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Duster vs EcoSport: Fully Fledged War

Although powered by the same capacity motor displacing 1.5 Litres, there is considerable power output difference with Duster having 110 PS of power on its disposal compared to 90 PS of EcoSport. 


Duster vs EcoSport: Fully Fledged War

With the advent of all new EcoSport in market, Ford has blown its bugle of war against the Renault by drawing the clear battle lines against its hot selling urban proposition; Duster. Futuristic styling, ultra-chic design, staggering range of variants and ridiculously competitive price are some of the aces EcoSport have up its sleeve though brushing off the challenge of Duster won’t be a cakewalk for this newly incepted Ford. Renault has hit its first Indian sales jackpot with Duster and riding high on the virtues of practicality and value for money, Duster has indeed made a special place in the hearts of Indian consumers. Despite of the all-prevalent low market sentiments in industry, Duster has ensured that cash counters of Renault still keep ringing by clinching sales not only from its intended target customers but also from a notch higher and lower competition too. This bears testimony about the popularity quotient of this French quasi-SUV; thereby making it even more difficult for EcoSport to dethrone it from its leadership position. But now as Ford has staked its claim on this SUV turf, a fully fledged bloody war between these two players is inevitable to happen. Even right now we, at ecardlr, can clearly sense the simmering tensions and desperation that is ruling the SUV atmosphere as these two heavy-weights are ready to slug it out openly. Though sales numbers of both these vehicles in coming months will clear the fog about the customer preference between these two; you need not to wait for that much long to ascertain the real mettle of both these urban SUVs’. Just go ahead; read eacrdlr’s candid and precise road test comparison where in this week we have pitted EcoSport right against the Renault’s Duster to choose our new king of compact urban SUV jungle.

MUSCLES AND MIGHT

Out of these two vehicles; new kid on the block i.e. EcoSport looks futuristic and even ahead of the contemporary designs of many saloons in market.  High stance, ultra-chic design and tight skinning make EcoSport look very sporty and a quite in-your-face design. Steeply raked front windscreen and wrapped around rear one blend seamlessly with overall design language used by the Ford engineers. Its profile view with rising shoulder line and pronounced wheel arches give it the character of an SUV while rear mounted spare wheel completes the sporty pretensions of this vehicle.

 

                                    


All around running black cladding looks nice though the rising belt line in the profile has eaten out some of the very useful glass area of windows. Rear door handle fitted in rear dummy tail light on right side is an innovative touch though it doesn’t feel sturdy enough to take all that abuse.

                                                     

Renault’s Duster in comparison to EcoSport looks a bit plain and bland design though in isolation it would have fared well. Because of its longer and wider dimensions, Duster feels more like an SUV and bulging wheel arches cement this cue. Everything here seems to be having designed with some open hands and unlike EcoSport Duster hasn’t restricted itself under the 4 metres length restriction to avail excise exemptions. Glass area here too feel small in profile but it is larger than the EcoSport.


                                       


Park alongside with Duster, EcoSport looks a way smaller than Duster due to its smaller dimensions of length and width. Although in height, EcoSport dwarfs Duster by 13 mm it is hardly perceptible because of the more pronounced roof rails of Duster. Clearly the restrictions in length has provided some pricing and practicality benefits to EcoSport but then with these small dimensions Ford has also to manage the fight on the room and comfort front. But as far as this first round of bout is concerned, Ford has managed to steal the show with its more futuristic and contemporary styled EcoSport. 
                               

                    EcoSport: *****                                                                           
DUSTER: *****


HOLDING CAPACITY
 
Both these urban SUVs’ come with the provision of two rows of seats with the standard capacity of 5 passengers. On the space front both cars are good but the Duster holds the advantage here in terms of rear seat space. Being wider and lengthier, second row of Duster is far more comfortable and convincing than the Ford’s EcoSport. Three persons at the back will feel more comfortable in Duster than in EcoSport. Thigh support too is present more in Duster back seat while EcoSport misses out on this important aspect. Head room is great in both the SUVs’ and won’t create a point of differentiation in any body’s favour.
 

 

 

                                

 

 

Move to front seat and the advantage of Duster tends to start losing its relevance as front seat of EcoSport feels roomier and comfortable than Duster. The legroom is more in EcoSport and so is the overall bolstering level. As dash board of the EcoSport has been stashed further into front windscreen and that liberates more legroom and roomier feeling. Quality and overall layout of EcoSport interiors, like its exteriors, feels plusher and luxurious in comparison to somewhat lifeless and inanimate scheme of Renault.
 

                                   

Quality of plastics and grain are better in EcoSport; at least by two notches and while both the vehicles have erroneous ergonomics issues, these are more glaring in Duster than in EcoSport.  The steering wheel mounted volume controls that are actually tucked behind the steering and outside rear view mirror adjustment electric switch under the hand-brake are some of the bizarrely committed mistakes by the French auto maker. EcoSport too has some glitches in terms of overcrowded centre console with more than required buttons and sport instrument cluster that actually hinder the readability of the dials but still these are not as horrible to live as in case of Duster.

Both vehicles have not the bragging and boasting size boot capacity though in comparison to EcoSport’s 362 litres, Duster offer marginally better 475 litres of pace. A jump seat also comes in the Duster trunk that could be useful to small children though no such convenience is on offer in Ford’s EcoSport.
 

                                               
     
                             EcoSport:
*****                                                DUSTER: *****


UNDER THE HOOD
 
Although powered by the same capacity motor displacing 1.5 Litres, there is considerable power output difference with Duster having 110 PS of power on its disposal compared to 90 PS of EcoSport. Similarly there is excess torque of 44 Nm in case of Duster with net output of 248 Nm while EcoSport has total of 204 Nm to play with. Like their styling and interior philosophy, there is sea level of difference in real world performance of these SUVs’. Ford’s EcoSport feels eager, light and more sure-footed right from down the rev-range of operation. Its linear power delivery, light clutch and sleek shifts make more relaxed drive in city’s stop-start traffic condition. Coupled with tiny dimensions, EcoSport is like a breeze to drive in the urban jungle and is sure to excite the commuters with its fragile and responsive nature. Ford’s dura-torq engine has excess of the power to steer the EcoSport comfortable in mid range too and the overall package of engine and transmission is a commendable offering from the Ford.

                                                       

 
In sharp contrast to low rev-ability of EcoSport, Renault’s Duster takes some time to wake up. Its turbo lag is quite evident and only after crossing the low revolutions barrier, turbo spools up. From then the low speed shrug of the Duster briskly changes into high speed chase that is capable to bypass any vehicle on the highways. Sheer size and wider dimensions make Duster more compatible to highway driving than fitting smoothly in city commotion.

Both the SUVs’ come with manual transmission with Duster having an advantage of extra 6th gear. This adds to the highway ability of this vehicle and helps the Duster to juice out extra miles for every litre of fuel. Comparing the mechanicals of clutch and gearbox, Ford is miles ahead of its French counterpart. Its clutch feels light, progressive and gear shift is far sleeker compared to heavy and sluggish responses of Duster. However the driving view is more commanding in case of Duster because of wide and squarish dimensions. Outer traffic judging is a complicated affair in EcoSport as the raked windscreen and bonnet offer little help in assessing the outer world from inside.

                             EcoSport: *****                                                DUSTER: *****

DYNAMIC COMPETENCE

In terms of suspension hardware, both the vehicles use the same hardware up front with McPherson strut up front doing the duty along with coil spring and anti roll bar. At the rear however, Duster relies on torsion beam axle while EcoSport employs semi-independent twist beam. Duster uses the wider tyres with 215 mm of width on 16” of alloys while EcoSport accounts on 15” alloys shrouded with 195 mm wide rubber. 


Over the years, Ford’s dynamic package has earned a name for itself and EcoSport steps in the tradition with exact heredity. Though some of the dynamics has been spoiled as centre of gravity has moved a bit higher in EcoSport (because of high ground clearance), EcoSport still remains a very dynamic SUV ready to confront almost all that is thrown its way. Its fun to drive, takes the corners with confidence and unpredictable manoeuvres are dispatched with no regret. That said, there are some apprehensions on the low speed ride of EcoSport that is a bit jittery and wallow. Slow speed jerks are transmitted straight into cabin and this is the only area in which Ford could improve its dynamic sense.
   
                                          

And exactly here, Duster gains its ground against the Ford. With soft suspension setting, the ride comfort of Duster is far ahead of EcoSport. The occupants feel more relaxed and confident in the back seat of Duster. Also due to wider dimensions, the stability of highway will also be a big positive of Duster when compared directly against small foot print; EcoSport. That said, it loses the fight on all other fronts. Compared to EcoSport, Duster has a considerable more body roll as it tends to get off the line on unplanned lane changes. Body dynamics are poor and it feels a considerable heavier on the go than EcoSport.   

                                        EcoSport: *****                                                DUSTER: *****

OVERALL VERDICT

About a year ago, when Duster came everybody got surprised at its starting price tag of Rs 7.99 lakh. Now a year later, EcoSport came and smashed down that benchmark with its ridiculously low starting price of Rs 5.59 lakh.  Of course the excise duty exemption played a significant role still it took some time for us to digest this ultra-low cost pleasant surprise from Ford. Comparing head on the fully loaded diesel models of both the vehicles gives the price difference of around. Compared to Duster’s cost price of Rs 12 lakh, EcoSport top model is retailed at about Rs 9 lakh.  This converts to saving of Rs 3 lakh which heavily tilts the value for money balance on EcoSport side. This situation is exactly reminiscent of the one we witnessed in case of Ertiga and Innova where Ertiga is capable of doing all that Innova can but at far lesser price. Similar story follows here and except the wider back seat space and highway ability, there is nothing in Duster that you can’t get in EcoSport package.


In fact EcoSport has some of the distinctive advantages related to its size, city performance and exquisitely designing that is sure to grab more eyeballs than Duster commands today. So if you are not adamant about having some roomier cabin with wider trunk area, EcoSport ticks all the right boxes for you.

                       
     EcoSport: *****                                                                                                     DUSTER: *****

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