Ecosport will hit spot in India
In a compliment to the Indian car market and its own manufacturing base there, Ford chose the New Delhi Motor Show as the debut venue for its first mini-crossover. Dave Moore takes a look.
Showcar it may have been but the so-called Ford Ecosport displayed at the New Delhi 2012 Auto Expo looked just about production-ready. It’s expected that when the five-door Fiesta-based crossover reaches production, big numbers will come from Ford’s Indian operation.
The Ecosport employs several of the design cues shown on the Ford Evos concept that started tongues wagging at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. It has a deep, wide trapezoid-shaped grille – not unlike the Ford Territory’s – a six-window side profile and a spare wheel shroud on its tailgate.
Derived from the B-segment Fiesta model, the new Ford will be one of the smaller SUVS available. But Ford’s design chief, J Mays says: ‘‘Ecosport has a tough, robust attitude that says ‘I can play with the big boys’. It also makes you want to play. That’s why it’s so appealing. Ecosport is perfect for crowded urban streets and inspires you to seek adventure away from the city too.’’
This of course will go down well with the burgeoning Indian middle class, which will be only too aware of the sub-continent’s crowded roading network, so life’s little automotive luxuries are advised to be just that: little.
The Ecosport’s silhouette has a long, shallow screen rake, a wraparound rear window that covers a pair of vestigial D-pillars that sit behind the design’s conventional, painted C-pillars.
Ford has not revealed the interior yet – it did the same with the Territory some years ago, to maintain interest in the project as it comes closer to production fruition. However, Mays says that it would be as expressive and wellcrafted as the exterior and would be an important part of the ‘‘inviting spirit’’ of the new car.
The staple engine for the new car will be Ford’s Ecoboost threecylinder power unit, a 1.0-litre turbocharged direct injected unit with a power output of 90kw and a CO2 rating of 140 g/km of CO2 which, Ford says, is on par with conventional 1.6-litre power units in terms of performance.
Joe Bakaj, Ford’s global powertrain vice president says: ‘‘The 1.0-litre Ecoboost delivers great low-speed responsiveness, power, torque and smoothness. To produce an engine with such impressive performance and fuel economy clearly reflects our commitment to be class-leading in fuel economy.’’
The power unit was developed at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Britain and has twin variably-timed camshafts and a compact turbocharger that can spin at almost 250,000rpm. Its developers say turbo lag is almost indiscernible and helps deliver a peak torque of 170Nm all the way from 1300 to 4500rpm – no mean feat for one so small.
The engine uses a cast iron engine block which Ford says reduces the energy needed during warm-up by half. The unit also has a split cooling system which also helps the warming up process, with benefits in terms of reducing fuel consumption.
As well as the Fiesta and Ecosport, it is expected that budget versions of the C-segment will use the 1.0-litre Ecoboost power unit as a replacement for previous naturally-aspirated 1.4 to 1.6-litre fours.
India will be the first market to take the Ecosport. Ford says the model will be sold in close to 100 markets worldwide.
We can confirm that the car will be coming to Australia, though it has not been confirmed for New Zealand – at this stage – and pricing and specifications for any market are not known at the moment. Inquiries made directly with Ford revealed little detail but we were able to work out that the car will get to Australia in early 2013, starting at about A$22,000 with the choices of the 1.0-litre 3-cylinder Ecoboost petrol unit; a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine and a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel – each with four cylinders.
Ford Fiesta Ecosport: Aimed at attracting a new generation of consumers in almost 100 different global markets.