Many critics of SUVs will say these tall lumbering vehicles don’t belong in the city. The high ground clearance is not needed, their engines are inefficient, and they’re simply a means of compensating for something.
These critics likely haven’t come across the Ford EcoSport yet; a vehicle that easily counterpoints all these arguments and then some. The EcoSport is a car we can credit for kickstarting the small SUV fever seemingly sweeping the car industry today. At the time of its first arrival, there were few other SUVS that offered the adorable but rugged look, the height advantage, yet with the compact dimensions and efficiency to be practical in the city.
Several years on and the sheer number of Ford EcoSports on the road have doubtlessly proven just how essential a small SUV can be to city life. And what daunting challenges does city life offer that nothing but an EcoSport can solve? Why, shopping of course!
Ford Philippines invited members of the media for a trivial shopping challenge in the famous Taytay Tiangge. Starting out as a meeting point for wholesale clothing suppliers, the gravel parking lot has transformed to be a shopping mecha of sorts and “Garment Capital of the Philippines” now spanning several blocks. It offers a shopping frenzy similar to the Baguio Ukay-Ukay fever, only closer to home.
Participants began at the modern and gentrified Bonifacio Global City and make their way to the tiangge through whatever narrow backroads Waze suggested to get to Taytay. It started out quite unremarkably and soon became a challenge in itself. Taytay is best accesses via the new C6 road, yet getting there from BGC while avoiding traffic entails some creative pathfinding.
This meant maneuvering through tight streets made tighter by cars parked on the road, basketball hoops in the middle and the occasional street food stall. I’m not sure what settings our driver selected, but we somehow ended up on an unpaved street in a neighborhood in Rizal, with a mix of kangkong ponds and the obligatory vulcanizing shop.
This was all taken in stride by the EcoSport, now powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost turbo, paired with a far more reliable conventional automatic. Its high ground clearance was a boon too, as this street (or dirt road) would be near impassable for the average sedan.
Naturally, we were fairly oblivious to the less than ideal roads thanks to its latest generation SYNC entertainment system that easily hooked up to our phones’ Waze app and Spotify playlist thanks to the built-in Android Auto feature. You’d think it was just another road trip with the bumps muted by the suspension and the AC as cold as an office building. Once near the tiangge, finding a suitable parking spot was easy thanks to its tight turning radius and small dimensions.
It was also time for the challenge to begin. Each participant was given a meager budget of P700 to assemble an Instagram-worthy outfit of the day (OOTD). I initially thought it was impossible. To my surprise, it was actually quite attainable with polo shirts hovering around the P200 mark, pants at P300, and a bright red belt to accessorize for just P100. I was done within an hour with money left over to buy a gag shirt for an office colleague.
Using nearby SM Taytay as our backdrop, the photo session began, with the other participants’ haggling and styling skills definitely shining through. I may not have won the judges’ vote, but was delighted nonetheless with an ensemble costing less than the price of a shirt in BGC.
The Ford EcoSport may not star in Bucket List-level adventures with scenic vistas and once-in-a-lifetime activities. Yet it will easily take on more frequent accidental adventures such as these, with unpredictable elements like surprise dirt roads, tight parking spaces, the hot weather, and even serve as a prop for an Instragram photo.
The EcoSport was a great partner for scoring deals. With its unique blend of attributes, it’s also a deal in itself.
By Iñigo S. Roces