Monday, April 10, 2017
Refreshed 2017 Ford EcoSport Debuts for Asia-Pacific
The refreshed EcoSport is inching its way to an ASEAN and quite possibly, a Philippine reveal very soon as Ford showcased their facelifted sub-compact SUV at its Go Further event in Shanghai, China. The EcoSport’s unveil in China marks the first time it’s been shown in Asia-Pacific. It will also be part of the Ford stand in the upcoming Auto Shanghai motor show.
As with its US counterpart, the refreshed EcoSport features a reshaped front end with a larger trapezoidal grille and lower grille that tie it better with the other members of the Ford SUV family. The sculpted hood now has a wider central dome for a muscular appearance. The headlights now feature LED daytime running lights while larger front fog lamps complete the edgier, more aggressive look.
According to Ford, the 2017 refresh is both aesthetic and functional. More than a million hours were dedicated in studying computer fluid dynamics and more than 200 hours in a wind tunnel to validate the refinements done to the EcoSport’s aerodynamics.
For the interior, Ford has taken steps to make the EcoSport more people-centric. Through this process, Ford established that drivers would tolerate the migration of some controls to digital (8-inch touchscreen) while others remain as traditional knobs or controls. In fact, the refreshed EcoSport features larger, more conveniently placed knobs that can be operated even when wearing gloves. The screen itself has been placed closer to the driver’s line of sight.
Apart from the use more premium and soft-touch materials around, particularly on the upper instrument panel, the 2017 EcoSport has more storage bins including a large media bin that’s big enough to accommodate an iPhone 7 Plus while charging. The bin also comes with two illuminated USB ports. The media bin is just one of 27 compartments throughout the EcoSport’s cabin offering convenient places for cups, bottled drinks, sunglasses, and umbrellas. The rear seats also fold flat in a 60/40 split maximizing rear cargo space.
The new EcoSport features Ford’s in-car infotainment system, SYNC 3, which allows drivers to control their entertainment, climate settings and navigation, as well as their connected smartphone, all with conversational voice commands. SYNC 3 offers much faster performance than previous generations and features simpler voice commands. Plus, customers with iPhones can use SYNC 3 to connect to Apple CarPlay, the smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car. This allows drivers to make phone calls, access their music, send and receive messages, get directions and more, all while staying focused on the road.
Also announced at its Asia-Pacific reveal is the 2017 EcoSport’s engine line-up. Here, it’s being offered with a choice of 3 gasoline engines: a powerful 2.0-liter Duratec direct-injection engine that’s optimized for city operation; the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder engine; and an all-new 1.5-liter Ti-VCT engine that’s smaller, lighter, stronger, and more fuel efficient than the previous engine. The improved power is matched with improved fuel efficiency. All wheel drive is an available option for higher variants. The EcoSport also comes with a new Auto Start-Stop system automatically shuts off the engine when idling at a red light and quickly restarts it when the driver lifts a foot off the brake, helping to save fuel and reduce emissions.
Ford is also ditching its maligned dual clutch automatic in the EcoSport. In its place is a conventional 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. It comes as standard on all engines. A new, sportier steering wheel with paddle shifters also enhances the driver involvement.
Though the new 2017 Ford EcoSport will start retail in China later this year, no indications have been made on when it will launch for the ASEAN region. However, as Ford gears up its assembly plants to manufacture the refreshed EcoSport (it will be sold in 100 markets, including the US), it’s only going to be a matter of time when it will arrive here. Ford Philippines cannot afford to take this fight sitting down since it has been a consistent best-seller for them since its market introduction.