The Ford EcoSport may be the oldest sub-compact SUV in the country, but it's due a very interesting update. Ford will soon be launching a new SE trim for the EcoSport in India, and the most interesting thing about this new trim is that it loses the distinctive tailgate-mounted spare wheel. The upcoming Ford EcoSport SE was recently spotted alongside the Titanium trim while shooting for a YouTube promo. The fact that the Titanium trim continues with its tailgate-mounted spare wheel in these images suggests that Ford will not be removing it from all the trims of the EcoSport.
Incidentally, the new Ford Ecosport SE is actually similar to the version that's sold in international markets like Europe and North America. Ford actually manufactures the export version of the EcoSport alongside the domestic model here in India. The export version of the EcoSport comes with an unique rear design where it misses out on the spare wheel and the number plate is positioned in the middle of the tail gate. It still continues to remain a side-hinged unit though, just like the regular version.
With the repositioning of the number plate, the rear bumper has also been redesigned with a new silver skid plate. Reports claim that Ford has decided to add this new trim to the India lineup after gauging customer feedback about the styling of export version of the EcoSport. This new version could widen the ageing EcoSport's appeal, particularly given how competitive this segment has become lately. While the deletion of the tailgate-mounted spare wheel does refresh the look of the EcoSport from the rear, it must be noted that the SE trim will not have a spare wheel fitted from the factory at all.
It is also interesting to note here that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) does not mandatorily require passenger vehicles falling under the M1 category to be fitted with a spare wheel, subject to certain conditions obviously. If the vehicle comes equipped with tubeless tires, a tire pressure monitoring system and a puncture repair kit - all of which the EcoSport SE is expected to have - the manufacturer does not need to install a spare wheel. All passenger vehicles with a seating capacity of up to nine occupants (including the driver) and weighing under 3.5 tonnes are classified under the M1 category.
It is, however, not known what will be the positioning of this new variant. It will likely sit below the Titanium and Sport trims of the EcoSport in India. The new Ford EcoSport SE will likely be offered with both the petrol and diesel engine options. That means the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol and the 1.5-litre diesel engine will both be available. The EcoSport is currently priced between INR 7.99 lakh and INR 11.49 lakh (ex-showroom) and the new SE variant should fit somewhere in between in terms of price.
[Image Source - IndianAuto.com]