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Ford’s SUV hits the century mark in its new 100bhp avatar and continues to impress, despite its compact dimensions

The Indian market really took to the Ford EcoSport, thanks to its sporty looks and SUV stance. Over the years, it has received minor upgrades. However, the most significant changes to the vehicle in recent times are the 100bhp boost and the significant price drop, making it a very desirable compact SUV. Style quotient The new EcoSport boasts a signature LightGuide and daytime running lights that add to its presence. Optional accessories include illuminated scuff plates, side running boards, a rear spoiler, weather shields and a roof rack. A head turner, it holds its own against the competition. The cabin feels     premium with good quality plastics, and commendable fit and finish. Seating is comfortable, especially up front, allowing a commanding view of the road. Of the many features available, the highlight is the in-car connectivity. The Sync AppLink offers seamless control over your phone and USB devices. The voice-activated system allows you to make calls and even reads out texts, without having to take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. There’s also an inbuilt emergency dialler. Packing a punch The real joy of the EcoSport is in driving it. The 100bhp of max power is evident and the performance of the refined 1.5 TDCi engine makes you smile every time you surge forward. Ford claims a fuel efficiency of 22.27 kmpl but we got just 15.1—quite respectable for over three days in start-stop traffic around Delhi and a few runs on the Greater Noida Expressway. The EcoSport is a great car to drive around the city, too. The ride quality is good and it can handle bumpy roads without a fuss. With 200mm of ground clearance, you don’t have to worry about bottoming out either. Considering it’s a front-wheel drive only, you can’t take it offroading, but you can explore a little beyond the tarmac—just stay away from a lot of slush and don’t try to cross streams.  An all-rounder The EcoSport lives up to its reputation of being a great small car that doesn’t feel small. Despite its dimensions, there is enough boot space for a weekend getaway. From being a great family car to a vehicle that can venture beyond city limits, it’s a versatile product. And with Ford’s improved after sales service, the ownership experience of the EcoSport makes it a cost effective package.  Rs 7.64 lakh (ex-showroom, Chennai). Details: india.ford.com/suvs/ecosport

—Vikram Gour @VikramGour

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