The production version of the Ford EcoSport has been unveiled at the 2012 Beijing motor show, revealing the look of the new pint-sized SUV that will reach Australian showrooms in 2013.
Ford’s smallest SUV is based on the Fiesta city car and differs only in subtle ways to the concept vehicle that previewed the EcoSport at January’s Delhi Auto Expo.
Key changes include clear rather than opaque glass for the windows and production-realistic headlamps and tail-lights.
The spare wheel housing hanging on the swing-out rear door is retained, as well as the tri-section version of Ford’s trapezoidal grille that was inspired by Ford Australia’s 2011 update of the locally built Ford Territory.
Pictures also show the interior of the Ford EcoSport for the first time.
The EcoSport’s cabin is clearly related to the interior of the Fiesta that the SUV shares its platform with.
Shared parts include the main dash console that’s inspired by a Nokia mobile phone, Scuba mask-style instrument binnacle, door switches and steering wheel.
The front dash architecture, however, is taller than the Fiesta’s, reflecting the EcoSport’s higher-riding nature. This is complemented by an elevated seating position.
There are also different design executions for the heating and ventilation controls, (LCD) dash display screen and air vents.
Ford says the EcoSport, which will be built in India, features high-quality, soft-touch fabrics, which would give it another point of difference over the Fiesta that’s assembled with cheaper, harder plastics.
The EcoSport accommodates up to five people and includes a rear seat with recline adjustment. There’s also a storage drawer under the front passenger seat to bolster the interior’s practicality.
The Ford EcoSport is expected to start somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000, keeping it suitably positioned below the upcoming, larger 2013 Ford Kuga SUV and in proximity to rivals such as the Nissan Dualis.
Australian specifications won’t be revealed until closer to the EcoSport’s local launch, though features available for the range will include keyless entry and engine start, hill-start assist, rear parking sensors, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows and side mirrors, and Ford’s SYNC multimedia system with voice control.
On the safety front, front airbags are standard for the model unveiled in China, with optional side curtain airbags that would be expected to be standard on Australian versions – along with electronic stability control.
A 1.0-litre direct injection, turbocharged ‘EcoBoost’ three-cylinder will be among the engine options for the Ford EcoSport in Australia.
The tiny engine, which boasts a block the size of a piece of A4, produces 88kW of power, with 170Nm of torque delivered handily from as low as 1300rpm up to 4500rpm.
Power is sent to the front wheels via a standard five-speed manual or an optional six-speed dual-clutch auto. Ford says an all-wheel-drive version of the EcoSport is only likely if there is sufficient global customer demand.
Ford Australia is also considering a 1.5-litre petrol four-cylinder and 1.5-litre turbo diesel for the EcoSport that measures just over four metres in length.