Ford recently launched the 2016 Ecosport with a handful of cosmetic upgrades, however, its oil burner sibling has received a heart transplant of sorts. We took out the compact crossover on an evening decipher the changes on the updated model. Here’s our review…
Even before it was launched in 2013, the floating imagery over the cyber space had created an imminent excitement for the Ecosport. The pictures told only half the story about the real world proportions of this compact SUV, though, and it was easy to perceive it as a larger vehicle than it actually was. Thankfully, Ford has done little to fiddle around with the fantastic design and all they have changed is sprinkle minor updates around.
In keeping with the current rage of “DRLs”, a.k.a daytime running lights, Ford has endowed the 2016 version with these. However, they are not the subtly lit LEDs incorporated in the headlamps but those in the fog lamps.
We would have loved some more intensity on the Signature Light Guide LEDs underlining the headlamps as well, which are hardly visible unless night falls upon the horizon.
A new “Golden Bronze” colour has been introduced to the existing list of colours to choose from, and as you can tell from the images, it does suit the Ecosport well.
Compared to the previous version, the 2016 model features reversing lamp on the left side alone as opposed the ones found on either side of the rear bumper. The tiny electric swing gate release button has been relocated under the grab handle making it discrete and more user friendly.
The Ecosport carries over the existing trim without many changes. Ditching the European layout of turn indicator stalks on the left of the steering, Ford India has thoughtfully moved them on the right of the steering wheel now. Not only was it inconvenient to get used to, but also carried a simple safety reason – that the right hand can still operate the indicator stalks/switch beams while the left hand is operating the gears!
Another change we noticed was of the shifted position of the cup holders and parking brake lever. Now the cup holders are more easily accessible to the passengers while the parking brake lever is moved closer to the driver`s side as found on the Figo Aspire.
The new Ecosport also gets Electrochromic technology-laden Auto-Dimming interior rearview mirror, Automatic headlamps and Rain sensing wipers.
Engine and performance
The Ecosport is the latest recipient of the updated 1.5-litre oil burner that we have previously seen in the Figo siblings. On paper, the new mill produces 100PS@3750rpm and 205Nm@1750-3250rpm. This engine has been somewhat tuned for the Ecosport. The fact is evident as the same engine produces 215Nm@1750-3000rpm on the Figo / Aspire duo.
The 1.5-litre oil burner from Ford has always impressed us with its driveability and this current mill in its latest guise is no different. The punchy turbo kick has been masked thanks to the tweaked ECU and the power delivery is more linear now. While we say that, the turbo seems to spool briskly closer to 2000rpm.
The new Ecosport manages 0-100kmph dash in less than 13 seconds against the older version which managed it in about 13.5 seconds. The in-gear acceleration is also an area where the new model clearly outguns the older version. The linear power delivery coupled with well spaced out gearing makes it a fantastic highway mile muncher.
To put things in perspective, the new Ecosport will do 100kmph in 5th gear at a lowly 2100 rpm and 120kmph around 2500rpm. The in-gear acceleration figures tell the real story, e.g. 60-120kmph in 5th gear is dispatched whole 2.5 seconds quicker than the older car in a shade over 20 seconds! The superior driveability shines through the 20-80kmph in 3rd roll-on figures of 11.9 seconds (new) versus 13.6 seconds (old)
The only downside is the need to shift down to the 1st cog while traversing over speed breakers, especially if you are driving around with 4 people aboard. The clutch requires minimal effort and doesn`t tax your left limb, not that you have to use it too much anyways, thanks to the tractability the new Ecosport offers. The gearbox remains a joy to use and Ford should get full credits for the light yet communicative electronic power assist steering with Pull-Drift Compensation technology employed on the car.
Far from a facelift, the new Ecosport is definitely a good update and makes the driving experience even better than before.
Price as tested for 2016 Ford EcoSport 1.5L TDCi Diesel
- 2016 Ford EcoSport Ambiente – INR 798,144
- 2016 Ford EcoSport Trend – INR 870,244
- 2016 Ford EcoSport Trend+ – INR 918,244
- 2016 Ford EcoSport Titanium – INR 985,844
- 2016 Ford EcoSport Titanium+ – INR 1,044,344
Note: All prices are ex-Showroom, New Delhi.