Our reader Sunny Tolani visited the Infinity Mall in Mumbai where the Ford EcoSport was on display over the weekend to get a sense of the hype.
Immediately after, Sunny composed an email to Indian Autos Blog sharing thoughts on what is India's next sensation in the auto market. This is what he had to say:
Hi Indian Autos Blog,
The model on display at Infinity Mall was the EcoBoost Titanium variant. On first look I was like "wow what a beauty!", everyone present around me couldn't stop talking about the styling.
The best thing about the car is the driver's seat, the position was unlike other small cars though the feel of plushness is lacking. Among mini SUV's, I am sure this is going to be a driver's car and not a passenger's car! The boot space was pretty impressive, even the way the boot would open with just a touch was interesting.
What I expected out of the Titanium variant was the engine start-stop button, which was missing.
The seat covers were too dull, the premium feel wasn't just there. The finish of the dashboard and the door trims for a high end variant was disappointing. We also overheard a Ford official talk about a variant placed above which will have added features (Titanium+).
Chrome finish could have looked better on the inner part of the door handles, the dash looks like the Fiesta's but there are visible signs of cost cutting.
The rear seat has been projected as a drawback. The leg room is decent and will be accepted but the seating space is too cramped. It is not meant for five adults. Four adults and a child can be seated well.
After this pre-launch I am sure about 15 % of the genuine buyers would look for an alternative in this segment. However the EcoSport will enjoy great success if priced well as the closest competitor is the Duster. If priced well below the Duster, sales numbers will be good.
It's all in Ford India's hands, whether they want the EcoSport to follow the footsteps of the Figo or replay the Fiesta's fiasco through over-pricing it.
The final disappointing aspect is the launch date. We expected the car to launch in February, then March, April..now they say its not before June! Ford shouldn't test the patience of the genuine buyer this way.
If Maruti Suzuki begins testing the XA Alpha, and promises better rear seat comfort, the EcoSport will feel the jitters. But since there's no news from them today, I don't think anything will trouble the EcoSport for 2013. Till then the EcoSport is surely going to enjoy attention from all buyers.