When compared to the earlier car the new Ecosport looks a lot sportier. That’s because of a sculpted bonnet, new projector headlamps with daytime running LEDs and a brand new chrome laden trapezoidal grille. The fog lamps get meaner and bigger and the indicator lamps are housed within them. The profile gets new roof rails and the top variant now gets 17 inch alloys. There’s cladding all over the car and some on the wheel arches would’ve been nice. The rear look is pretty much the same. All speculations of the spare wheel finding a new place instead of the tail gate were false as the wheel stays just there. A ground clearance of 200 mm suffices well for the car.
Hardly anything reminds of the earlier car once you step inside. The seats and dash are all black while the pillars and roof are light grey. The first thing you notice is the new 8 inch touch screen system that is high on quality as it offers excellent resolution. It is also very responsive and is compatible with both Apple car play and Android Auto. It also has a rear parking camera, ambient lighting and the new popular sync 3 voice command system from Ford. The car gets climate control and 2 USB slots just below the AC panel. Along with cruise control the car also gets a speed limiter, rains sensing wipers and automatic headlamps. The car now also gets touch sensitive door handles for keyless entry. However the missing grab handles a bit of a letdown. The second row is a comfortable place to be in, has a centre arm rest but misses out on AC vents. The boot space has gone up too and now stands at 352 liters. This can be expanded to 1,178 liters if the second row is folded down. The boot also multi positions where the parcel tray can be kept.
4 and a half years after we first drove the Ecosport in Goa we were back there to sample this facelift. The drive position was perfect as before with the thin A pillar hardly causing any blind spots for the driver. The biggest change on the new Ecosport is a brand new 3 cylinder dragon Petrol engine that delivers a maximum power of 123 PS and gives a decent fuel economy of 17 kmpl. It replaces the two petrol engines the Ecosport was running on earlier. The Petrol comes in both 5-speed manual and 6-speed Automatic options and the top variant has been launched with paddle shifts making the Ecosport only car in the segment to have them. There’s the tried and tested 1.5 liter Diesel mill as well that promises a fuel efficiency of 23 kmpl. Both these engines are refined and quick. The gearshifts are easy to slot and the auto gearbox too performs well. The up shifts especially in the drive mode may have a bit of a lag, but downshifts are absolutely perfect.
The biggest change on the new Ecosport is a brand new three cylinder dragon Petrol engine that delivers a maximum power of 123PS and gives a decent fuel economy of 17kmpl.
Ride & Handling
Owing to its compact dimension the Ecosport is a car that has always handled well and the story is the same on the facelift as well. On straight as well as curvy roads the car maneuvers well and even at high speeds it is pretty stable. The light and responsive steering wheel does its bit to make the ecosport a more dynamic car than before. Ride quality is a bit on the stiffer side and the suspension is tuned well to take on the bad patches of the road. There is no all wheel drive option but the mini SUV does get features like hill launch assist and traction control. The car also gets 6 airbags.
We’ve had to wait almost till the end of the year to see one of the best cars this year. This new Ecosport has more things working for it than ever before and it has got what it takes to take on the best in the compact SUV segment, in fact increase the overall share of the segment in the Indian car Bazaar. A starting price of Rs. 7.31 lakh (ex-showroom) will do no harm to the fortunes of this new mini-SUV. It may be just a facelift but the new Ecosport can put many new generations to shame.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars