It’s a testament to how far ahead of the curve the Ford Ecoport was when it was introduced that most of the country’s high-volume carmakers have yet to sell a sub-four-metre SUV offering. However, this has meant that this market is now potentially at the heart of the Indian auto industry, and it is facing stiff competition. Despite the frequent patches and variant rejigs, Ford India’s Ecosport appears to be a consistent seller. Although an all-new Ecosport is being developed, the Ford Ecosport SE is one such development.
Ford Ecosport SE: What’s New?
The Ford Ecosport SE is effectively the international-spec Ecosport, an SUV that has been produced for global markets since 2015 at Ford’s Chennai factory. Its arrival in India follows a ruling from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in 2020 that permits passenger vehicles with a seating capacity of up to nine persons to be sold without a spare wheel as long as tubeless tyres, tyre pressure monitoring systems, and a puncture repair kit are included.
As a result of the removal of the spare wheel, several slight visual changes have been made. The number plate has been relocated to the centre of the boot lid, replacing an indented area formerly filled by the tyre, and a faux skid plate has been installed in place of the previous numberplate’s housing on the rear bumper. Unlike the Ecosport S, which has dark-themed details, the Ecosport SE has the same chrome and body-color highlights as the Titanium trim, as well as single-tone alloys.
Similarly, the Ecosport SE’s interior is finished in a more restrained light-beige and black colour scheme. The feature set is almost identical to that of the Ecosport S, with the exception of leather seats and puddle lamps. The robust suite of protection technology, on the other hand, remains intact. The cabin is still as well-built as before, but the older construction suggests that room handling isn’t as good as other competitors’.
Given Ford’s customers’ interest in this edition, we believe choosing the Ecosport SE over the standard Ecosport S would largely be a matter of personal preference. The spare wheel, in our opinion, gives the Ecosport a distinct personality and strengthens its SUV credentials. With this gone, the visibly more sudden rear segment has lost its sense of cohesion.
How Do I Fix A Puncture On The Ecosport SE?
Continental’s tyre sealant package comes standard on the Ecosport SE. This kit contains a liquid sealant compound as well as a pump that connects to the flat tyre through the tyre valve and is operated by the car’s 12V power outlet. Once turned on, the unit pumps sealant and air into the tyre in 10 minutes. When the phase reaches this stage, a gauge indicates it. To produce heat in the tyres, the car must then be pushed for another 10 minutes. This causes the sealant to stretch and cover the tyre from the inside, pulling it out of the puncture(s) and plugging the holes as the air pressure inside the wheel rises. When exposed to the cooler air outside, the plugs harden. The tyre will then be inflated to the recommended pressure and used for 200 kilometres before having to be replaced. This treatment does not work on other tyre damage, such as sidewall tears, and the car cannot be driven more than 80 km/h.
This method could be useful in more developed markets, but it is unlikely to be the best option for India. Since punctures are so frequent on our highways, repairing a tyre any time one occurs is a costly proposition. Furthermore, many consumers may be unfamiliar with how to use the sealant efficiently. As a result, the Ecosport SE is potentially better used as a city runabout where a flat tyre can be fixed with a quick limp or a phone call.
Ford Ecosport SE: How Does It Drive?
The Ecosport SE is mechanically similar to the regular Ecosport, with the same 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines, but no automatic transmission, unlike the Titanium Plus. We drove the SE with its 1.5-litre petrol engine and were pleasantly surprised by its manners. Since this is a big three-cylinder, there is a visible judder going through the car at idle, but it dies away until you get moving. It has the same 122 horsepower as its turbocharged competitors, but torque is slightly lower at 149 Nm.
However, this translates well to the path. With a flat torque distribution throughout, the Ti-VCT motor is very tractable, if not as rev-hungry as other competitors. Slowing down for traffic or speed bumps, for example, does not always necessitate a downshift, and there is usually no interruption in advance. Even on the highway, the petrol Ecopsort maintains its pace well, and overtaking isn’t a problem. We would have preferred a little more precision from the gearbox and a little less clutch travel, but the Ecosport SE is a pleasant car to drive thanks to its light clutch, accurate braking, and throttle response.
The Ecosport SE also continues Ford’s legacy of producing cars that feel tethered to the road; body motions at any pace are well regulated, and the current Goodyear Assurance tires have reduced some of the understeers we previously talked about. Of course, there is also a trade-off in the form of a stiff ride consistency that can’t quite round off sharp imperfections as good as other competitors.