Ford’s surprise element for the Auto Expo 2012; The Ecosport

Ford, the American car-manufacturing giant, may have suffered a setback when their ALL-NEW FIESTA failed to take off as strongly as they might have forecasted; however the conglomerate has still got a few trump cards with them, one such being the yet to be unraveled EcoSport. Internally named B515, the EcoSport will be unwrapped in the Auto Expo 2012, followed by its launch in Brazil in early 2012.

The present EcoSport has found huge popularity in Brazil, and with India offering very similar market dynamics, Ford hopes that it will recreate the success in this country as well.

The Ford EcoSport has been built on Ford’s award-winning global compact car platform (B2E) and developed in association with Mazda, whose core competence of weight saving and torsional rigidity have been put to use. Ford wishes to capitalize on this hugely successful platform and hence use the same to develop a wide range of body styles. Apart from the saloon, a hatchback version of the Fiesta for Indian markets, the EcoSport as well as a mini-MPV to be called the B-MAX, are expected soon.

Ford Ecosport in India

Internally, though the EcoSport shares a lot with the Fiesta saloon, but the exteriors are so different that it would be hard to find out any similarities between the two models. Though the EcoSport, as per illustrations, could pass off as a soft-roader, the fact is that it is a sub-four-meter car with hatchback dimensions, with a tail-gate mounted spare wheel that stick out past the four-meter mark. Ford has taken full advantage of the regulation, which states that small-cars do not count the spare tyre within the length of the car.

The Ford EcoSport is an SUV to the core with its upright stance, generous ground clearance and a high bonnet, but at the same time, it comes with a fresh, bold design and is well proportionate too. An attractive inverse ‘V’ in the nose and a tipped forward stance gives it the look of someone, who is always ready for action. The view from the back is striking as well, with pillar less windscreen and sharply cut tail lights. The wheels would be as large as 16 to 17 inches for EcoSport in India.

The Fiesta DNA incorporated inside will ensure that the EcoSport would ride and handle unlike an SUV, at the same time, the high ground clearance, would make it ideal for Indian roads. It would not be much roomier than the Fiesta as passengers are made to sit at a greater height of the floor.

The Ford EcoSport would use the new 90bhp, 1.5 litre DV5 diesel, at the same time power would be slightly increased to make this slightly heavier vehicle perform better. The power hike would not be significant as the IB5 gearbox, carried over from the Fiesta, is not rated to handle much torque, and this could be a limiting factor. Also, it will be a front wheel drive car with no 4 x 4 option.

Ford Ecosport in India

A petrol version of the vehicle is not foreseen as a 1.2 litre petrol motor, as per regulations, would be underpowered and a 1500 to 1600 cc engine, would incur higher excise duty, consequently higher costs and lesser efficiency.

The EcoSport has the right combinations to make it a winner: charm of an SUV, practicality using Diesel, unique styling and a price tag in the range of Rs 7-9 lakh. At such a pricing, it will serve as a genuine alternative to midsize cars or even a hatchback.

The EcoSport would also have the first-mover advantage as its features place it in a completely virgin market, so Ford might have a winner in their hands, and this could be the car to watch out for in the year 2012.

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