Ford EcoSport A Fiesta-Based CUV For Slumdog Thousandaires

Ford's unveiled the next-generation EcoSport mini-crossover at the New Delhi Auto Show. The Fiesta-based soft-roader is intended mostly for emerging-market countries like Brazil and India, where the need for basic transportation is rapidly being overtaken by a desire to show some style.

The new EcoSport has a face that looks like it belongs on a totem pole or the side a Javanese temple, but otherwise it's a very mainstream mix of wannabe-tough looks and tall seating on a standard small-car platform. If it's anything like the current EcoSport it'll be primarily a FWD vehicle with AWD as an option.

Ford's smallest softroader is powered, appropriately, by a new member of Ford's EcoBoost engine family. The turbocharged direct-injected one-liter three-cylinder spins out around 120 hp and an appreciable 125 lb/ft of torque in a nice flat plateau from 1300 to 4500 rpm. An interesting detail: Instead of using a standard balance shaft to quell vibes from the three-cylinder, the EcoSport motor uses a specially-weighted "unbalanced" flywheel and pulley.

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The EcoSport is a further step away from stereotypes about the emerging-market cars that revolve around motorized rickshaws, tinny metal boxes and flaming Tata Nanos.

Could you see an EcoSport in your driveway? Ford's only saying the car will be available in upcoming markets in Asia, Brazil, and India. For now, the new Escape's the smallest CUV Ford's offering in the U.S. but we've seen AWD Fiesta mules here in the U.S. at Ford's HQ so there's some hope for Ford's folks in Bangalore to share the platform with their brothers in Baltimore.