Ford India is trying hard to keep the EcoSport relevant in a highly competitive compact SUV segment in the country, where products like the Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon and Hyundai Venue are wooing buyers with their appeal and premium features.
However, the Ford EcoSport, which actually started it all and, in a sense, gave birth to the sub-four-metre compact crossover segment in India, is losing its sheen. Till date, the car is largely identical to the first-generation model launched back in 2013.
Now, Ford India has introduced the EcoSport SE at Rs 1,049,000 for the 1.5-litre petrol and at Rs 1,099,000 for the 1.5-litre diesel engine options. Despite the crossover still not receiving any major aesthetic updates, Ford has tried to rework the rear profile of the crossover.
The EcoSport SE variant loses out on the tail-gate mounted spare wheel, which was a unique design element from Ford and one that actually emerged as a key attribute for the SUVs success in India. While Ford switched to offer a clean rear look to the global SUV in other markets such as the Europe and America, it continued to offer the spare wheel in India based on market research.
As a result of doing without the spare wheel, the EcoSport SE now comes with a TPMS and a quick puncture-repair tool kit. The Titanium-trim-based variant also gets 16-inch alloy wheels and Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system. The variant still looks well equipped with features such as automatic HID headlamps, split-folding rear seats, cruise control, auto-dimming IRVM and safety features such as six airbags, ESC, traction control and hill-start assist.
According to Vinay Raina, executive director, Marketing and Sales, Ford India, “The SE carries forward EcoSport’s fun to drive credentials as well as its rich legacy of outstanding safety and best-in-segment technologies like Sync 3. Customers increasingly follow global benchmarks in design and look for things that are unique and distinctive, just like the new EcoSport SE.”
The EcoSport SE also gets Ford’s FordPass smartphone app-based connectivity solution that aids customers remotely perform several vehicle functions such as vehicle start / stop, and lock / unlock by using a factory-fitted on-board connectivity device.
The EcoSport in its 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol variant develops 121bhp of power and 149Nm of torque, and in the 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel variant produces 99bhp and 215Nm. Both engines come mated to a five-speed manual gearbox for the SE variant.
Looking at the buzzing compact SUV space, which is currently witnessing growing demand for models particularly the Kia Sonet, Mahindra XUV 300, Renault Kiger and Nissan Magnite – all of which are currently commanding waiting periods of several weeks, Ford India would need to really bring a new generation model of the EcoSport sooner than later, the only model that still sells in relevant numbers for the ailing carmaker in India.
In the April 2020 to January 2021 period, Ford India has sold a total of 34,521 units which gives it a passenger vehicle market share of 1.68 percent, down from 2.36 percent a year ago.