It has easily been the most anticipated new launch of 2013, and after an unduly long 18-month gestation period the India-spec Ford EcoSport is finally here. One reason for the delay is that Ford has been pursuing a very aggressive localisation programme for the car, and as a result of this, the ‘Indian’ EcoSport we’re driving today is almost 70 percent locally made. So has it been worth the long wait?
We, and indeed the world, got our first glimpse of the car in concept form at the 2012 Auto Expo in January last year, and as we’ve seen from countless pictures since, the production car has stayed almost 100 percent true to the concept. In the metal, however, what is immediately apparent is the mini-SUV’s actual size on the road. It’s less than four metres long, and if not for its 200mm of ground clearance, it wouldn’t be much taller than most premium hatchbacks either. The clearance also allows the EcoSport to wade through 550mm of water, which should be useful during the monsoons. But Ford has done well with the detailing to give it the appearance of a ‘proper’ SUV. For starters, there’s the almost mandatory tailgate-mounted spare wheel, which also frees up boot space (of which there is still precious little; just 346 litres). There is rugged-looking black cladding on the bottom of the bumpers and beneath the doors, roof rails at the top of the car, and very prominent wheel arches. The the chunky flanks seem to dwarf the 16-inch wheels, and 17-inchers would have been more in keeping with the EcoSport’s aggressive stance. According to Ford insiders, larger wheels will be offered as an option at a later stage. At the rear, the wraparound windscreen adds to the tightly skinned look, and the angular tail-lamps look handsome too.
The most prominent detail, however, is the massive grille, which dominates the front fascia and gives it the bluff face of an off-roader. An impressive stat is the car’s drag coefficient, which at 0.371, is not too bad for an SUV profile. While some might find the overall look a bit too aggressive and slightly overdone, remember, a similar styling concept worked wonders for the Mahindra XUV500. And we have no doubt that it will work well for the EcoSport too.
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Chassis & Body
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Issue: 180 | August 2014
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