The Ford Ecosport has been the default choice of compact SUV buyers. Its attractive price, punchy diesel engine as well as big cabin attracting buyers from the hatchback as well as sedan space. But the car no faces its biggest threat till date in the new Maruti Brezza now. Maruti bosses want that buyers who will upgrade from their hatchbacks do so at a Maruti showroom. The Brezza follows similar recipe that the Ecosport has been using for years. So has Maruti got the better dish or is the Ecosport still worth a second look?
While styling is a matter of personal opinion, it’s easy to see why the Ecosport has been such a huge hit. Its huge grille upfront as well as the raising waistline give it a mean and macho SUV look. The flared wheel arches and chunky tyres add to the appeal as well.
The Brezza is built on a modified SX4 platform. It doesn’t look as intimidating as the Ecosport does but has a nice ‘easy on the eye’ design. Its boxy headlamps and tail lamps gel well with the rectangular grille upfront. For dramatic effect Maruti has added a two tone roof. Overall, it’s a design that won’t offend many buyers.
The interiors of the Ecosport look a bit dull now and the centre console with its plethora of buttons can be intimidating for first time users. That said, it does come with the option of six-airbags as well as Fords emergency assist (where the car will automatically dial an emergency service in case of a mishap). These are things Maruti doesn’t offer even as an option. In isolation the front seats of the Ecosport are decent but compared to the Maruti you will realise that they aren’t as long or wide or even as well cushioned.
The Maruti’s rear seats offer better space and comfort as well and the bigger glass area means that the Brezza doesn’t feel claustrophobic like the Ecosport on long journeys.
The Brezza also gets Maruti’s 7-inch touch screen panel, which has Apples Carplay. Using this system you can mirror your phone’s apps onto the screen. It’s a feel-good cabin which the Ford can’t match.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The Ecosport uses a 1.5-litre engine with 100bhp of power and 205Nm of torque compared to the Brezza’s 1.3-litre unit with 90bhp and 200Nm.
Where the Ford excels is in power delivery. The power is built low in the rpm band, which means that you don’t have to be shifting gears constantly. The Brezza on the other end needs atleast 2000 revs to get going substantially and also needs constant gearshifts to be in the right power band.
Despite the extra power on the Ford, performance is more or less similar to the Brezza, since the Maruti is nearly 100kgs lighter. Engine refinement on the Brezza feels as good as on the Ford.
The gearbox on the Maruti, with its short, crisp throws is clearly ahead of the Ecosport. The Ford has accurate throws but needs a heavy hand to shift and also feels more mechanical to operate.
Ride and handling
The Brezza has a light steering wheel, which makes it a better car for city driving. The lighter weight of the car makes it feel a lot more nimble than the Ecosport as well. That said, the Ecosport is clearly the better handling car of the two. It has a crisper steering and a more agile chassis too.
In terms of ride comfort, the Brezza is the better bet. It offers a pliant ride at slow city speeds and as speeds build up, the car feels stable too. It’s only the sharp expansion joints or rumble strips that filter into the cabin.
The Ecosport is good in the city but some sharp crevices do filter in though.
The Ecosport is the better bet for safety as well as keen drivers. The Brezza though comes across as a more rounded package which has comfort, space as well as style. Being a Maruti gives it the added advantage of good resale values and low running costs.
Images by Mohd. Nasir