The well-equipped Ford EcoSport 1.5 Manual offers a nice ride and lots of appeal

Ford, with the EcoSport, offers a wide range of models. And while the mid-spec and top-end trims are popular enough, you’d be lucky to get your hands on the most affordable base petrol EcoSport. The carmaker has put bookings of this version on hold and the waiting period stretches to as much as six months in some cases.

It costs Rs. 5.8 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), but look at the equipment on this car and you’ll be hesitant to call it a base version — this Ambition spec has remote locking, power steering, air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and aux-in ports, power mirrors and front power windows and that makes it really good value for money.

As for how it drives, the base EcoSport works really well as a city car. The 1.5-litre petrol motor (the same as in the Fiesta) has healthy low-rev responses, so you can leave it in the higher gears and potter about all day. The clutch is light, the gearshift is slick and, like most Fords, this EcoSport is fun to drive. In fact, the good ride and fun-handling balance is matched by nothing else in this price range.

This 110bhp engine is known for its rather disappointing mid-range that feels gutless. If you want a quick burst of power, you have to downshift and get the engine spinning hard to get going fast again.

Still, it’s not slow. We didn’t get to test it under ideal test conditions but driven flat-out, our test car hit 100kph in 14.1sec, which is just 1.5sec off the time posted by the 1.0-litre EcoBoost. Where this one lags behind the EcoBoost is in the in-gear runs where the latter’s much stronger, turbo-assisted mid-range makes it much quicker.

On the outside, it is easy to distinguish the Ambition from the higher variants. It doesn’t get foglamps, the chrome highlights on the grille are missing, the mirrors and door-handles are not body coloured and it’s got full-size plastic wheel caps. Still, with its smart black body cladding and SUV-ish stance, this EcoSport has a nice, unfussy look to it.

It’s the same story on the inside — you won’t call it luxurious with its fabric seats shades of grey, but it’s certainly not cheap. What you will miss is a tachometer and the screen on the centre console that’s been replaced by a cubbyhole.

So this EcoSport is a well-judged product. For its price, it is well-equipped and retains the basic EcoSport traits of being a nice-riding, tidy handling pseudo-SUV. Sure, the engine could use a bit more grunt but apart from that, the Ambition comes across as an honest product that has lots of appeal.

Technical Data:

Price Rs 5.82 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Length 3999mm

Width 1765mm

Height 1708mm

Wheelbase 2520mm

Engine 4 cyls, 1499cc, petrol

Power 110bhp at 6300rpm

Torque 14.27kgm at 4400rpm

Transmission 5-speed, manual

Front suspension Independent, MacPherson struts, soil springs, stabiliser bar

Rear suspension Semi-independent, stabiliser bar

Brakes(f/r) Ventilated discs/drums

Tyre size 195/65 R15

Fuel tank 52 litres