Ford EcoSport makes ASEAN debut in Bangkok

At the 2013 Bangkok International Motorshow, Ford ASEAN revealed the much-awaited EcoSport crossover.

The all-new Ford EcoSport is a subcompact crossover utility vehicle aimed squarely at developing markets and urban environments, promising customers a vehicle that combines the efficiency, agility, and pricing of a compact car, yet features the flexibility and space of an SUV.

BIMS 2013: Ford reveals the all new EcoSport image

From South America to the World

In the past, the Ford EcoSport was originally a South American market model and has since surpassed the 700,000 sales mark there. The new EcoSport is already a 2nd generation of the nameplate, developed to fit into the One Ford plan by a global team at Ford Product Development in Camacari, Brazil.

“We looked at that vehicle and saw that it was certainly applicable in all parts of the world,” said Matt Bradley, Ford ASEAN President. “With the One Ford Plan, we thought a successful vehicle in one part of the globe can be placed into production in other parts of the world, like the Asia Pacific Region.”

The ASEAN-market EcoSport will come from Ford Thailand Manufacturing in Rayong, Thailand.

Designed in detail

The EcoSport, as stated, comes in an SUV form factor, featuring signature design touches that Ford has been known for. The EcoSport gets a wide stance to complement the dynamic details, blacked-out B-pillars, slim headlamps, a trapezoidal grille, and a spare wheel on the tailgate.

Much like the Fiesta and Focus, the EcoSport gets a very modern and unique interior, blue illumination, soft-touch materials, and was designed with ergonomics in mind.

The EcoBoost measures 4280mm long, 1765mm wide and 1665mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2521mm. With the rear seats folded down, the EcoSport can accommodate as much as 705 liters of cargo... or as Ford claims, an entire washing machine.

BIMS 2013: Ford reveals the all new EcoSport image

Powered by Ti-VCT, no EcoBoost or TDCI

If you're waiting for Ford to come out with the EcoBoost in ASEAN (apart from the Explorer), well, it won't. The EcoSport will be powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter Ti-VCT engine, the same as the Fiesta sold in Thailand, as here they have the 1.4L, 1.5L, and the 1.6L. A TDCI version also isn't in the cards,

The 1.5-liter Ti-VCT powerplant gets 108 PS and 138 Newton-meters of torque and can be matched with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed Powershift dual-clutch transmission.

As of now, the EcoSport will be offered in the region with front-wheel drive only. Ford Philippines President Randy Krieger attributes this to the low demand for 4WD vehicles in the crossover segment, citing that of all the Escapes sold by FGP, only 1% are 4x4.

Made to wade

The EcoSport may be based on the Fiesta platform, but Ford has elevated it to the point that it can wade through waters up to 550mm deep. Putting that into perspective, the Ranger can go through water up to 800mm deep. Ford attributes this ability to the demand in emerging markets (i.e. ASEAN) for vehicles that can reasonably brave floods.

Setting the bar high in a new class

As of now in the Philippine market, there really is no B-segment SUV/Crossover, so Ford is practically going into new territory.

When asked whether Ford is worried about breaking into what is practically a new category, Matt Bradley, Ford ASEAN President said: “It's more exciting than daunting to go to B-Segment SUV.”

As such, they also worked to set a high example, fitting the EcoSport with upmarket features like Ford SYNC, a Smart Key, push-button start, a cooler function for the glove box, Hill Launch Assist (holds the vehicle for 2.5 seconds on an incline), rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, USB, ABS, and ESP.

Pricing and fuel eco: still hush-hush

Ford is still keeping mum about details like pricing and fuel economy. From what we gather, pricing will be more than the Fiesta but less than the Focus.

They also won't declare any official or indicative fuel numbers yet, but Neal McCarthy, Communications Director of Ford ASEAN put it best: “We expect class leading fuel efficiency.”

Expect the EcoSport to arrive in the Philippines early next year.v