FORD ECOSPORT S
Ford have launched a new variant of their recently launched EcoSport compact SUV. This “S” variant also marks the comeback of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, among other changes. We get behind the wheel to see what it’s all about
106Fo New top variant with the returning EcoBoost
It seems we’re living in a year of comebacks. Ryan Reynolds and Co have brought Deadpool back to the big screen, Greta Van Fleet is bringing back that classic Led-Zep sound, Netflix is bringing back all those epic shows you loved as a kid (Fuller House anyone?) and my Instafeed is pretty much full to bursting with #ThrowBackThursday posts — sometimes even on other days of the week! Looks like Ford India are getting in on the act, too, because they’ve decided to launch a new variant of their EcoSport compact SUV and, as part of the package, they’ve brought back that little 999-cc EcoBoost engine that nabbed so many awards when it was first introduced in the car’s previous iteration.
In fact, enthusiasts up and down the country had their collective eyebrows raised when Ford took the covers off the latest gen EcoSport but chose to leave out the EcoBoost engine from the mix. Well, it’s here now, in what the brand has christened the EcoSport S, and it comes with a few other reworks, besides dropping in that pint-sized engine. Let’s start with the exterior. While the S doesn’t get a physical change per se, it does get a few choice touches here and there. That grille is now all black, the 17-inch alloys get the blacked-out look, too, and the headlamps have been reworked, with the fog-lamps getting a new black bevel. The roof and roof-rails have both also got a new lick of paint and are now, you guessed it, all black. There’s also a tell-tale change of texture in the middle of the roof (when viewed from afar) that hints at another fresh addition — that of a sunroof. Overall, the already handsome EcoSport has become that little bit easier on the eye with these aesthetic tweaks.
On the inside, again, physically everything is identical to the standard variant of the car. However, there are orange accents along the dash to mark the car out as an “S” along with orange stitching in the seats. The information cluster now offers an additional readout in the form of a tyre pressure sensor and, of course, there’s a new set of switches mounted up top that open and close the sunroof. The sunroof itself isn’t the biggest one you’ll see, but it does its job of inviting the outside weather in without a fuss — as we found out to our chagrin in the 40+ degree heat of Chennai. The intuitive eight-inch touchscreen has been brought over to this variant, too, and while it continues to come with Android Auto, Apple Car Play, Sync 3, voice commands, and two USB ports, it still doesn’t get inbuilt navigation.
Mechanically, there’s the big change of engine, with the 999-cc in-line three turbo-petrol entering the fray. And it’s coming in all guns blazing as it produces 125 PS at 6,000 rpm and 170 Nm of torque at 1,500-4,500 rpm. That’s two more horses and 20 Newton metres of twist more than the standard 1.5 petrol available on non-“S” variants. Another significant shake in the mechanics is the addition of a six-speed manual transmission to go with the EcoBoost engine.
We put both of these additions through their paces on this drive. Being a turbo-petrol, the engine doesn’t really get going until you cross 2,000 rpm but keeps pulling till past 6,000 rpm without running out of breath. NVH levels at these high revs are still decent and, when you aren’t pushing, the cabin is a nice and peaceful place to be in. The six-speed gearbox is pretty sorted, too. It offers smooth shifts and combines well with the engine to allow the driver to cruise at decent triple-digit speeds without feeling like it’s struggling. The needle crossed 160 km/h in sixth before we ran out of road, so it’ll be interesting to see how the EcoSport S does when we get our hands on it for performance testing.
The ride was as sorted as in its standard sibling, gliding over potholes www.carindia.in without compromising on cornering ability. Handling was also decent when the occasion arose. The steering was communicative enough as well and precise at both low and high speeds. The braking performance from the front-disc, rear-drum brake set-up was adequate when called upon, just like it is on the standard EcoSport. Overall, the EcoBoost powered S was enjoyable without being exciting and the new gearbox didn’t give any cause for complaints either. The S carries over the same frugality of space issue as its siblings, though, so if you can look past that and are willing to match the reasonable Rs 11.37 lakh (exshowroom) price tag, then the EcoSport S is definitely worthy of consideration.
( Above) EcoBoost 1.0-litre turbo-petrol back in action ( Right) New six-speed manual, orangeaccented interior
( Right) Seats and doors also get the orange treatment ( Below) Sunroof, or as Ford calls it, “Fun Roof”, is another fresh addition