Had a chance to have an extensive test drive of the ES on Friday. And I must say that it was one of the most pleasing and amazing TDs I had done in a very long time.
Visited Ford Noida around 2:30 pm and it was quite crowded for a Friday noon. Most of the visitors were swarming around the ES only giving the SAs a hard time managing all those queries.
Say it luck or what we were attended by quite a knowledgeable SA who was talking to us in terms or BHPs and NMs rather than seat comfort and good looks. The SA took my DL and in a few mins gave me a parking slip kind of token that read "29". Yes, it indicated my turn to TD the ES.
Waited for some 10 mins for the TD vehicle to arrive as we were the next to TD it.
Finally the Boy in White arrived and gosh it looked like John Travolta has arrived. So damn muscular and aggressive. We were 4 friends who went for a TD so that makes 5 of us in the ES. I took the wheel first and none of my friends objected as they knew that I wouldn't be able to restrict my self for the second turn.
Slotted into the first gear and ZOOM!!! Boy, what the hell, where's that thing called Turbo Lag. I double checked with the SA if it was Petrol and with a grin he replied "No sir, diesel". I too smiled and continued. Engine
The engine proved itself to be a performer. The lag was so minimal that I would easily call it as non-existent. With 5 on-board and AC on, it has absolutely no issues accelerating even from third gear at crawling speeds. Suspension
This is one area that surprised me. ES never behaved as a tall boy. I always felt as if I am driving a low riding hatch. It was planted and composed. With very very less body roll I would say Ford has done it's homework quite well. Ride Quality and Comfort
The ride as expected from a FORD was just awesome. I threw her around the corners at speed and it came out without breaking a sweat. The body roll is so controlled that you actually oversee that you are taking turns are 60. Though there was quite noticeable over-steer at higher speeds so one has to be alert to handle the steering. But I guess this gets sorted out as you attain highway speeds.
The front seats are very comfortable though I found them a bit narrow for someone heavily built like me. The rear bench, sorry, it's lot better than a bench, the rear is a proper seat and very comfortable. The incline is very adequate and you shall not experience and neck strains in long drives. The legroom is quite impressive for both fronts and rear. I could easily sit behind my self and note that i like laid back driving positions. NVH
Noise?? what Noise. I had to ask SA if we were in a petrol. The NVH are very controlled and do not induce fatigue at all. I had a good TD of around 15 kms and never found the engine noise to be on a higher side. You can actually sprint in 2nd and 3rd gears and it behaves well and not noisy at all. Post 130 speeds though you can hear the grunt quite well inside the cabin but still it is not disturbingly loud. Also at start-up there is no shake observed. Interiors
Plasticky!! Apart from the center console that had bits and pieces in piano black rest all looked OKish. Though the plastic quality was quite good and looks like it would last ages. The door pads were just too basic. The seat were finished in leather with red stitching which definitely was o superb quality. The gear stick was one thing I liked the most inside the cabin. It's a short shifter and has very less throw. It;'s finished quite well too. The steering wheel grip is not circular (not the wheel shape, it's round. The grip around your fingers) It has a groove and hence was not to be held tightly. Other than this as always steering feedback was awesome.
The MID on the center console looks classy but should have been a bit more protruding rather than sunk in as it is. The SYNC worked perfectly fine and there was no echo in the calls. Space
It is a comfortable 4 seater. The 5th occupant will be comfortable only for short distances. Though leg room is very nice for both fronts as well as rear. The door pads touch the elbows a lot when 3 are seated at back. The boot is very small and could have been larger by at-least 100lts. The rear tray or whatever you can call it, is a pull/foldable type. There is a big gap b/w the rear seat and the tray so not good for keeping small things as they might fall into the boot from the gap.
Overall I am quite impressed by the built quality and ride quality of ES. I would like to mention that the paint quality is not very good. I had a close look at White, Orange (dont remember the color name) and sea gray and out of these white looked best. Also, it doesn't look big but has an awesome stance and poise to it.
How can I not compare it with Duster. Apart from space, ES beats Duster hands down in all areas. Duster isf a bit more comfortable due to it's softer rear suspension. Don't want to elaborate the comparison but b/w the two ES is a winner for ME.
Had I been in for a new car, it would have been ES hands down.