First Drive

Ford EcoSport review, test drive and video

It’s got the right profile, the right size, the right attitude and the right credentials; but does the EcoSport have the right stuff?

DETAILS
20
photos

We’re very late. The sun has already come up, our Brazilian journalist colleagues are running late, and then once away, we land slap-bang in the middle of Sao Paulo’s mid-morning stampede. They said it would be bad, but this is ridiculous. The gridlock on the Ayrton Senna freeway is so intense, so tight and so unending, it makes rush hour in Bangalore feel like a breeze. An hour and a half later, still on the elevated freeway, still on the way out of the city and still in the jam, I’m casually informed that our destination is around 130km away! 

Then, finally, salvation. A couple of speed breakers, a toll plaza, and beyond it open roads. It’s a sight for sore eyes alright – perfectly paved elevated road, perfectly marked wide lanes, long sweeping corners and gently banked sections, all rolled nicely into the mix. Time to loosen the reins on the 1.6-litre motor and see what the EcoSport is really like. First impressions are quite good. There’s enough torque in the mid-range to get the relatively light 1243kg EcoSport moving quite effortlessly, the speedo needle climbs past 110kph easily and speed continues to build as 
I keep my foot down, the motor pulling hard quite happily. The road ahead is empty, so soon the speedo is up to 140 and climbing. 
 
Then, out of the blue, an 18-wheeler decides to change lanes on a whim. I feel right at home; must be an Indian trucker. I get sharply on the brakes in a straight line, bleed a lot of speed and steer smoothly into the next lane. The Ford executes the change of track without a hiccup. Yes, I know this car’s based on the Fiesta and that automatically means good driving manners, but this is something else. The rest of the expressway is traversed without incident, the Ford holding on to high speeds as easily as a low-slung saloon. Wind noise is well contained, the roar from the tyres is pretty subdued, despite the big lugs in the rubber, and the kilometres just fly. Soon we are at our exit. Time for some smaller roads and some corners. 
 
 

As luck would have it, the road is a dream. Strung between sections of low-lying hillocks, it dips and rises, has both tight sections and free-flowing corners, and seems just perfect. I start slow; this is an SUV after all and there will be some amount of body roll. Ten minutes into said road, however, I’m left scratching my head. Sure I’m going easy, but the EcoSport just doesn’t roll like something with its belly floating 200mm above the tarmac should. As on the Fiesta, the steering is both light and feelsome, I love the fact that there is zero slack and this, together with the good body control and beautifully weighted brakes, makes this car an absolute joy to drive, even at a slightly relaxed pace. The light but very accurate gearbox is super slick, it’s a pleasure to use and the best bit is that it doesn’t mind being hurried too much either. 
 
Inevitably the pace increases. I use more of the 115bhp on offer and carry more speed into corners. But even though I’m pushing the EcoSport much harder, there’s still no loss of composure, not much body roll and not too much dive from the suspension. And the message from the steering wheel is clear: ‘there’s plenty more grip, please push on’. And I do. The front tyres are now scrambling for grip on the way into corners, the EcoSport skating mildly over the road. And though there’s a bit of roll and yaw on the way out, the steering keeps chattering, giving me confidence all the time. It just feels special.
 
Eventually we get to a place where we can shoot. Time to stop, pull out the cameras and admire the car; give that just-rolled-out-of-the-motor-show look a once-over. And is there any doubt that, in the flesh, out in the  real world, Ford’s EcoSport looks just insane? We’re used to seeing outlandish and futuristic designs under the arc lights at car shows, and in that setting they don’t stand out as much. But seeing the EcoSport on the road, barely altered from the concept car revealed at the Auto Expo less than a year ago, comes as something of a shock. 
 

 

Fact File

Engine

Installation Front, transverse
Type 4-cyls 1596cc petrol
Power 113bhp at 6000rpm
Torque 15.9kgm at 4250rpm

Transmission

Gearbox 5-speed manual

Dimensions

Length 4250mm
Width 2060mm
Height 1670mm
Wheel base 2520mm
Boot volume 362 litres
Ground clearance 1243kg

Chassis & Body

Tyres 205/60R16

Steering

Type of power assist Electric

Performance

0-100 11.9 sec*

Economy

Tank size 52 litres

notSet

Chevrolet is bringing its massive Trailblazer SUV to India and we’ve driven it this month. We’ve also got detailed previews of the new Innova and Fortuner and Tata’s new Hexa concept, and that’s only the start. Read on!
What's in this issue?

Most Read
Find a car review

Latest Car Reviews

New Audi Q7 review, test drive

New Audi Q7 review, test drive

6 days ago
Sleeker, lighter and a better performer, Audi’s new capable Q7 seems a...
Tata Zest long term review first report

Tata Zest long term review first report

6 days ago
Tata’s new sedan finds a spot in our fleet. And it’s off to a...
Volvo XC60, S60 Drive-E review, test drive

Volvo XC60, S60 Drive-E review, test drive

Apr 4, 2015
The XC60 and S60 now come with Volvo’s latest-gen diesel engine and...
2014 Audi R8 V10 plus review, test drive

2014 Audi R8 V10 plus review, test drive

Apr 4, 2015
The range-topper of the current Audi R8 models delivers huge performance,...
Mercedes-Benz E 400 Cabriolet review, test drive

Mercedes-Benz E 400 Cabriolet review, test drive

Apr 2, 2015
There's a lot more to the Mercedes E 400 Cabriolet than just its folding roof.
Latest News
Mercedes-Benz SLC to make its debut
The SLC could include a 328bhp 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, and...
7 hours ago   1 picture
Fiat 500 '1957 Edition' gets a soft top
This is the soft top version of the Fiat 500 1957 Edition coupe that was...
14 hours ago   2 pictures
F1: Hamilton denies Vettel in Bahrain qualifying
Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance of Formula 1 qualifying in 2015 by...
17 hours ago   1 picture
Lamborghini relaunches restoration centre
‘Lamborghini Polo Storico’ will provide authentic spare parts...
18 hours ago   1 picture
Volkswagen Scirocco GTS revealed
The Scirocco GTS gets visual upgrades inside and out; engine same as...
1 day 7 hours ago   5 pictures

Autocar Magazine

Issue: 188 | Autocar India – April 2015

Chevrolet is bringing its massive Trailblazer SUV to India and we’ve driven it this month. We’ve also got detailed previews of the new Innova and Fortuner and Tata’s new Hexa...
Autocar Magazine