Segmental demarcation of Indian automobile market is rapidly losing its relevance as cross-category competition is becoming more of a reality with each passing day. This blurring of boundaries has not only intensified competition but also made the things quite confusing for prospective buyers. For instance, expeditious rise of compact SUVs has disoriented hatchbacks as chunk of their business is driven away by these fledging city-friendly SUVs. Newest kid on hatchback block Hyundai Elite i20 is facing same competitive heat and though it has received unprecedented response, its sales could have been certainly better in absence of compact SUVs.Leading the SUV charge is Ford EcoSport that has literally taken the wind of the hatchback’s sails and now seen as a grave threat to whole hatchback community. Even prospects of Elite i20 are being trapped by this Ford as appeal of owning a SUV is clearly sabotaging potential of Hyundai. Soif like many others, you too are stuck in this choice delusion, our road test comparison review is just what the doctor ordered to get out of this dilemma. Stay tight and be careful not to lose sight of important details of this road test comparison review featuring Hyundai Elite i20 and Ford EcoSport. We are sure at the end; you will be able to make a right and appropriate selection decision between these two equally competitive propositions.
Despite being different category warriors, both these mammals belong to sub-4 meter length in order to gain very lucrative excise exemption. On length, width and height, EcoSport dwarfs Elite i20 by slender margin though on crucial aspect of wheelbase, i20 gets its nose head with 50 mm advantage over EcoSport. EcoSport, however, is better prepared to take on variety of terrains owing to its huge ground clearance of 200 mm which is 30 mm more than Hyundai Elite i20.
Gorgeously crafted Elite i20
Comparing the looks of both vehicles is like comparing apples with oranges. While EcoSport is muscular, manly SUV, Elite i20 is sophisticated and elegantly designed hatchback. Ford and Hyundai have deigned their respective vehicles in line with their positioning. None of the vehicle here deviates from its positioning aspect and that makes both these vehicles quite competent in their positioning strategy. Elite i20 is quite a looker and one of the best designs iteration of Hyundai till date. Understated frontage, sleek profile and floating roof make Elite i20 gorgeous and sophisticated lass. Rear of this Hyundai is equally attractive as wrap around tail lamps are detailed exceptionally well.
Macho & Muscular EcoSport
Ford EcoSport has infused a plenty of aggression in EcoSport – it has beefy hunches, muscular arches and large open mouthed grille. Profile is sporty and aggressively beefed up with muscular arches though high window line does eats away a lot of inside space feel of this SUV. Rear sportiness is enhanced by gate mounted wheel though it impinges on the practicality of this SUV. Overall the EcoSport looks sporty and adventurous and despite of being around for some time, it still feels fresh in its turnout.
On looks front, there is tie as both Hyundai and Ford are one of the best looking cars in their own segments. Both vehicles drives home the point which their respective manufacturers wants to stress upon and this makes both these vehicles equally competent on looks front.
Elite i20: 4/5 EcoSport: 4/5
Space and Quality
Hyundai has got upper hand as far as cabin altercation is concerned as the Korean manufacturer is leaps ahead of its American counterpart on both quality and space front. The only positive that EcoSport has to rely upon is its boot space that is more practical and voluminous than on Elite i20.
Quality cabin of Elite i20
Elite i20 not only features superior quality here but also comes longer equipment list. Choice of material, stitching prowess, colour combination and ergonomics are far better in Elite i20 than in EcoSport. Further the back seat space and comfort is better off in Hyundai and though one sits higher in EcoSport than in i20, the seating recline is better mastered by Hyundai than Ford. That said, the driving position of EcoSport offers more visibility and confidence owing to higher seating position.
Hard-wearing material in EcoSport; lacks luxurious feel
Ford offers more trunk space as it comes with 346 litres of boot space while the Elite i20 has 285 litres of boot capacity. Now though Ford offers more storage space, the high loading lip means that one has to use more muscle power in Ford than in Hyundai while loading-unloading manoeuvres. EcoSport also hold edge over steering feedback as its wheel is more chunky and intuitive on road compared to Elite i20.
Elite i20: 4/5 EcoSport: 3/5
Ford 1.5-litre TDCi engine is well-known and acclaimed motor that pushes out 90 PS and 204 Nm of max torque. In comparison Elite i20 uses 1.4-litre to dish out same power though a slightly better torque of 220 Nm.
Amazingly refined motor of Elite i20
At ideal, i20’s motor is stunningly refined and has NVH levels quite comparable to petrol vehicles. Ford, on other hand, is not a silent one and has typical diesel clatter that goes on increasing once the rev starts rising on band. Start from dash and it is Ford’s torque delivery that pleases the senses. There is absolutely no turbo-lag and power is immediately evident right from start of revolutions. Ford TDCi technology still remains relevant and company improves its NVH levels, this diesel engine can easily be counted among the best in market. Elite i20 has a decent low-end too though in comparison to Ford, this Hyundai pales in its torque delivery.
Torquey and Zesty oil-burner in EcoSport
Same story replicates on mid-range and top-range where Ford once again proved its mettle. The acceleration is better and despite of being noisier in two, Ford retains its edge owing to linear torque delivery. Hyundai also fares well as isolated case though upfront comparison with Ford highlights some of the inherent deficiencies of this 16-valve motor. Its revving ability is felt constrained and this oil-burner lacks the free-flow of power delivery. Similarly on gearbox front, Ford assumes a lead owing to its slick and direct-shifting experience. Even though slotting requires some effort in Ford, still the mating experience of Ford is better than somewhat notchy feel of Elite i20’s gearbox. On efficiency front, Hyundai takes a lead as it has an advantage of extra gear up its sleeve.
Elite i20: 3/5 EcoSport: 4/5
We always knew Ford would fare well on this front and it really does. High ground clearance, talkative steering and better suited suspension system on EcoSport make it really enjoyable car to drive. Add to this the power of sitting higher that results in better driving view, and Ford easily walks away with honour of this round. Ride and handling combo of Ford is definitely far superior to that featured on Elite i20.
EcoSport: Still best ride-handling combo
Once again, it is comparative analysis that left Elite i20 red-faced even as it comes with better controls than what we have seen on previous Hyundais. Compared to its ancestors, Elite i20 features a better balanced proportion between ride and handling. Side is not horribly soft as handling has got its share of importance here. Straight line stability has gone up and so is overall body control. Still Hyundai has a long way to cover before it matches the dynamic prowess of benchmarks like Ford or Fiat.
Elite i20: 3/5 EcoSport: 4/5
Hyundai comes across as better value for money owing to its trimmed price range as compared to quite ambition price tag EcoSport comes with. Elite i20 has everything that a typical hatchback owner looks out for – it’s stylish, practical, spacious, and has got very competitive engine line up. Nobody could falter this package in terms of its sheer value and credibility. So if you are averse of adding some zing to this package then Elite i20 is quite perfect. But if you are looking for something extra, say more excitement and flavour in your otherwise daily mundane driving then EcoSport is what you should bet upon. Surely it will cost you more bucks but then EcoSport is worth every extra penny. EcoSport gives you feel of SUV, zings up your driving experience and its engine-dynamics comb is still to match by rivals. Further its practicality and city-sized convenience won’t hinder with your driving style. So for people itching for something extra in life, EcoSport is the answer for all their longings.
Elite i20: 3.5/5 EcoSport: 4/5