYNC 3 unit via Bluetooth. If an unlikely event such as an accident occurs, the system automatically contacts emergency services. You can know how it functions – here.
Here are the other notable safety features in a nutshell:
- ABS + EBD + BA
- Six airbags
- Crash Unlocking Doors (lights flash too)
- Panic brake light flashing
- ISOFIX child seat mounts
- Cruise Control
- Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
- Hill Assist
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Models, Pricing & Colours
The regular Ford EcoSport is available in five variants: Ambiente, Trend, Trend+, Titanium and Titanium+. The ‘S' variant is an exclusive model based on the top-of-the-line Titanium+ trim.
Here are the ex-showroom (Delhi) prices for the S models:
The new Ford EcoSport S is available in seven colour choices: Canyon Ridge (the launch colour), Lightning Blue, Diamond White, Moondust Silver, Race Red, Smoke Grey and Absolute Black.
Competitors & Fact Sheet
The sub-four-metre SUV segment is dominated by three: the Tata Nexon, Maruti Vitara Brezza and of course, the Ford EcoSport. Below is a quick engine output comparison between the three.
|Petrol (Manual)||cc||bhp/Nm||Mileage (km/l)|
|Ford EcoSport S||999||123/170||18.1|
|Diesel (Manual)||cc||bhp/Nm||Mileage (km/l)|
|Ford EcoSport S||1498||99/205||23|
|Maruti Suzuki Brezza||1248||89/200||24.29|
Service Cost & Warranty
Ford has really upped their game when it comes to maintenance cost. The first-service comes only after a one-year interval. The official website of Ford India even has a ‘Service Cost Calculator’ to give an idea of the post-ownership expenses.
The service costs for the EcoSport S stay like this:
Cost/km: Rs 0.39
10,000km or 1 year: Rs 1836
Cost/km: Rs 0.46
10,000km or 1 year: Rs 1574
Note: The service cost changes with the dealership location. The above figures also pertain to a given set of processes or works.
The Ford EcoSport S comes with a 2 year/1,00,000km warranty.
The ‘S' badge has a unique place in Ford India's timeline. Standing for an obvious ‘Sports' tag, Fords with ‘S' have always been special in the minds of enthusiasts. We look back at the Ford Fiesta 1.6 S – one of the best affordable driver's sedan ever to be sold in India. The ‘S' badge brought a lot of difference to that particular car when compared to its regular sibling.
Likewise, there is the current Ford Figo S (Sports Edition) – arguably the best diesel hot-hatch in the country.
The 'S' badge on the EcoSport implies just the same. The new Ford EcoSport S is simply the compact-SUV for the enthusiasts.
The EcoSport S might not be the best driver's car in Ford's stable but it surely is the best driver-focussed sub-four-metre SUV you can buy today. The crossover also ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to features and practicality. Moreover, the S has covered everything the regular Ford EcoSport needed to be.
To sum up, the new Ford EcoSport S is an example of 'Downsizing Done Right'!