At Rs 5.8 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it is the cheapest, most basic EcoSport you can buy. But actually you can’t. Ford dealers have put a hold on petrol EcoSport bookings and the queue in some cases stretches to six months. It seems Ford can’t make enough to meet the demand for this version so, if you want one, be prepared to wait.
What’s all the fuss about? Look at the equipment on this car though and you’ll be hesitant to call it a base version – this Ambiente spec has remote locking, power steering, air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and aux-in ports, power mirrors and front power windows and that makes it really good value for money.
As for how it drives, the base Ford EcoSport Petrol
variant works really well as a city car. The 1.5-litre petrol motor (the same as in the Fiesta) has healthy low-rev responses, so you can leave it in the higher gears and potter about all day. The clutch is light, the gearshift is slick and, like most Fords, this EcoSport is fun to drive. In fact, the good ride and fun-handling balance is matched by nothing else in this price range.
This 110bhp engine is known for its rather disappointing mid-range that feels gutless. If you want a quick burst of power, you have to downshift and get the engine spinning hard to get going fast again.
Still, it’s not slow. We didn’t get to test it under ideal test conditions but driven flat-out, our test car hit 100kph in 14.1sec, which is just 1.5sec off the time posted by the 1.0-litre EcoBoost. Where this one lags behind the EcoBoost is in the in-gear runs where the latter’s much stronger, turbo-assisted mid-range makes it much quicker.
On the outside, it is easy to distinguish the Ambiente from the higher variants. It doesn’t get foglamps, the chrome highlights on the grille are missing, the mirrors and door-handles are not body coloured and it’s got full-size plastic wheel caps. Still, with its smart black body cladding and SUV-ish stance, this EcoSport has a nice, unfussy look to it.
It’s the same story on the inside – you won’t call it luxurious with its fabric seats shades of grey, but it’s certainly not cheap. What you will miss is a tachometer and the screen on the centre console that’s been replaced by a cubbyhole.
So what this EcoSport is, is a well-judged product. For its price, it is well equipped and retains the basic EcoSport traits of being a nice-riding, tidy handling pseudo-SUV. Sure, the engine could use a bit more grunt but apart from that, the Ambiente comes across as an honest product that has lots of appeal. Now only if dealers would start taking bookings again.