With its Southeast Asian debut at the Bangkok International Motor Show this month, the Ford EcoSport's international rollout is now nearly complete. About the only market that won't get the handsomely rugged B-segment SUV is North America. The latest-generation EcoSport initially debuted in India at the New Delhi Auto Expo in January 2012.
The EcoSport was specifically designed to meet the unique needs of drivers in developing nations, where the desire for frugal fuel economy must be balanced by the need for sufficient ground clearance and ruggedness to deal with the sometimes primitive or neglected road infrastructure in those countries. Despite its compact size, the EcoSport can haul up to 25 cubic feet of cargo, large enough to hold a washing machine, Ford claims.
But the EcoSport is no stripped penalty box. Among the features available on the compact SUV are a cooled glovebox designed to hold up to six beverage cans, keyless entry and start, Ford's Sync multimedia system, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and an available dual-clutch six-speed automated transmission.
Although much was made of the availability of the 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder in some markets, the only engine officially announced for the EcoSport in Bangkok is a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 108 hp and 102 lb-ft of torque.
Ford already has a best-seller in the U.S. with the Escape. Is there room in Ford's North American product portfolio for a sub-Escape SUV?