Both engines are refined and have punchy performance

Performance – The Ford EcoSport Thunder is offered with 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines, the former is the most powerful naturally aspirated motor in the segment, second only to its EcoBoost sibling which isn’t available in the Thunder trim. The Dragon mill is quite refined for a 3-cylinder powerplant and offers a good amount of punch for both city and highway driving. Our test car was the diesel which produces 100 PS and 205 Nm, being quite refined and punchy for all types of driving scenarios.

The gearbox offers smooth shifts and the clutch is light

The diesel engine is quite frugal, smooth and has strong mid-range performance

Low-end lag is well contained and the oil burner has a definite mid-range punch which is exciting while the top-end is decent too for a diesel motor, albeit the progress is slow but it redlines all the way to 5000 RPM, getting vocal past the mid-range and being quite refined at lower engine speeds. The clutch is light and the gearbox offers smooth shifts while fuel economy is good at 14-16 km/l.

The EcoSport has always had good ride and handling dynamics

Driving Dynamics – The Ford EcoSport Thunder runs on 17-inch wheels and that gives it good handling, body roll is well contained, the steering is communicative and this compact SUV is easily the most fun car to drive in the segment and we had a whole lot of fun through the in-numerous curves on the Shillong-Guwahati highway. It started to rain and with the traction control turned off, there was no wheel slip, such is the level of grip on offer.

The ride quality is decent and the brakes are fantastic

EcoSport feels fun to drive thanks to the feedback-rich steering and grippy tyres

However, being low profile rubber, we had our doubts on the bad roads leading up to the Laitlum canyons but we were in for a pleasant surprise. The car did manage to ride quite well on the bad roads and although real bad bumps caught it out, it ironed out a lot of the bad surfaces and isolated the cabin from the rough road. No matter how fast we went over the broken patches, the EcoSport didn’t rattle and remained composed. The car feels stable at high speeds and the brakes are strong, offering predictable stopping power.