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Driving Dynamics – The Ford EcoSport is a front-wheel drive vehicle and Ford might offer the car with 4-wheel drive in some markets, India is not one of them. There are absolutely no plans to bring in a 4-wheel drive EcoSport in India. The suspension system uses hydraulic shocks instead of mechanical ones along with hydraulic damping to prevent harshness. This results in a ride quality which is mostly excellent but tends to get a bit harsh over really bad roads. Ride comfort at the rear is very good too and there is no signs of being uncomfortable even at high speeds. The Ford EcoSport stays firmly glued to the road at all speeds and chassis balance is mind blowing.
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Ford says they have specially developed the tyres for the EcoSport (MRF ZV2K and Goodyear Assurance) and they have low rolling resistance to boost economy and lower road noise. While Ford have achieved both those objects, they have quite ruined the car’s fantastic dynamics. The tyres dont grip enough and tend to screech often on heavy braking or sharp cornering. Enthusiasts must switch to better quality tyres to truly exploit the dynamic capability of the EcoSport. Handling is sharp and turn-ins are quick, with the EcoSport showing almost no body roll at all. The electric steering offers 3% better efficiency and is extremely light at low speeds but weighs up decently at high speeds. We still found the steering slightly light at speed and it could have weighed up better, specially at centre position. There is pull drift compensation which corrects the steering wheel during cross winds or uneven roads but again the feedback is not as smashing as the Fiesta.
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Braking performance is excellent and there is very good pedal bite. However the tyres tend to screech on heavy braking and the nose tends to dive too. This is quite surprising since we were driving the EcoBoost engined car, which is by far the lightest of the EcoSports (the diesel engined model will be even more front heavy). There is emergency brake assist which increases brake pressure when you stand on the pedal (also activates hazard lights). The automatic variant of the EcoSport gets hill launch assist (holds the car for 3 seconds on an incline before disengaging the brakes). It also gets ESP.
Cost of Ownership – We don’t have spare part pricing for the EcoSport yet but the above chart shows prices for the new Fiesta (the EcoSport is higher on localisation so parts should be even cheaper). Ford has been increasing its attention to ownership and wants to delight customers with quick and affordable service. The EcoSport benefits from child parts strategy, where the focus is on repairing rather than replacing. There are child parts for door (instead of replacing the complete door, the company will replace the skin), alternator, starter motor, AC compressor, drive shaft, suspension, transmission, seat, bumper (3-piece unit), fuel filter and headlamps. This also helps in reducing insurance costs. The company says they have used durable components and offers the EcoSport with 2-years or 1-lakh kms standard warranty (can be extended by another 2-years or 1-lakh kms). Ford has 260 service centres in India and plans to increase it to 500 by the end of the decade. It also plans to open more Quick Lane outlets.
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The Ford EcoSport is stress free to drive and easy to manoeuvre, while at the same time has a very capable chassis to please the driver. Now it only needs a better set of rubber if you truly want to get close to the Fiesta driving experience.
Head over to the next page to read our verdict on the Ford EcoSport.