After the success of the Ford Figo, Ford India is gearing up for its next big launch – an SUV based on the new Ford Fiesta Sedan. Dubbed Ford EcoSport, the mini SUV is expected to be unveiled at the upcoming 2012 Indian Auto Show followed by an official launch a few months down the line.
The new Ford EcoSport will conform to the length restriction of less than 4 meters to qualify as a small car while still preserving its looks of an SUV. The upright stance, the high bonnet, generous ground clearance and subtle cladding make you think off-roader, and what’s even better is that it is fresh, boldly designed and well proportioned, all at the same time. There’s an attractive and striking inverse ‘V’ in the nose, the chin has a pair of menacing intakes and the tipped-forward stance makes it look like an alert slip fielder, always ready for action. It looks great from the back as well, with its pillar-less rear windscreen and sharply cut tail-lights.
Initially, only a diesel engined version of the Ford EcoSport will be launched and hopefully powering the new EcoSport will be the new 90bhp, 1.5-litre DV5 diesel which debuted in the new Fiesta saloon. Also, since the EcoSport will use the identical platform and running gear to the Fiesta, it will be front-wheel drive only, with no 4×4 option.
The Fiesta-based SUV is believed to be a part of the American car maker’s ‘One Ford’ strategy, wherein the company will manufacture products for worldwide rather than for limited markets. Like the Figo, the EcoSport will also be manufactured at the Chennai plant of Ford and exported to South Africa and other markets in the Asia-Pacific.
Thus, it remains to be seen whether the EcoSport will be able to grab the attention of buyers of premium hatchbacks or entry-level sedans in India. The Ford EcoSport will be priced at around Rs. 7.5 – 8.5 lakh and will be taking the Premier Rio head on when launched in the Indian market.