We drive the Ford Ecosport in GoaPosted On: June 2, 2013 By : AutoLife Team
Photos: Ford IndiaWe find ourselves in India, participating in the global ‘Technical Deep Dive and Drive’ event for the Ford EcoSport held in Goa. Being the first few from Nepal to have previewed and driven the all-new revolutionary compact SUV from Ford, here’s an exclusive coverage of the experience.
Before this, I had never been invited to test drive a new vehicle in a destination beyond the borders of Nepal. Neither had I been to Goa, nor had the chance to soak in the luxury of a night at the Park Hyatt. Now from a practical point of view, I never thought it was possible to kill two birds with one stone. Well in my case, that was three! But, the good folks from the Ford Motor Company in India and Nepal were kind enough to show me how it’s actually done.
A revolutionary product calls for an equally revolutionary unveiling. So on the 11-12th of May, 2013, Ford India had organized an extensive ‘Deep Technical Dive and Drive’ event for their new Ford EcoSport at the Park Hyatt Resort & Spa, Goa. And guess what? We were one among the privileged 150 media representatives from around the globe invited to the all expense paid mega event spread over two weeks. Seriously, whoever quoted that there was no such thing as free lunches now deserves a tight slap across the cheek!
First of all, we at AutoLife are highly grateful to GO Ford, the authorized distributors for Ford vehicles in Nepal, for having ensured our participation in this global ‘Deep Technical Dive and Drive’ event for the Ford EcoSport in Goa. After a night in Delhi, I found myself in Goa in the afternoon of 11th May with three other media colleagues from Kantipur, The Himalayan Times and ECS Media. We checked into our rooms at the Park Hyatt Resort and after freshening up, an extensive technical briefing on the Ford EcoSport was in order at the beachside premises of the resort.
To start off, I must say that this event was simply nothing like the usual press release events that I had usually witnessed in Nepal. The technical deep dive was truly an eye opener for anybody who wanted to know all about the EcoSport. Even though I had done my fair share of research on the Internet, the briefing event provided much more insight. The event had nearly every individual involved with the EcoSport development process coming up on stage and justifying their efforts. They say that it’s always best to hear from people who know best. So the event had presenters from the likes of Ford India’s Executive Director, General Manager and Powertrains Development Manager, EcoSport Global Chief Program Engineer, Asia Pacific Vehicle Programs Director and SYNC Engineering Manager, Chief Designer of the EcoSport, etc coming up on stage to clearly explain the purpose of the EcoSport from their respective viewpoints. Everything from the compact crossover SUV design, the revolutionary EcoBoost powertrain to the innovative SYNC system was passionately explained with captivating audio/visual aids. The explanations were so well detailed that at the end of the presentation there literally was no question left to ask.
The media briefing was followed by a lavish cocktail reception, with the elite Ford team openly mingling with the invitees over drinks, snacks and dinner. Interestingly, over conversations, most of them were quite shocked to learn about out massive duty structure on automobiles and were quite eager to hear about the performance of the EcoSport in our market, in spite of the premium price tag. Now having learned everything there was to know about the EcoSport, we called it a night, looking forward to tomorrow’s test drive session.
The next day, two journalists were allotted one Ford EcoSport each, with the drive route and designated driver for each route clearly marked by the organizers. The cars were numbered serially and we had to drive accordingly in a convoy style, with a Ford Endeavour as the Pilot car setting the pace up front. The 140km drive route took us through a variety of terrains from traffic logged city roads, bumpy patches, fast two laned highways, narrow village routes to fine uphill and downhill hilly stretches. The EcoSport felt very easy to drive with the SUV like towering view from the inside and the peppy ready-to-move EcoBoost motor always had power available on tap. In spite of the engine being turbocharged, there was hardly any noticeable turbo lag in the lower RPM’s. The revolutionary three cylinder motor felt very refined and provided a performance unmatched by any other 1000cc motor I have driven before. In fact, with the EcoBoost technology, the engine provides an adrenaline rush unmatched by even some 1600cc motors. The clutch shifting process and the slick gearbox was another joy. The EcoSports’s suspensions has been set up well to absorb our kind of bumpy sections on the road and inspires the driver to speed up around the corners with minimum body roll. Though not really an off roader, its high ground clearance will give the required confidence should one want to venture off the road.
On the outside, the EcoSport looks great all around especially with the huge mouthed muscle car like Ford grille up front and the tail gate mounted spare wheel like in a SUV at the rear. The smooth flowing aerodynamic lines across the EcoSport complete the sporty facade. It has a well put together stylish interior as well. Inside, soft-touch fabrics, tight gaps and the global Ice Blue dashboard illumination all reinforce superior quality and craftsmanship. Controls and knobs are ergonomically placed while seats are designed to be soft enough for comfort and firm enough for longer journeys. The SYNC voice integrated system adds further appeal and the automatic climate control ensured that we stayed cool even with the mercury boiling in Goa.
From our experience, we are pretty sure that the EcoSport will not only set a new benchmark in its segment, but will stand as a strong alternative for similarly priced cars in other segment too. Though a 4WD model would have been an icing on the cake for our market, if priced right and well below the nearest competitor, it will go a long way in Nepal. Considering that Nepal is a SUV loving market, who will not want to have this crossover at a reasonable price! Now to wait for its launch in Nepal and test drive it on our roads for a detailed review…