They say good things come in small packages, and that might be true for perfume. But we always thought bigger is better when it came to SUVs. Yet the growing global market for offroad vehicles means that they are both growing and also shrinking. In the past year, emerging markets have begun adoption more and more advanced features and a hotly contested battle is being fought over who offers cheap automatic gearboxes.
It's not just China though, as India still has over a billion potential customers and growing. When Ford launched the second-generation EcoSport crossover at the 2012 New Delhi Auto Expo, we knew that many emerging markets would begin selling it. However, it's now also offered in places like Britain or Brazil.
Thanks to a report from car.blog.br, we've learned that the 2016 EcoSport will feature its first automatic cog-swapper, coming in the form of a 1.6-liter engine coupled to a six-speed Powershift gearbox.
We believe it's the same twin-clutch unit offered on the smaller Fiesta and the Focus hatchback. The gearbox was developed by Getrag and is also used by Renault on the Clio and Captur models. Later this year, the Duster might also get it in combination with a 1.5-liter dCi diesel engine.
The PowerShift gearbox is supposedly Ford's response to falling sales of the EcoSport witnessed after the launch of the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade.
But we think the same powertrain could also be offered in India. Over there, the new car to beat is the recently launched Hyundai Creta. Of the 15,000 orders placed already, 4,500 were for the high-end automatic version.
Nearly all cheap crossovers now offer self-shifting versions now, and pretty soon, we'll be comparing to see who has the best.