Surprise Pack–The Ford Eco-Sport
Earlier this year, at the New Delhi Auto Expo, Ford India showcased their offering for the compact SUV market, “The Ford EcoSport”. Though, based on the Fiesta platform, this car was designed with aggression in mind. Bold streaky lights in the front with a mighty big grill did definitely dominate the crowd’s attention. But, like some radical good looking concept cars, there wasn’t an expectation of the showcased eco-sport shining through sunshine. The fact did get to be stranger than fiction, as this SUV with the same striking styling was spotted testing across the Indian Roads. Expected to be launched by February 2013, and an early launch in Brazil, this car has all it takes to be a game changer, or does it?
The Ford Eco Sport concept coming from the Ford’s Brazilian stable, as a “Made in Brazil and Sold in Latin America” model, saw its second generation being showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo 2012. This new SUV belonging to the Fiesta B platform will be a Mini SUV and will be sold by Ford as a global car, with its manufacturing plant in Chennai, and other parts of the world. Though Radical in design, and sporting many innovative design elements, the petrol engine is what the car is going to be all about.
The petrol variant comes up with an unfamiliar 1lit EcoBoost motor. The size 1lit, seems a far cry for an SUV, and that too from Ford, but this is not like the familiar 1lit that does duty in the Suzuki Alto. With a Max power of 125PS at 6,000 rpm and a Max Torque of 170 Nm at a much lower reave of 1,400rpm together with an on-board turbo booster to push it to 200Nm if needed, this engine directly takes on with 60% larger 1.6 lit petrol engines of today. This little beast claims to do 0-100 in less than 11.5 sec, a 180kmph top speed on the highway, and an overall economy of 20 kms to a litre. Sized to less than a normal A4 Paper sheet , this engine has already bagged many awards including the ‘International Engine of the Year’ award at the Engine Expo in Stuttgart, Germany.
The diesel variant comes up with the much familiar 1.5 litre Duratorq engine which at present does duty in the Figo/Fiesta models.
Considering the Indian market, nearest competitors to the Ford’s EcoSport are, the bigger Renault Duster which is already doing well in the market, the newly launched Mahindra Quanto and not-so-well doing Premier Rio. The Eco-Sport would mostly be aligned towards the younger folks for its stunning vibrant looks, and would dominate the petrol combat SUV segment, if at all there is one. Not forgetting XA Alpha from the Suzuki stable that was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo, the Trax from the Chevy, and the rumours of Hyundai busy scribbling to bring out their combat SUV offering this segment could get red hot in the next 2 years to come.