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.

Kapi-Mana News - - MOTORING -

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.

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