With the departure of Ford from India it is the end of an era. To many, Ford was not just a mileage churning car, it was the promise and trust of quality that would last generations. Starting from the executive class sedans like the Escort and the Ikon which set the ball rolling for Ford in India, the American carmaker understood the need rather than the want of the Indian customer. With a tagline that boasted “Family Wali Feeling”, Ford has indeed left a mark upon the Indian auto industry. Entering India back in 1995, Ford’s 26 year-long legacy has produced several iconic vehicles that are now immortal as the brand bids adieu to the Indian market. So for all the Ford fans and enthusiasts, here are 7 of the most iconic Ford cars ever to hit the Indian market, a few of which you can still own today.
Compact SUVs are now one of the most demanded vehicles across all segments in India. Back in 2013, the Ford Ecosport proudly started the compact SUV segment in India. Being one of the first vehicles to avail the sub 4-metre excise benefits the OG Ecosport was launched with three engines: the 1.0 litre Ecoboost engine, the 1.5 litre petrol and diesel engine. The transmission on offer was both an automatic as well as a manual. In fact, the 1.0 litre Ecoboost engine was so good that it won the engine of the year award 5 times.
Soon after the launch, the Ecosport’s muscular looks, capable engines, top-notch features, supreme safety and solid build quality instantly wooed the masses, something that makes the pre-owned Ecosport a must buy now. Evolving as per consumer demand, the Ecosport touched the 2 lakh sales mark in just 2 years, exerting dominance in the compact SUV segment. In fact, the Ecosport was so popular that the India-manufactured Ecosport was even exported to the USA.
In 2018, the massively popular Ecosport received its long due facelift that made it far more appealing in face of cut throat competition. The award winning 1.0 litre Ecoboost sadly retired, but the 1.5 litre dragon petrol and diesel were retained with both manual and torque converter automatic. The major change however, was on the outside and inside. From the outside the new Ecosport brought in a newly designed grille, headlamp cluster, alloys and bumpers. On the inside, the Ecosport became smarter with floating touch infotainment, SYNC 3 system, new MID cluster, smartphone integration, TPMS, and 10 speaker setup, amongst other features. As a promising compact SUV the Ecosport impressed the masses yet again.
In 2003, Ford took the risk of bringing a full-size SUV, the Ford Endeavour. The risk paid off and the Endeavour built a cult following in India. Initially launched with a 2.5 litre Diesel engine pumping out 108 BHP of power at the time, the Endeavour’s performance figures were seriously impressive. To add a cherry on top, the SUV was also offered with 4WD, a USP for off-road enthusiasts.
Faced with new competition, the Endeavour received its well-deserved facelift in 2007 that continued to sell till 2010. Like an iconic brand, Ford improved what was lacking, and retained what was already a hit. The second generation arrived in 2011 and continued to be sold till 2015. This was the time when the Endeavour received its iconic 3 litre diesel engine that is one of the best engines to drive. For anyone looking to get their hands on a pre-owned Ford Endeavour, this engine is the gold standard to hunt for. This was also the first Endeavour model that brought in a touchscreen, rear parking camera and other modern features. Even to this day, the Endeavour has its own charm that can put many modern day SUVs to shame.
Finally in 2016, the Endeavour became immortal with its third generation that bade farewell to India along with Ford’s entire inventory. However, as a pre-owned vehicle, the third generation Ford Endeavour brings a lot in its package. Engines such as the classic BS4 2.2 and 3.0 litre diesel burners and the BS6 2.0 litre are all worth the money. This is also the generation that brings in all creature comforts onboard including active noise cancellation, semi-autonomous parallel park assist, power- 8.0 inch touch infotainment with Ford SYNC 3, panoramic sunroof etc. Now as a pre-owned SUV the Endeavour with its ample safety features, timeless design, and a premium feel is a vehicle that should be highly considered.
While there are plenty of hatchbacks flooding the Indian market, when it comes to overall practicality, driving dynamics, safety and robust build quality, there is nothing better than the iconic Ford Figo. Launched in 2010, the Figo had its own evolution for a little over a decade. Built on the Fiesta B platform, the Figo had all the peppy punch thanks to its lower kerb weight and superb dynamics.
Initially launched with 1.2 litre petrol and 1.4 litre TDCI diesel engines, the Figo had no match in terms of driving dynamics. In fact, the Figo’s 1.4 litre TDCI diesel burner is still one of the very best engines onboard a hatchback. Receiving a facelift in 2012, the 2nd generation Ford Figo came with a completely new exterior styling that made it look at par with modern competition back then. The 2nd Gen Figo also brought in modern creature comforts onboard along with a change in powertrain and transmission that now offered two petrol (1.2 and 1.5 litre) engines and a single diesel (1.5 litre TDCI) along with 6-speed torque converterAutomatic for the bigger petrol engine.
Much like the first generation the second one too was quite popular among avid fans of Ford and even the critics. The new and improved 1.5 litre diesel engine, impeccable safety offering of up to 6 airbags, peppy performance and many more features make a pre-owned second generation Ford Figo worth its money. However, the most modern update to the Figo was the 2018 facelift that brought in muscular and dynamic looks, along with floating touch infotainment, SYNC 3, voice commands, automatic AC, and a host of other comfort features onboard. Finally in 2020, the Figo received its BS6 upgrade that took away the bigger 1.5 litre petrol, while both the other engines remained. Even with Ford saying its goodbyes, the Figo still remains iconic as a promising pre-owned hatchback from Ford, which offers unmatched safety, BS6 compliant diesel mill, capable petrol with 6-speed TC automatic and a lot more.
Ford Escort 1995 to 2001
In 1995, Ford entered the Indian market, with a 51-49% joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra. This was the time Ford, in collaboration with M&M, launched their first product, the Ford Escort. Essentially the 6th generation of the globally selling European spec Escort, the sedan was specially manufactured for India. As the first offering from Ford, all eyes were evidently on the Escort, which did a great job setting the stage for the American brand. Even though the consumer sentiment was focused toward cheap and entry level cars such as the Maruti 800 back then, the Escort established itself as the aspirational sedan for many car enthusiasts in India.
As a vehicle, the Escort was powered by two power-packed engines that included a 1.8-litre diesel engine onboard the Escort Orion trim and a 1.6-litre petrol engine that was offered on the Escort Alpha variant. Coming to creature comforts onboard, the Escort offered several inclusions such as powered front windows, ORVMs, power steering, music system, AC etc., all of which were considered luxury back then. The sleek, curvy and futuristic looking sedan was a promising machine that had a lot to offer. However, despite a package so promising, the Escort failed to deliver due to a lack of consumer sentiments that were highly budget oriented, and not open to new horizons. Being a sedan that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the Escort was quick to leave the market in 2001 and soon after Mahindra Ford became Ford Motors India Ltd. Nonetheless, despite being a promising sedan that offered ample luxury features, superb driving dynamics, and safety that was never heard of before, the Escort did manage to escort Ford’s way into the Indian market.
Ford Ikon 1999 to 2011
Talking about iconic Ford cars, it is difficult not to mention the Ford Ikon. Iconic in every sense, the Ikon reigned over the hearts of millions for almost a decade. Debuting in 1999, the Ford Ikon brought in a wave of fresh air and paved the road for Ford to be deeply rooted within the Indian market. Known for offering sheer performance that even hardcore rally sedans couldn’t offer back then, the Ikon was a true celebrity. Based on the globally popular Ford Fiesta, the Ikon arrived with a 1.3-litre SOHC petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual. As a sedan, the vehicle was quite well equipped, and offered AC, anti-theft alarm, central locking, day-night rear view mirrors, power steering etc., all of which was a pretty big deal back then. In 2008, the Ikon received its 1.6 litre diesel engine that produced 90 BHP. Those who were lucky enough to drive this bad boy, know why the Ikon was tastefully dubbed as the “Josh Machine”
Finally in 2008, the Ikon received a much awaited facelift that introduced the Duratorq family of engines along with a 1.4-litre turbocharged diesel engine. There were tasteful design changes that made the Ikon bigger, better and bolder. This was also the version that brought in features like MP3/CD player, new seat covers, alloys, rear spoiler, and LCD odometer among others. No wonder the Ikon remained massively popular amongst avid Ford Fans, thanks to its superb driving dynamics, even with competition from the likes of the Maruti Suzuki SX4 adding pressure. The facelift did manage to push the Ikon a bit further, but in 2011, Ford decided to pull the plug. Nonetheless, for those who have ever driven the Josh Machine, the memories are truly immortal.
Ford Fiesta 2005 to 2014
Much like with the Ikon, Ford again struck the bull’s eye with the Fiesta. Launched in 2005, the Fiesta came with three engine options that included a high-performance 1.6-litre Duratec petrol, a supremely refined 1.4-litre Duratorq diesel engine and a high value 1.4-litre Duratec Petrol. With petrol prices rising quite a bit back then as well, the 1.4 litre Duratorq became the people’s choice as it was not only fun to drive but was also one of the most efficient diesel engines of its time.
Although the 1.4 litre diesel was quite efficient, performance wise the 1.6 litre petrol took the Fiesta’s punch to another level. Producing a power-packed 106 BHP, the engine is still immortal for its awesome power ratio and rev bands that outperformed all competitors. In fact, legend has it that the Fiesta 1.6 could actually reach the 7000 RPM mark, which was something that drove enthusiasts towards the Fiesta. Working on the rapidly growing enthusiast sentiment, Ford also launched a special sportier trim of the vehicle dubbed as the Fiesta 1.6S. The vehicle also saw a second generation that was launched in 2011 that brought in completely evolved exteriors. The second generation too was promising but could not achieve the charm of the earlier generation that continued to sell as the Fiesta Classic. In a final bid to save the legacy, Ford also launched a facelift in 2014, which brought in the latest design Ford had to offer back then. Feature loadings were also beefed up in an effort to restore the sales. However, as they say, all good things come to an end and so did the Fiesta. But what’s not to be forgotten is the fact that the Fiesta was and continues to be a true Ford icon.
Ford Fusion 2004 to 2008
As crossovers are now making a comeback in the market, not remembering the Ford Fusion would be a sin. In 2004, when the Indian market wasn’t aware of what a crossover actually is, Ford launched the Ford Fusion that introduced the crossover segment in India. As a high roof, tall boy crossover, the Fusion was hard to miss, thanks to the practicality it offered. Debuting with a 1.6 litre petrol engine, the strongest USP of the Fusion was its value for money. In fact, the Fusion actually brought in some of the industry first features back then, some of which include features such as power folding mirrors, automatic wipers, automatic headlamps, trip computer, and leather wrapped steering. Even though it looked much like a hatchback, in terms of overall practicality and features, the Fusion was no less than a compact SUV that the market is flooded with right now.
However, since petrol prices were rapidly hiking back then, the Fusion’s sales took a massive hit, despite it being quite popular amongst family car buyers. But Ford decided not to pull the plug, and so it introduced the 1.4 litre diesel burner from the Fiesta. This pushed the sales in favor of the Fusion, but it seemed as if it was too late for the Fusion to regain its market share. Nonetheless, the Ford Fusion with its practical approach, crossover stance, segment first features and quirky design was a true icon that paved the way for the Ford Ecosport that was launched almost a decade after this timeless icon.
It is very unfortunate that a carmaker such as Ford has to leave the Indian market after giving us cars that shaped an altogether different facet of automobiles. Needless to say that India will definitely miss Ford and its iconic cars listed above. But living up to its tagline, Ford is fully committed to its customers and its cars and will be providing services in the years to come. Adieu Ford!
Q1. Can I still get my Ford car serviced?
Yes, Ford is fully committed to its 1 million strong customers in India and will be providing servicing as well as spare parts in the years to come.
Is it worth buying a preowned Ford car, now that Ford has left India?
Buying a pre owned Ford car is worth it, as not only you would be getting a good car in minimum budget but the services and spare parts availability would also be uncompromised.
Are new Ford cars still available in India?
Ford will be selling new cars until its stocks last. So, yes new Ford cars are still available in India.
Which is the latest sedan of Ford in India?
The Figo Aspire is a sub compact sedan made by Ford for India. Made on the lines of its hatchback sibling Figo, the preowned Figo Aspire is a vehicle worth considering.
Won’t there be any Ford cars in India?
There won’t be any made in India Ford cars, however, imported Ford cars like the Mustang and Mustang Mach E will be sold in the premium luxury segment.