Here I am again doing an auto review, thanks to Ford India. A few weeks back they had offered me to test out the new Ford EcoSport, a.k.a. city SUV, and I took it for a week to Goa. I was to choose the color of the car being offered and guess which color I opted for. Mars Red. 🙂
At the start of winding roads of western ghats.
I asked V if he can take some more days off along with the Eid holiday which was on a Wednesday and guess what? He checked and said yes!! 😀 So we had five clear days. The duration of the test drive got me greedy and we decided to drive all the way to Goa! I was happy that we had made the right choice of the destination as we had planned to take NH17, which was a hilly route and return by NH4.
Driving your vehicle gives you freedom of stopping for photo ops.
First things first. When I parked it alongside my Ford Fiesta, Ford EcoSport appeared bigger than it! I noticed that Fiesta is actually longer but EcoSport was wide and tall.
The plan was to reach Goa by 6:00pm with three halts of 45 minutes each. This would be the real test of character of the small SUV.
Early morning 6:00am we start loading our luggage and find that the boot is small for the size of the vehicle. Enough for us though. I assumed the shortage in the boot space must be owing to more space in the cabin. In a way, we found it better once we sat inside.
As we settled down in the large leatherette bucket seats, I found it very comfortable. Certainly the lack of space in the boot is offset by spacious interiors. After all we are going to spend more time here, not in the boot! Plenty of leg space and a feel of being in a big car. I felt like a queen! Also, if you have more luggage then you can use the 60:40 split at the rear seat to accommodate it.
Motorized adjustments for side mirrors are at the driver side which again is a great feature. This is one of those small things which show that they have taken care of driver’s convenience.
Our arduous journey through potholes started soon after we were on to Panvel NH17. Weaving through and avoiding large trucks (yes, there were hundreds of them – both potholes and trucks that early in the morning!
While negotiating the potholes was not a problem even when we go over them because of the large tyres and high ground clearance, looking at the rear view mirror was proving to be an issue owing to the small size of rear window (windshield).
For 2 hours we were on rough roads, cursing all the while how a national highway can be of this quality and cursing ourselves for choosing this route. Large 55 litres of diesel can be held in its belly. The Fuel consumption average per kilometer can be read on the LCD display and it showed a pathetic 15 KMPL at that time. We stopped for refueling somewhere in Chiplun. We reset this meter now that we saw the roads were smoother. Hardly had we left Chiplun than we entered the hilly roads (Ghats), which was the norm almost till we reached outskirts of Goa. We got a better average though, it still wasn’t the best… mostly because of the hills.
Later when we were cruising on NH4 on our return journey, it gave us as much as 31 KMPL!! With diesel model, it’s a woot! I tweeted about it and a discussion started on performance of different models. 🙂
On rough roads.
A good quality modern dashboard system kept us company belting out old Hindi songs from my thumb drive and at times from radio. You can change music on your MP3 player, phone or USB drive. To talk of dashboard, we used it to fullest. We avoid phone calls while driving, but the family wanted to know how we were doing. Not a problem. We made, received calls via Bluetooth, and read messages as well.
End of ghat roads.
It was a fantastic road trip driving through winding roads of Western Ghats with a misty view of scenic landscape, flowing rivers, grazing cattles, and lush green meadows.
The pickup is a bit sluggish (when compared to my Fiesta running on petrol), which made us downshift every so often.
By the time we reached Goa, it was already dark. Rest of the journey under the vehicles strong beams was quite comfortable, except for a huge traffic jam on the new Panjim bridge.
By the way, in my definition, a SUV should not be small. 🙂 Mere 1500CC! One of my acquaintances later told me that it also comes in a 1000CC variant.
Fortunately we didn’t have to check the effectiveness of airbags in front of us. 😛
• Folding rear seats flat in 60:40 split gives you 705 litres of space in the rear which compensates for small boot.
• Rear parking sensors gives you confidence while reversing. Location of the objects can be seen on a screen in the dashboard & audible alerts let you know if there’s something behind you.
• Motorized side view mirror on both sides is controlled at driver’s side.
• Helpful dashboard eases the busy life of communicating.
• Going in hilly area got us use the Hill Launch Assist feature, a great help indeed.
Areas of improvement-
• Place above the dashboard is curved and stuff just slides off it! I feel it’s waste of such big space.
Thank you Ford for giving me the opportunity to drive this car. Wish you all the best for its success.
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