The Ford Figo S was replaced by the EcoSport in the evo India fleet and the former being one of our favourites, the EcoSport had big shoes to fill. However, the last two months have been great in the company of this compact SUV. It might not have been as much fun as the Figo S or even as frugal, but it has performed multiple roles with panache.
I prefer commuting on a two-wheeler as it saves me a lot of time (money too!) but with the non-stop rain since June, there couldn’t have been a better time to switch to a car. And what better than a compact SUV that excels at everything, be it soft-roading, weekend trips or urban commutes. Driving to the gym in an SUV adds a lot of brownie points to your macho appeal and the EcoSport delivers. Mind you, it’s a Ford, which means, Thrill of Driving is guaranteed as well! What’s not to like?
Well, there are a few bits but the biggest issue is the engine. Our EcoSport came with a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine and unlike its diesel or turbo-petrol brethren, it lacks low-end grunt. To extract the maximum performance, you have to keep it on the boil and that hampers the fuel efficiency. In fact, the best figure I ever achieved was 13kmpl on the Pune-Mumbai expressway, where even my Linea T-Jet delivers 16-17kmpl. Not cool. I had driven the EcoSport S with the 1-litre EcoBoost engine at the media drive and it fared a lot better than its naturally aspirated sibling, both, in terms of power delivery and fuel efficiency. Next is the tail gate, which opens like a refrigerator door. And it’s heavy too; you may even need to use both your biceps to open it. I also have to take into consideration the space behind the hatch so that I can throw my gym kit in the boot. Compact SUVs have really come of age and when you compare this to a Nexon, it feels one size smaller on the inside. Four adults can sit comfortably but the fifth is a strict no-no. Legroom too is an issue at rear but what matters most to an enthusiast is ride and handling and this is where the EcoSport worked wonderfully.
We were on the road for more than 15 days during the Kwid 29 States 29 Days drive and after spending a fortnight in the tiny hatch, the EcoSport felt like a sportscar to me! I love sporty cars and the EcoSport is actually one of the best driver’s cars in its segment, no second thoughts about that. The ride is inherently firm and that makes it fun to drive around our favourite road – Lavasa. Body roll obviously exists but is minimal and significantly less for a compact SUV. Even the ergonomics are excellent; the steering wheel is perfectly sized too. Everything is within easy reach and there’s no dearth of cubbyholes either. The fast charging ports found on the centre console are a boon and they take half the time for a full charge than the regular 1.5V charger found in your home. I have previously mentioned that the touchscreen is EcoSport’s USP and I’ll say it again; it’s one of the best units that you’ll find in a sub-25 lakh car today.
The Ford EcoSport hasn’t been the most perfect long-termer I could’ve asked for but its fun-to-drive factor overpowers its shortcomings. Had Ford handed us the diesel variant’s keys, maybe the case would’ve been different. The EcoSport will soon leave our stable and I’m already feeling the pangs. Now I know why my friends who’ve owned the EcoSport are more than willing to upgrade to the S variant. The Ford EcoSport is definitely one of the best compact SUVs out there and deserves to be sold in higher numbers.
Date acquired: April 2018
Total mileage: 7470km
Mileage this month: 402km
Costs this month: Rs 0
Overall kmpl: 10