bangkok, Thailand — The all-new Ford EcoSport makes its much-anticipated debut in ASEAN at the 34th Bangkok International Motor Show, tapping into a growing desire in the region for an urban SUV that combines the agility, affordability and fuel efficiency of a compact car with the flexibility and spaciousness of a sport utility vehicle.
Based on Ford’s global B-segment platform, the Ford EcoSport is an aspirational alternative to the compact car, spacious for five adults and their gear. The SUV’s blend of versatility and smart connectivity will attract a target of independent lifestyle customers who not only live life to the full but also love exploring the world at large. Its high driving position, rugged capability, superior fuel economy and convenient features all make it just the right vehicle for both city streets and mountain roads.
The well-rounded EcoSport is also just as comfortable wading through 550 mm of water as it is keeping the driver entertained with hands-free phone calls and music selection with the Ford SYNC® in-car connectivity system. It also makes sure the driver and occupants will always have a cold drink at hand, with a glove box that can keep up to six beverage cans cool.
Ford is showcasing its top-of-the-line model, the EcoSport Titanium, on stage in Bangkok. Painted in distinctive Mars Red, the EcoSport Titanium is fitted with a sunroof, 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels and a chrome grille.
The Ford EcoSport will be built at the company’s new state-of-the-art Ford Thailand Manufacturing facility in Rayong, which will supply the entire ASEAN region as well as other export markets. Other manufacturing locations include China, India and South America. The stylish SUV will be available in about 100 markets around the world.
“The all-new Ford EcoSport is yet another milestone in our product-led transformation across the region,” said Matt Bradley, president, Ford ASEAN. “It marries the best of both worlds – fusing the manoeuvrability and fuel economy of a compact car with the practicality and robustness of an SUV in a contemporary package.”
Beauty inside and out
At first glance, the distinctive and aerodynamic Ford EcoSport looks like it’s ready to pounce. A wide hood sweeps into sculpted bodylines, conveying a dynamic spirit of energy in motion. Slim headlamps frame a high-mounted trapezoidal grille which gives the compact SUV a signature Ford face.
Blacked out B-pillars unify the side glass into one elegant shape, while the muscular beltline, formed by the windows and door creases, ascends as it runs to the rear of the car. At the back, the large rear window wraps around to the sides along with oblique tail lamps. To keep the rear profile sleek, the tailgate handle was built into the tail lamp.
The spare tyre, with an exclusively designed wheel and cover, is mounted on the tailgate as a classic SUV cue, as well as for practical reasons. This results in more available cargo space in the vehicle, and makes it easier for customers to lift heavy loads into the vehicle over the lower bumper.
Inside, soft-touch fabrics, tight gaps and the global Ice Blue dashboard illumination all reinforce superior quality and craftsmanship. Controls and knobs are ergonomically placed while seats are designed to be soft enough for comfort and firm enough for longer journeys.
Cool, clever capability
Full of innovative features, the Ford EcoSport makes life easier for customers. Drivers no longer need their keys ready either to unlock the SUV or to start its engine. They can just leave the key in a pocket or bag.
With Smart Keyless Entry, the doors unlock automatically as the driver pulls the door handle, particularly useful when in a hurry or carrying heavy loads. Once inside, a press of the motorsport-inspired Ford Power Start button gets the engine going. Drivers no longer have to be annoyed over having a bunch of keys dangling at knee level.
Another ingenious feature is the award-winning Ford SYNC system, which uses voice-activation technology to enable owners to answer phone calls and select music from devices connected via Bluetooth or USB. First introduced to Thailand on the all-new Ford Focus, SYNC is now making its way into the compact car segment.
To take the stress out of driving, the EcoSport comes with an array of driver-assist systems. Rear parking sensors keep customers from backing into obstacles they cannot see. Hill Launch Assist ensures they can make a perfect hill start whether it’s an uphill or downhill slope, by holding the SUV for up to 2.5 seconds while the driver’s foot moves from the brake to the accelerator pedal.
The EcoSport’s agile, manoeuvrable chassis also features electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) for outstanding steering response and improved fuel efficiency. The SUV offers advanced safety items, such as dual front airbags and side curtain airbags, as well as Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program.
“We packed the EcoSport with a long list of smart and intuitive features that can help reduce the frustration that can accompany congested urban traffic,” said Graham Pearson, vehicle line director for small cars, Ford Asia Pacific. “From an award-winning connectivity system that plays your favourite music at a single voice command to advanced technologies that help you remain in control of the SUV at all times, the EcoSport keeps you relaxed as you drive.”
Ready for work and play
The Ford EcoSport will launch with the global 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which delivers 108 PS of power and peak torque of 138 Nm. Depending on the market it can be mated to either the fuel-efficient six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission or the five-speed manual transmission.
The engine features twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) technology which allows extremely precise, variable control of “valve overlap” – the window of time in which both the intake and exhaust vales in an engine are open at the same time. For the driver, this means improved low-speed torque and increased fuel economy.
On top of fuel-efficient power to get customers to where they need to go, the trusty EcoSport also leaves plenty of room for what they need to carry. The cabin has been maximised for ample headroom and knee room for all occupants.
The rear seats can be reclined for greater comfort or folded down for additional cargo space. With the rear seats tumbled against the front seats, the boot space increases to 705 litres, big enough to fit a washing machine. If needed, the rear seats can be split 60/40 to transport long objects such as flat-pack furniture while still carrying passengers at the back.
Driving momentum in ASEAN
Ford has been on a roll in its ASEAN region with overall 2012 retail sales rising 27 percent year-over-year to 87,623 units, its best-ever annual performance. Last year, Ford Thailand’s retail sales rose 88 percent from 2011 to 54,865 units. It was Ford Thailand’s all-time best annual performance and made Ford one of the fastest growing automotive brands in the country for the second consecutive year.
Such extraordinary growth is being driven by the continuous introduction of high-quality and segment-leading vehicles from Ford’s global product portfolio. The all-new Ford EcoSport is expected to ratchet up the sales momentum in the region even further.
“Ford has been going from strength to strength in ASEAN with our segment-leading One Ford vehicles,” said Bradley. “We’re confident that the all-new EcoSport will draw even more new customers into our Ford showrooms.”
Introduced in South America in 2003, the ground-breaking first EcoSport model established a new segment there and has gone on to sell more than 700,000 units in the region. The project was led by Ford’s Development Centre in Brazil, one of the most specialised in the development of compact cars. The team leveraged Ford engineering strength and SUV expertise globally to create the all-new EcoSport, which is projected to help drive additional growth for Ford around the world.
Graham Pearson, Vehicle Line Director, Small Car, Ford Asia Pacific, describes the all-new EcoSport during the Ford press conference in Bangkok.
Matt Bradley, president, Ford ASEAN, with the all-new EcoSport after it was unveiled on the Ford stand at the 34th Bangkok International Motor Show.