By Maulik Asher.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION:
The Ford Ecosport comes with 3 engine options: a 1.0l petrol(ecoboost),1.5l petrol and most importantly the 1.5l TDCi diesel. The 1.5l petrol engine is available with a 5-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed dual clutch gearbox. The 1.5l diesel motor shared with the Fiesta, which produces 90bhp(at 3750 rpm) and 204Nm of torque. Well that may not sound much on paper but with a power-to-wait ratio of 72bhp/ton, it is almost identical to that of the 85Ps duster. It has an ARAI fuel economy of 22.67kpl which is respectable for a car that size.
The Renault duster on the other hand comes with a 1.6l petrol engine, and the reliable 1.5l Dci diesel motor, which is seen in the Logan, Micra, Sunny and now Duster. This is available in two states of tune, a 85Ps motor coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission, and a 110Ps motor with the 6-speed manual gearbox. Unfortunately, Renault does not offer the Duster with an automatic transmission here. The 85Ps version produces a torque of 200Nm at 1900rpm.This means that the car is ideal for city use as there is adequate amount of low-end torque. On the other hand if you will be using the vehicle for highway trips the 110Ps version will be ideal as it produces 248Nm of torque at a slightly higher 2250rpm.Their claimed ARAI fuel economy are 20.45kpl and 19.01kpl.
The exterior styling of both the cars is quite extreme in comparison. The Duster has the Butch, rugged and old school SUV look with plastic cladding used on the bumpers, a side-step and roof rails. The monotony of clean lines is broken by the beefed up wheel arches. There is generous use of chrome all around the car. Also the top-end RXZ and RXL(O) variants, the door handles and roof rails are painted in silver color. Overall it is a simple yet good-looking SUV.
The Ecosport on the other hand looks quite contemporary and stylish. It is one of the any products inspired by the kinetic design theme. Also the boot release lever is integrated in the tail lamp cluster itself, smart. But the highlight has to be the spare wheel, as this is what gives the ecosport its SUV-look. That said the car is quite small which is obvious as it is under 4-metres. But that said, Ford’s designers have done a great job of masking it’s dimensions and the difference is only obvious from some particular viewing angles. Overall the Ecosport design is quite modern and aggressive and will appeal to the youth.
INTERIOR AND EQUIPMENT
As we step inside the Duster we notice that the cabin is very airy. Also it has a good seating position. The interior has a lot of use of lighter colors but unfortunately the choice of materials used and fit & finish is not up to the mark when compared to the Ecosport cabin which is well put together and futuristic. The backlight and dials are blue in color and also the dashboard is black&grey thus it does feel a little cramped. But for a 4metre car, the rear bench of the Ecosport can comfortably fit 2 adults and a child whereas the Duster can easily fit 3 full-sized adults. Also the boot space of the Duster is a lot more at 475l when compared to the 362l boot space of the Ecosport. The equipment levels of the Ecosport are better than the Duster. The top-end variant of ecosport comes with 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, Sync system,4speakers with 2 tweeters, keyless entry&go and leather seats when compared to the Duster which only gets 2 airbags, ABS, EBD and a basic music system.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Well, this is the interesting part in the comparison. Both cars have a very similar suspension setup. The Duster almost glides over the potholes and speed-breakers in comparison to the Ecoports ride, which is a little harder. The Duster’s suspension setup is ideal for our Indian conditions. But as a result the handling of the Duster is not as good as that of the Ecosport. The steering unit in both cars is an electric one but the Ecosport lives up to the Ford reputation and has better steering feedback, although nowhere close to the steering feel of the old Fiesta.
Well to sum it up both cars have their own advantages and disadvantages. The Duster is the car for you if you intend of taking 4 passengers with their luggage. It surely has much more space and also a very comfortable ride. The Ecosport on the other hand is a smaller car, but it does everything the Duster does in a slightly better way, except of course the space and ride issues. But does the extra 2 lakhs you pay for the Duster justify the space you get for an extra adult? Well in my opinion it really doesn’t so the Ecosport clearly is the car to choose from the two.