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REVIEW

2013 Ford EcoSport petrol automatic road test

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10 Jul 2013  / 

Every time I drive the EcoSport, I walk away impressed. Last time it was the diesel version and I loved the light controls — the light and quick steering as well as the progressive but light clutch made it such an easy car to drive. I also liked the comfy seats and the plush ride; the latter never demands you slow down no matter how bad the road. The really large potholes can send in a loud thud but the impact was never hard enough to make me cringe. The EcoSport handled beautifully and the braking was spot on too. There were a few shortcomings, of course. The interior plastic for one could certainly do with an upgrade, and the build quality too could be upped a few notches. Take the car I am driving right now: it has done less than 5,000km, but its insides have already started rattling; the plastic on the doors and the dashboard near the air-con vents in particular. It’s also not very spacious. And the boot, for something positioned as an SUV, is tiny to say the least.

The 2013 Ford EcoSport automatic

The 2013 Ford EcoSport automatic

The version I am driving is identical to the diesel on all the above-mentioned counts, positive and negative; only, it is even easier to drive especially within the city. And that’s because this is an automatic. At just under Rs 8.5 lakh ex-Delhi, the EcoSport AT is well-priced as well, especially when you consider it is the Titanium trim. So, there’s the usual allotment of comfort and safety features on board from digital climate control to a multifunctional steering wheel and Bluetooth telephony. There’s ABS and two front airbags too. Additionally, exclusive to this version is ESC or a stability programme which corrects slides or skids by selective braking of wheels to straighten out the car. This automatic also gets side and curtain airbags over the manual Titanium trims, taking the overall airbag count to six on this model.

There's the usual allotment of comfort and safety features on board from digital climate control to a multifunctional steering wheel

There’s the usual allotment of comfort and safety features on board from digital climate control to a multifunctional steering wheel

We also like the way the automatic EcoSport drives. The gearbox is a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, so it is quick in its shifts and seamless for the most part. It’s only in the lower gears — when shifting through 1st and 2nd — that the shift shock is evident. The gearbox comes with two driving modes — D and S (for Sport) — with the former being setup for economical driving, while the Sport is meant to bring some fun into spirited driving. In D, the ‘box chooses to upshift at about 2,500rpm when driven normally returning a good balance between drivability and economy.

At just under ₹ 8.5 lakh ex-Delhi, the EcoSport AT is well priced as well, especially when you consider it is the Titanium trim

At just under ₹ 8.5 lakh ex-Delhi, the EcoSport AT is well priced as well

But, if you want to get things moving along in a hurry, depressing the throttle progressively doesn’t give you the desired results as the gearbox chooses to remain in as high a gear as possible. Stamp on the throttle hard, and it does drop down a couple of gears to get you up to speed, but again, it could be quicker in its reactions. In Sport mode, the downshifts don’t require you to be overly aggressive with the throttle. However, unlike most other automatics wherein the ‘box generally selects a lower gear or maintains a higher rpm for a given road speed in Sport mode for improved throttle response, on the EcoSport there’s no such differentiation. But, yes, the EcoSport does hold on to gears longer in S compared to D.

The gearbox is a six-speed dual clutch automatic, so it is quick in its shifts and seamless for most part

The gearbox is a six-speed dual clutch automatic, so it is quick in its shifts and seamless for the most part

It also downshifts unobtrusively at speed in higher gears if you suddenly choose to go deeper with the throttle pedal. The downshifts also give you a sense of push and linearity very close to a mildly turbocharged engine coming on full boost in this situation. But, the bigger difference between D and S is the option to shift gears manually in the latter. No, the EcoSport doesn’t get paddle shifters, and no you can’t move the gear selector either to shift up or down.

Instead, Ford has given this unconventional and cold toggle on the gear selector to work the manual mode. The toggle might not be to our liking, but the manual mode certainly is. It gives you a higher sense on involvement and one can also make full throttle shifts up and down the gearbox which makes it quite handy when tackling a twisty section with enthusiasm.

The dual-clutch auto is mated to a 1.5-litre petrol, but unfortunately this is the only engine one can have with the EcoSport automatic. We would have loved to have the EcoBoost mated to the dual-clutch ‘box, but as is the case with diesel automatics, cost is an issue for this combo as well.

The dual clutch auto is mated to a 1.5-litre petrol, but unfortunately this is the only engine one can have with the EcoSport automatic

The dual clutch auto is mated to a 1.5-litre petrol, but unfortunately this is the only engine one can have with the EcoSport automatic

This 112PS, four cylinder engine, meanwhile, is the same petrol unit that comes in the Fiesta. It’s not the most refined engine out there or the easiest revving. It doesn’t boast of a very potent low and mid-range either, but it is enjoyable. It sounds nice for most of its operating range and proves involving past 4,500rpm all the way to its 6,500rpm redline. It works well with the transmission too.

So, who should buy the EcoSport automatic, then? Well, for starters if you commute to work daily in any of the bigger cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore, you should only buy automatics. Manuals really aren’t worth the effort. Now, for a similar price as the EcoSport auto, one can also buy the Polo GT TSI. But, if it’s an SUV stance you want, the Ford really is your only auto option for under Rs 10 lakh. And a pretty good one at that.

Acceleration
 
0-60kmph5.3s
0-100kmph13.4s
0-400metres19.2s@117.5kmph
Braking
100-0kmph42.3m/3.3s
Fuel Efficiency
City11.1kmpl
Highway18.3kmpl
Overall 12.9kmpl
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  • Noname

    Can Overdrive ask Ford India about the delivery dates of AT variant? Ford is not replying to customers who have booked this car. Dealers have no clue either………

    • kkkk

      ecosport AT is waiting period of minimum 6 months in cities like Delhi Mumbai to 1 year in b/ c grade cities.
      the reason is that ford has to get maximum numbers by selling diesel model first and the entire production has been instructed to only assemble 15000 diesel cars before even touching other versions.
      out of the 30000 +bookings, 22000 + bookings have come from dIEsel.

      • Dan

        I really do not understand the numbers. Ford was chaining of 30000 bookings in 17 days. In fact it crossed 30K including the pre launch bookings. When I enquired with the local dealer what he said is less than 20% is petrol bookings. ATs are the max in those. May be its the story for Tier1 cities.

  • Noname

    Does the author of this article has any clue as to why the AT variant does not have push button start?

  • Vikrant Singh

    Checked with Ford and they say the waiting period for the AT depends from city to city. They did not however say what’s its like even in cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Will post the exact months once they get back.
    As for the AT not having push button start, it surprised us as well, especially when you consider it gets more Airbags and ESP over the regular Titanium versions. We don’t see any reasons not to have it on the AT version. An oversight on part of Ford maybe? Anyways have asked Ford and if there is any technical reason for it, will share.

    • puneet bishnoi

      Can we get push button start & keyless entry module as accessories? Also, does petrol AT model have an engine guard as seen on diesel variant. Ecoboost models doesn’t have it for sure but I don’t know about AT. Kindly help.

  • puneet bishnoi

    “Take the car I am driving right now: it has done less than 5,000km, but its insides have already started rattling; the plastic on the doors and the dashboard near the air-con vents in particular”
    Really??? Just 5k kms on odo & a ford is having quality issues?? Is this for real or just a test vehicle which has been assaulted to maximum?? Has ford cut out on quality to reduce price just like renault on duster??

    • Vikrant Singh

      I think its a wrong notion that media cars are assaulted. Chances are you will find normal dealer test cars is much worse condition. What i am trying to say here is, if we have had a problem in a media car, chances are owners might face the same in their cars.
      As far as your doubts about quality go… The EcoSport’s quality levels aren’t much better than the Duster’s in any case. Yes, the plastic looks a little better and the doors feel heavier, but these factors alone aren’t a reflection of a cars build.

      • puneet bishnoi

        I’m not pointing to just media cars, but ford do have a reputation of building cars that age well & many of my friends are driving around in theirs at more than 20k on odo but without such problems. Does ecosport is devoid of that quality materials? Please help, as I’ve zeroed on it for my next, or else should I go for fiesta AT or classic if those provides better build & interior quality?

        • Vikrant Singh

          If you have zeroed in on the EcoSport, go for it. Yes it might not be as well screwed in as we would have liked, but it’s a good car to settle for, overall.

          • puneet bishnoi

            Thank a lot Vikrant. This might help a big time in my purchase.

  • ramesh

    i would wait for all wheel drive version as i drive between leh and manali frequently. this is must on snow covered passes.

    • Vikrant Singh

      I don’t think you should pin your hopes on an all wheel drive EcoSport. It’s highly unlikely both in the short and the medium term. The Duster though might be getting one soon… They do have a version in other markets and its almost as capable as the Skoda Yeti 4×4.

      • ramesh

        thanks vikram, but i heard that ecosport awd has been launched recently in brazil and china. ecosport cant be a suv unless it is awd. anyway its front wheel drive so will have better traction due to engine weight and i travel alone mostly.the rear part would have lesser weight to pull.. so i will have to carry a pair of snow chain all the time. i m sure it will be quite near to awd. please reply.

    • no name

      I wouldn’t expect an awd to launch in India. Besides, having driven the car for 3000 kms. I can say that you would not need an AWD to drive it all the way and in LADAKH.

  • karan kang

    I think these car are driven more than the odo shows these seem to be test car . I saw same car like this on display in a ford showroom it was blue coloured and automatic its interior was also rattling.

  • puneet bishnoi

    With due respect buddy, I’ve been to fords since long back & I always found them to be good handlers if not anything. Also, the quality is much better than many manufacturers in India. Anyways, Thanks for giving your opinion & do watch out your language.h

  • Vikrant Singh

    No. I don’t thing u can get push button start as an after market accessory. It’s not part of the options lost for a new model either. Depending on the variant you either have it or u don’t.

    • puneet bishnoi

      Sorry to bother you again, but can you confirm the presence/absence of engine guard on AT model?

  • puneet bishnoi

    can you please confirm the presence/absence of engine guard on AT model?

    • no name

      Absent. Not needed due to high ground clearance. Try for yourself. Additionally, you can go for an after market guard

  • Paritosh Gupta

    Well my ford dealership just India me that i might have to change from automatic to non automatic as ford India is selling the automatic version only in the big market cities like mumbai or delhi.I booked the second day.Poor strategy I must say…

  • Uzin

    Ecopsort is a fabulous package. But still got the question on your mind – Duster or Ecosport? Take a look at the Face-off between the two at: BRAND COLLAGE

  • guest

    thsi is a good car

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