Ford EcoSport vs Tata Nexon
- Published On: 19 December 2017
- 6 min read
We put the only two petrol-powered compact SUVs on sale in India up against each other. Here is the result.
The shift from diesel to petrol has occurred in almost every segment of the Indian market, except SUVs. India’s top-selling SUV, the Maruti Vitara Brezza does not even have a petrol option. The other big-seller, the Creta, is mostly sold in diesel form. However, the demand for petrol powertrains are on a rise and this is the big reason why manufacturers like Tata are keen to get a share of the petrol market. The Nexon we are driving currently uses the latest generation Revotron engine. This motor is part of Tata’s all-new petrol motor family. Similarly, Ford is also going all-in with petrol power; the new EcoSport is equipped with a high-tech engine which is part of Ford’s Dragon range.
The Nexon is a completely new car and marks Tata’s entry into the compact SUV segment. On the other hand, Ford has significantly updated the EcoSport. So, does the new compact SUV on the block stand a chance? Let’s find out.
On the Outside
The EcoSport has a more old-school SUV stance, with the typical tailgate-mounted spare. The hexagonal grille is now higher and more aggressively placed, this upright styling has worked for Ford and they are standing by it. On the other hand, Tata has opted for a radical styling with a coupe like roofline and squat SUV stance. The Nexon also has the manufacturer’s broad grille, large wheels and huge arches. The Nexon’s concept car-like looks will be the deciding factor for most buyers.
On the Inside
Tata’s have always been known for their roomy interiors and the Nexon stays true to that. The coupe-like roofline is actually an illusion, where the manufacturer has achieved it by dropping the rear window line into where a quarter glass would sit. At the rear, the Nexon can easily sit three people but the EcoSport cannot, due to its narrow width. If interior room is what you are looking for, the Nexon has the advantage here.
At the front however, it is a different story. Both cars have adequate seats, but finding an ergonomic driving position in the Nexon is difficult. Moreover, the seats feel extremely firm and lack support. However, where the Tata does score points is the interior quality, the materials used on surfaces like the dashboard top, roof lining are top notch. The EcoSport has a few quality areas too – like the buttons and knobs are easier to operate. The Ford also has selectable ambient lighting in the front footwell, which is nice but limited to only that area.
How Do They Drive?
Being petrol-powered, the engine refinement now becomes an important parameter. And in this regard, both do not disappoint. The engines on both cars are refined even though they are three-cylinder units. Both motors are vibration-free and silent for the most part, but it’s the Ford’s motor that is better overall. Tata has just entered this petrol engine world, and this is visible when on the move. This Revotron motor is made of aluminium and features tech like Variable Valve Timing for inlet and exhaust. This motor puts out a decent 110hp and 170Nm. But, its biggest negative is its drivability. Moreover, the delivery is not as smooth as its competition. This makes driving the Nexon smoothly considerably difficult in spite of choosing any of the three driver modes. Of the three modes – City, Eco and Sport, the Sport has the highest redline. Overall, the Nexon’s motor does its job decently.
The Dragon motor in the EcoSport is really good, it has a linear power delivery, which is superb. This motor goes about doing what it should in an uninterrupted manner. It also edges out the Tata in acceleration figures, with a 0-100kph time of 12.10 seconds while the Nexon does it in 12.33 seconds. To add that, the Ford also puts out better fuel-efficiency figures, returning better figures in city as well as the highway. Coming to their gearboxes, the Nexon uses a six-speed unit while the EcoSport gets a five-speed unit. The gearing on the Tata is tall and the gear lever and clutch are light and easy to use.
Which One Should I Buy?
The facelifted Ford EcoSport has stepped up the compact SUV’s game – the overall ride and handling has improved. It also has the features one would expect from a car of its class. The biggest improvement comes in the form of the new motor, which outperforms the Nexon’s in a large way. It is also the more refined and enjoyable to drive of the two.
Tata’s Nexon in its top-spec trim sells for ₹8.44 lakh, which makes it ₹70,000 cheaper than the top-spec Ford that sells for ₹9.17 lakh (All prices ex-showroom). This price difference and the impressive styling of the Nexon will make most buyers go the Tata way. Furthermore, the comfortable ride, more interior room and more features should make it the winner of the two. However, the Nexon is lacking in one big way and that is its petrol engine. It lacks refinement and has uncertain power delivery which will be a big let-down. This means, the EcoSport is still the better car and the Nexon has a few things to learn.