I managed a fuel efficiency of 20 km/L, with steady speeds of 90 kph on the highways.
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Prelude- This was back in March 2020, when I was a bachelor, and ours was a family of 3. Our nearly 7 year old Honda Amaze S IDTEC was happily chugging along at 1L Kms mark. Except the higher maintenance cost (suspension was replaced about 4 times in last 2 years of ownership), and the bad NVH, we were completely happy with this car.
However, on one highway journey the gradual goodbye for the Amaze started. The car scraped on one of those unruly speed-breakers and to our surprise after covering about 200 kms, we realized the car had broken the oil sump! We decided to get this checked at the nearest Honda dealership and the cost quoted was over 30K. Yes, this was the moment the new car bug bit both myself and my dad!
- Should have high ground clearance. Apart from the general low ground clearance related scares, the ease of ingress and egress was highly important for my dad, who had his back operated a while back.
- Should be fuss free to run, own and maintain. I know some might scoff at this idea, and think that 5 days of hassle is OK, if the car provides 360 days of enjoyment. I fear for myself and my family incase those 5 days is something very important for us and the car fails to deliver on those days.
- Budget <15L OTR.
- Should be Diesel or extremely fuel-efficient petrol. Manual/Automatic either was fine (except the AMTs).
- Should have atleast the level of performance offered by Amaze (100 PS), (200 NM), or better.
- Should have a good AC.
Prime requirements– Great headlamps-HID/LED preferrable, Cruise control, front and rear armrest, practical storage options, boot>350L, great highspeed driving dynamics, good low speed ride quality, and a great steering feel.
- Maruti S cross 1.3 MJD,1.5 NA– Extremely spacious, with a good boot. Maruti’s excellent ASS meant happy ownership. Mature suspension setup was another plus. We also liked the build quality. However, the spartan interiors, a dead steering (which even refuses to self centre), performance which was inferior to even Amaze made us drop the S Cross.
- Tata Nexon 1.5D– This was the pre-facelift car. I liked the low speed ride quality, good steering feel (though not as accurate as the Amaze), spacious interiors and great AC. Performance was satisfactory in the manual. However, the looks of the car, the feature deletions (no illuminated interior power window buttons etc.) the general treatment of the Tata ASS, and some past experiences in Tata vehicles made us turn Nexon away.
- Ford Ecosport S– This was the last car we checked. I was completely hooked to the styling of the car in it’s Race Red color. It had everything we desired and only two main weaknesses. The relatively lesser space and the low-speed ride quality. The former was not a matter of concern for us, with me and dad being 5’8 and 5’10 respectively and my mom being a 5’0 person. My fiancé too was 5’1 and the interior space was more than sufficient for all of us. We decided to live with the bad low speed ride quality as the complete package was too hard to fault with.
Do you think we finalized this Ecosport? Picture abhi baaki hai!
Few pics of the erstwhile Amaze.
This was clicked a few months on a Pune City drive few months before selling of the Amaze. Amaze redefined the stakes of Frugality!
Around this time, I had casually been browsing the used car websites. Well to begin with I was damn sure, any mention of buying a used car would be met with a vehement NO from my parents. Yet, just some casual surfing led me to a listing showing an absolute black Ecosport S TDCI @ 10 L. This was a 23-month-old vehicle, with 12500 kms on the odo, and completely scratch less model car.
I convinced my parents into at least checking out the vehicle, before buying a brand new Ecosport S. Me and dad went to the dealership and were extremely satisfied with the vehicle. We negotiated hard with the dealership and managed to close the deal with 9.9L, with a 25K bumper to bumper insurance sealed in by dealership for next 12 months (effectively translating to 9.65L purchase price). Added cherry on the top, the car was still under warranty for 13 more months. We checked the details with the nearest Ford dealership where the car was serviced, and they assured us the vehicle being in absolute prime condition. We also sold the Amaze to the used car dealership after getting a good deal.
We went from a family strictly against used vehicles, to buying the vehicle then and there on the same date! We were so happy with the car ��
- Punchy motor-100 PS, 215 NM might not sound so strong, but the car delivers strong performance on the highways. Don’t know what sort of sorcery Ford has done, wherein this car being pretty heavy (1305 KG the S variant), still punches above its weight on the highways.
- Excellent NVH– Coming from the IDTEC Amaze, the NVH was a revelation. Be it whatever RPM the engine noise is very smooth and kind of sporty, to the tractor like grunt of the IDTEC. Wind and tyre noise are also well contained even at speeds of 120 Kph.
- Excellent high speed ride quality and handling– Everyone knows this already. I believe in terms of point and shoot ability of the steering, nothing comes close on this side of 20 L. The ride on smooth tarmac remains extremely stable and even minor bumps at speed are easily dealt with.
- Looks– The car is currently in it’s 5th year of ownership and yet always manages to turn heads. The 17 inch alloy design IMO is the centerpiece of this strong public attraction.
Arguably the best alloy design on this side of Rs.20 L cars
AC– Fantastic cooling performance. This was a prime requirement as we venture out on long trips even in peak summers, with temperatures crossing 40 degrees frequently. Though this car lacks the rear AC vents, the rear passengers have never complained of inadequate cooling. That said, my Sonet with a rear AC vent manages to cool the rear a little faster than the Ecosport.
Frugal motor– I manage a good 20 KMPL, with steady speeds of 90 kph on the highways. @80, it even manages a 22 kmpl figure. Even in city conditions I manage to extract >16 kmpl frequently.
On one such cruise drive.
Strong build quality– Doors and all panels feel sturdy and close with a reassuring thud. Panel gaps are moderate and consistent. Touchwood, there are no interior rattles yet.
Feature loaded– Climate control, Cruise control with limiter, a loaded MID, fantastic Sync 3.0 system, HID low beam, TPMS, ESC, VSM, Hill Hold assist, 6 airbags, parking camera with adaptive guidelines, auto headlamps and wipers (auto wipers being my favorite, with their seamless operation), auto dimming IRVM, multi colored footwell lamps, sunroof and the list goes on and on. There is a misconception that Ecosport was not as well equipped as the rivals. IMO, at its then price of 14L OTR, it was the most loaded vehicle. I am happy that Ford didn’t engage in cost cutting and provided a full-size alloy spare wheel, request sensors on both front doors, all illuminated interior buttons, illuminated glove box and map lights and separate rear cabin light too!
Spectacular attention to detail. Disable the rear power windows, and the illumination in these switches goes off!
Practical cabin– With rear armrest down, ES has capacity to gobble up 11-12 bottles (worth approx. 9-9.5 litres) of water in the bottle holders and cup holders. If one includes the seatback storage, it can still gobble up 4 more bottles. We have seldom purchased water bottles on while doing a road-trip in this car.
Large fuel tank– 52 litres of tank gives a phenomenal range of 1000+ kms when cruising on highways at 90 KPH. This is a huge improvement on the Amaze with it’s meagre 35 litres of fuel tank and about 800 kms of range.
Excellent ASS– There’s no complaint even after Ford has left India. The annual service cost ranges between 5-7 K and I couldn’t be happier. My car has had absolutely 0 niggles in nearly 2.5 years of my ownership.
Boot space and storage practicality– Even though the boot space is slightly lower (352 litres) than the Amaze’s 400 litres, it is sufficient for our needs. It even has nifty compartments and boot floor adjuster wherein you can hide precious items by adjusting the boot floor levels. The seats also fold with a 60:40 split providing a completely flat floor. You can also remove the rear seats, giving it kind of magic seats vibe of the Honda Jazz!
The 352 litre boot gobbling up luggage for 5 for a 4 day outing!
Heavy clutch– The clutch is extremely heavy in city driving conditions. It’s OK on the highways, however in city conditions it can give a good exercise to your left leg.
Gearshift- The gearshift is precise and sure slotting. However, compared to my Sonet IMT, it’s considerably heavy and requires an effort.
Low speed ride quality– Ride quality is bone jarring at slow speeds and on potholed roads. My biggest grouse with the car and I believe nothing can be done to solve this permanently. I am thinking of upsizing the tyres to 215/55/17 or 215/60/17 (current is 205/50/17), not sure how much it would impact the mileage and performance. Any leads on this would be appreciated.
Best as 4 seater– Though the exterior dimensions might suggest otherwise, the cabin suitable only for 4 adults, with 5 being a squeeze. Fortunately for me, with two of the large frames (myself and dad) in my family occupying the front seats, and my mom and wife having smaller frames, the occasional 5th passenger is also welcome.
No HUD/Navigation display in MID– The instrument cluster is very well loaded, yet misses out on such a simple yet very important safety feature. Thankfully I was able to program the MID through FORSCAN and now have the navigation enabled in my MID.
Average high beam– The HID low beam and the fog lamps provide sufficient illumination, however, I felt the high beam throw and intensity is average at best. Resolved this through aftermarket LED high beam installation, and very happy with the results.
Upgraded the Sync 3.0 to Sync 3.4. The touch response and graphics feel snappier now on an already snappy Sync 3 system.
Cool animation once the screen boots up.
Activated the cornering fog lamps, burglar alarm and Navigation direction display in MID through FORSCAN. Both costed me a meagre 2K INR.
Navigation display along with distance read out.
- Upgraded the high beam headlights to GEESONIC 55 W LED bulbs, with a color temperature of 6000K. Was a simple plug and play and the results are simply splendid. Did not touch the low beam HID or the fog lamps, as I am pretty satisfied with their performance. This costed me 4K INR. I have been careful since the Amaze days to not use the high beams in city conditions, so these LEDs do not blind the oncoming traffic.
Throw from only HID.
HID and High beam
- Installed illuminated sill plates from FORD, which do uplift the ambience a bit. This costed me 5K INR.
Few more pics:
My current ODO stands at 29K, and I wish the car retains all the positives for next 70 K Kms atleast. I will try to keep this thread updated in future and hope my ES serves me well for atleast next 5-6 years.
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