Quick trips outside Metro Manila are one of the things I really look forward to. It does not only serve as an escape from hustle and bustle of city life, but is also a perfect time to explore places and enjoy the traffic-free provincial roads.
Since this is my first time to go to Batangas as a driver, I was excited to hit the road with the new 2018 Ford EcoSport.
To welcome the EcoSport into our market, Ford Philippines recently invited the motoring media to the Ford Ecosport Drive to test the new model’s efficiency, power, and how street smart it is on the urban and provincial roads.
We departed from Ford Bonifacio Global City with my companions during the drive, fellow motoring journalists Aries Espinosa, and Joey Bernardez. For the first pit stops at Shell SLEX, and Balete, Batangas, we drove the EcoSport equipped with the 1.5 liter Ti-VCT engine (yes, the ones that powered the pre-updated Titanium variant) that produces an output of 121 hp and 111 lb-ft of torque. As expected, this mid-grade EcoSport had difficulty catching up with our lead car, the Ford Everest, along C-5 Road and SLEX.
Better known for city driving, overtaking the cars on the road became a challenge for Ford EcoSport 1.5L. Whenever we revved up the vehicle, the engine grunted, so we drove it as if we were just having a road trip.
After an hour of driving, we finally arrived at Cintai Coritos in Balete, Batangas, where we had our Asian cuisine lunch. The Bali-themed place made us appreciate nature, and the fresh air coming from the mountains – a perfect ambiance partnered with good food to fuel us for the activities prepared by our hosts.
When we headed out to Laiya Adventure Park, we drove the EcoSport 1.0 liter with EcoBoost that puts out 123 hp and a 125 lb-ft of torque. On the first drive, I already noticed the difference between the two variants: the EcoSport Titanium variant is nimble and runs smoother on the road. When I felt how the car moved, how agile it was for a crossover, all I could say was “Wow!” Equipped with EcoBoost (Ford’s turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engine), the car works well on the highway, and overtaking vehicles along the provincial roads of Batangas could be done with ease. In no time at all, we caught up to our lead car without having to exert the engine.
With a bit of downhills, uphills, bumpy road conditions along the way, and a short “off-road-ish” pathway entering Laiya Adventure Park, the EcoSport 1.0L was able to handle it well, thanks to the 17-inch alloy wheels.
Physical challenges welcomed the group at the park for us to further understand the functions of the new features of the Ford EcoSport. The media activity prepared by Ford Philippines didn’t only serve as a bonding moment for us, but also helped us to conquer our fear of heights! Named as the Ford Street Smart Challenge, we were grouped into five and went on different challenges, where we also experienced various outdoor adventures such as the riding a giant swing, rappelling, free falling, taking the zip line and the aerial walk.
After our fun activity, we went to Acuatico Beach Resort, where we relaxed with the stunning view of the infinity pool and the shoreline of Laiya, Batangas. During our dinner, Ford Philippines Managing Director Bertrand Lessard expressed his gratitude to the attendees of the EcoSport Drive. To cap off our fun-filled day, Ford PH announced the winners of the Ford Street Smart Challenge, and I was glad that our group won the first place.
The next morning saw us make our way to Lipa City, Batangas for our last stop before driving back to Manila. With the long roads that we passed, I do thank Ford for installing good quality audio systems on both variants. It made our road trip less boring and we got a chance to share our musical preferences. Because I’m an audiophile, a good set of sound system definitely completed my driving experience, and the 2018 Ford EcoSport was able to provide it.
Long drives require comfortable seats, and enough legroom. On our short trip to Batangas, the EcoSport’s leather- and fabric-trimmed seats were good enough to make you feel relaxed during short hours of trip. For drivers of average height, the legroom of the second row seats was just fine, but if your passenger is, say, a taller male (or female for that matter), I guess he will be a bit cramped and eventually feel uncomfortable.
After driving the 2018 EcoSport for two days, I can say that Ford’s baby has improved and is definitely at par with the competition. With the upgrades that were put into the vehicle, it’s safe to say that the EcoSport is not just perfect for city driving, but for short trips outside the Metro as well.