Ford EcoSport Thunder Edition Review
Car Tested: Ford EcoSport Thunder Edition; Road Test No. 1110; Test Location: Shillong
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 12.09 - 12.89 lakhs
The Thunder Edition brings cosmetic changes and new features to the best performing compact SUV in the market
Sub-4-meter compact SUVs have become all the rage now. With a fast-growing number of consumers looking at an affordable SUV as their next purchase, every mainstream auto brand in India has a compact SUV in its line-up. The market has grown so big, that it is a bit difficult to recollect which car started it all. The Ford EcoSport was amongst the pioneers of this segment. Its small footprint, intriguing design, award-winning engines, good build quality and premium features made it an instant favourite when it was launched in India in 2013. To keep things relevant, Ford heavily updated the EcoSport in 2017 and now they have given it a new variant called ‘Thunder'. It gives more style and features to the already good-looking and well equipped EcoSport. Can that added dose of youthfulness make Thunder the variant to buy, we find out?
Exteriors - The EcoSport has a chic and individual design that has stood the test of time. The updates have ensured the design stays relevant and the unique silhouette has remained the same. The Thunder version adds a few enhancements to jazz up the EcoSport's styling. The new additions include dark treatment on the headlamp clusters and blackened area around the fog lamp cluster. The black theme is prominent throughout the car. The wheels, wing mirrors, side skirts, roof and window surrounds are all black. There is also dual-tone bonnet. The dark grille gives the fascia an aggressive look. The rest of the design is unchanged. The EcoSport is a chic looking SUV that does not feel dated even after all these years. We particularly like the big, dominating grille and the hatch-mounted spare tyre.
Interiors - The interior in the Thunder version is dual-tone with Cognac (brown) inserts on the seats and door pads. It is different from your usual black or beige and feels refreshing. There is no change to the cabin otherwise. The 9.0-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system is ergonomically placed. The interior feels premium, more so with the new theme. Ford has also loaded a sunroof and a reverse parking camera in the EcoSport Thunder.
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 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.
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.
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.
Safety - The EcoSport gets the usual safety features like ABS with EBD, ESP, and dual airbags. You also get a handy tyre-pressure monitoring system so you can be sure that there is ideal pressure in your tyres. Add to that, a sturdy build quality, we think the EcoSport is a safe bet. Ford has also reduced service costs significantly over the years.
Verdict - Pioneering a segment is not easy. But what is more difficult is staying in the game years after entering it and around so many other players. The Ford EcoSport has mastered that trick. Despite being nearly 7 years since we first saw it, the EcoSport seems to be just going strong. The Thunder version adds a bit of bling to the EcoSport package and remains worthy of consideration should you want more style. But Thunder or not, another drive in the EcoSport has reinforced our belief that this Ford is one of the best compact SUVs in India.
Further Reading -
Ford EcoSport Thunder
Ford EcoSport Thunder Review
The Ford EcoSport Thunder comes with exterior and interior enhancements over the regular version of the compact SUV. The EcoSport Thunder is offered with both petrol and diesel engines and its sporty tweaks enhance the driver-friendly nature of the vehicle.