BRAZIL: After nine years, a new Ford EcoSport
Production EcoSport is close to concept models unveiled in Brasilia and at the New Delhi motor show last January and the 'near production' version shown in China in April
After a long, nine-year life cycle for the first Ford Brazil EcoSport compact SUV, finally comes the long-anticipated 'MkII', clearly evolved from its popular predecessor and now destined for global sale and additional production outside South America.
just-auto's Production Life Database lists Maraimalai Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (India); Camaçari, Bahia (Brazil); Rayong (Thailand); CFMA, Chongqing (China) as planned future production sites.
Back in 2003, Ford virtually created the compact, front-wheel drive city SUV segment in Brazil, lobbing the new EcoSport into the ring to compete with small utility models with rear-or all-wheel drive, like the Suzuki Jimny and locally assembled Mitsubishi Pajero TR4 [Shogun Pinin in Europe], both heavier models more off-road focused.
Late last year, Renault launched the locally-built Duster, which finally tipped the EcoSport off its segment leading perch. But, from launch on 31 December, chances are the redesigned EcoSport will reclaim Ford's crown.
This time round, the EcoSport and Duster no longer have the segment to themselves, though. GM is expected to bring in the Chevrolet Trax [aka Buick Encore/Opel-Vauxhall Mokka] from Mexico in the first quarter of 2013. And Peugeot [a 208-based crossover], Hyundai [a Brazilian EcoSport rival based on the new, locally assembled HB20 hatchback] and Fiat are also expected to launch locally produced rivals within two years.
Meanwhile, Ford will begin new EcoSport export to Latin America before year end, starting with Argentina.
After just over 700,000 units sold, Ford knew exactly what to do with the new model.
The redesigned model is about the same length as its predecessor– 166.9in/4.24m – but wheelbase is up 1.18in/3cm; height by 2.75in/7cm and width by 1.96in/5cm, allowing a small increase in overall cabin room.
Inside, ambience is improved considerably with better materials and finish. Dashboard, steering wheel, instrument cluster, onboard electronics are all based on the also locally produced current Fiesta from which the EcoSport also gained steering wheel height and distance adjustment and electric power steering.
Boot [trunk] space was boosted 20% to 12.78cu ft/362 litres.
LED day running lights now surround the headlights, and aerodynamics are better (Cd improved 10%) with corresponding wind noise reduction. The tailgate-mounted spare wheel – essential for street-cred in this segment remains but with just a small, release handle disguised within the off-side tail light unit in place of the previous bulky handle.
The engine is an all-alloy, 'Sigma', 97.6 cu inch/1.6-litre flexfuel unit developing 113bhp on 100% ethanol. That, along with new high-strength steel in the bodywork, kept the average model-for-model weight rise down to 88lb/40kg despite considerably more standard equipment. Ford claims better fuel efficiency with this engine.
Using the new Fiesta’s architecture also allowed Ford to specify safety-related upgrades such as anti-lock brakes and driver and passenger air bags plus, in upscale versions, side and curtain air bags and stability and traction control. Basic versions are no longer offered. Ford’s global infotainment system SYNC is also standard for all versions. Retail prices range from BRL$53,490/US$26,470 to BRL$71,490/US$35,391.
There have been some cold winds blowing this week, literally and metaphorically. The metaphorical blasts are all too familiar and can be summed up in three words: problems in Europe....
A mixed week of mostly good news, industry niggle in France and financial woes at PSA excepted. Ford booked a healthy US$5.7bn full year net profit for 2012 - our resident commentator weighed in on th...
Overcrowded the global car market may be, but the number of car makers determined to snatch a greater share continues to grow....
Details of concepts and new models which made their global debuts at the Geneva motor show on media preview days 5 and 6 March....
Suzuki Motor plans to resume vehicle production in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in May....
Ford China has reported its best-ever January, selling more than double the number of passenger cars it did in January 2012....
BorgWarner has opened a new 86,000-square-foot (8,000-square-metre) facility in Manesar, India, near New Delhi to produce exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers, tubes, valves and modules....
- ANALYSIS: Hyundai axes Veloster, goes after Toyota
- Review of 2014 (1)
- ANALYSIS: Future models for North America - Part 2
- ANALYSIS: Future models for North America - Part 1
- THE WEEK THAT WAS: Bleak Christmas ahead for some
- JLR research removes blind spots
- Genk mayor organises "loudest shift" as Ford exits
- Bye, Chrysler, hello FCA US
- Punch Genk offer "missed opportunity": Mayor
- Volvo rethinks its way to market