The original firestarter of the compact SUV segment in India, the Ford Ecosport was a trendsetter of sorts which fueled the craze for hatchback sized, high-clearance vehicles in India. It has been nearly four years since it was first launched in 2013, and since then, a lot of newer competition has been trying to unmount its tailgate-mounted spare wheel. However, with that unique feature intact, the new 2017 Ford Ecosport is ready for war with an updated face, a brand new engine, a fresh looking cabin, and as many as 1,600 changes. Is all that enough to bring back the glory days? Let’s find out.
New 2017 Ford Ecosport Video Review
New 2017 Ford Ecosport Engine and Performance
Powering the refreshed compact SUV is an all-new Dragon series, 1.5-litre, naturally aspirated three-pot motor which is good for 123PS and 150NM. It can be mated to a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic which we sampled. Claimed for an efficiency figure of 17 kmpl, this new petrol engine-automatic combination also makes the new Ecosport to be the only car to offer such an option in the segment.
For this new engine, Ford has employed a balancer shaft supported by hydrodynamic bearings which work to eliminate first-order vibrations typical of a three-cylinder motor. Further, a belt-in oil primary drive system contributes to further reductions in both noise and friction. All that results in a quiet and vibe-free motor at idle, although it does rock the chassis only slightly when you crank it up and shut it down. Progress from standstill is smooth, although the 6-speed torque converter does take time to upshift when on its own, even in ‘D’ mode. Shifts are smooth though and a welcome change from AMTs which look more than eager to attack cars of this price bracket.
For a motor which makes 123 PS on paper, we were slightly underwhelmed by the performance, which is also for the fact that we could not try the manual variant. The story could be completely different with a clutch and a stick but we’ll reserve our opinion on that for another day. With the automatic setup, power is delivered in a progressive manner and it’s only once you cross the 2,800 – 3,000 rpm mark, when the 3-cylinder thrum become fairly audible. There’s an ‘S’ mode which holds on to a gear until the 6.5 k redline and allows you to have some fun through the paddles. But even when we were clicking it ourselves, shifts weren’t immediate and it took more than a single click sometimes for the next ratio to come through.
In any case, this engine + auto gearbox combination isn’t meant for the giggles and those grins. It focuses on offering the convenience of an automatic which is refined, and at that, it meets all expectations. At part throttle, as long as you’re not in a rush, the engine is pretty muted and the auto box does its job rather well.
Coming to the 1.5-litre diesel, Ford has followed the good old “If ain’t broke don’t fix it” phrase. The motor is still the most refined in its class and throws its power at the front wheels in a very linear and progressive manner. The only aspect where we could nitpick was that the gear lever felt a little notchy through gates. The ‘slick-shifting’ champ title is still held by the Honda WR-V when it comes to that.
New 2017 Ford Ecosport Ride & Handling
Whichever engine or gearbox option you pick if you plonk your money down on the new Ecosport, one thing’s for sure. There’s quite a lot of fun to be had behind the wheel. This is right down to the fact that the brilliant chassis-suspension combination is paired to a lovely steering rack which makes the 2017 Ford Ecosport undoubtedly the most fun-to-drive car in its segment.
This Ford now rides on 17″ wheels wrapped in 205 section rubber and although the sidewall is quite thin, the ride quality is softer than the earlier car. With three passengers inside, the new Ecosport tackled broken surfaces quite well and with very little suspension noise. They’ve managed to find a great balance between a comfortable ride and solid dynamic ability, where even around bends, the Ecosport held its line positively and with minimal body roll for the kind of vehicle it is. When you are in the mood, switching the traction control off sends a playful message to the chassis, where the all-locked down behaviour allows room for the rear to shift in line with what the front wants.
New 2017 Ford Ecosport Interior and Features
The updates on the inside had to be exhaustive to help bring the Ecosport up to speed with current trends. So you now see a new simple but handsome looking instrument cluster with a digital MID screen. The steering wheel is brand new, feels great to hold and gets nicely damped controls on it and behind it.
The talking point is the upright infotainment screen which operates with silky smoothness, looks crisp, is Android Auto and CarPlay compatible, has well-damped switches and dials too, and because of the way it has been positioned, never gets washed out in sunlight. A new AC control panel and vents sit just below along with illuminated USB slots and a one-touch traction control switch.
There’s space for a device just beneath the charging points, a 12V socket next to the gear lever, and two cup holders with a couple of cubby holes near the handbrake lever. What didn’t really impress was the overall quality of plastics. Things could’ve taken the soft-touch route. Audio quality is good, but in comparison to how things sound via the Harman sourced system inside the Nexon, the Ecosport plays catch up.
At the back, there’s no dedicated AC vent but the main blower is good enough for folks at the back to chill. Rear passengers have adequate space overall to be comfortable, where the seats offer a good amount of support and get softer cushioning in comparison to the older car.
At 350-litres, boot space is just about adequate. However, the boot floor is a cover which is built tough and can shift its position to make the overall space run a little deeper or create a gap between itself and the actual cover which hides the toolkit and everything else. There, you may store valuables like a Laptop or something else.
New 2017 Ford Ecosport Design and Styling
Since it’s just the fascia which has been updated, the rest of the car and its design remains the same. The split grille on the outgoing car has been replaced with a single frame unit and those headlamps have been infused with projectors and LED DRLs. Fog lamps have grown bigger, and overall, the design is still dense and still very today. With its new 17 inch wheels and a few other changes here and there, the Ecosport is still a handsome looking machine.
New 2017 Ford Ecosport: A few details through images…
The instrument console has been totally revamped – it’s smart,easy to read and has tons of information
No more fights in the front seat for power
Control your Cruise
One of the best steering setups we’ve experienced on a modern family car
No twist just push
Rear passengers get cup holders too
There’s a 12V socket below the front console, there’s another where the rear seat’s bench ends towards the right
Europe in the lights
Two-stage glovebox, not too cavernous
“Use Me”- those paddle shifter are sure a great feature for the segment
Storage under driver-side armrest runs pretty deep
In the Belly
Ac is pretty quiet even when you set the fan to level ‘3’
No Sharks here
The second car in the segment to come fitted with Bridgestone Ecopia rubber
Front door bottle holders have a cavity to store a pocket umbrella
New 2017 Ford Ecosport Buying Advice
The new 2017 Ford Ecosport has quite a few tricks up its sleeve which should help the car to regain its top spot. It is the only vehicle to offer an automatic option within the segment and is the only car to offer a petrol engine other than the WR-V and the Nexon. With the addition of modern kit on the inside, it is also now right up there with the competition in terms of features.
When it comes to the being behind the wheel, it is hands down the best car to drive in its segment. Even for the passengers, it offers a very refined and comfortable experience where effects of actual momentum are dialled down inside the cabin. The Ecosport is one of the rare cars in which you feel you are going slower than you are until you glance at the speedometer.
The diesel-powered Ecosport was always a star performer, still is, and Ford even promises an easy on your pockets after sales experience. They say the maintenance cost per/km for the Ecosport is the least when compared to all of its competitors. So if you ask us, we tried, but there was hardly anything to find faults with, and in our books, the new 2017 Ford Ecosport is a great all-rounder, and still a great car to buy.
New 2017 Ford Ecosport Price
The prices for the new 2017 Ford Ecosport are yet to be announced for India, and we will update this review with the same as soon as they are disclosed.