Recently I drove the new Ford EcoSport compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) which regularly dominates its market segment. The EcoSport has a lot going for it, namely its good looks, styling, and the fact that it is stacked with tech amongst others. And the updated version brings more of the same, which should make it more attractive to the raft of buyers, already beating their way to the doors of Ford dealerships.
Some of the facts are, that it has sold 45 000 units since the original launch back in 2013. It has the ‘’fun’’ factor as well, combining a rugged exterior, with a comfortable interior, and even if you want to to a bit of adventure driving, you have the tech to do it in style as well. The EcoSport was driven around the streets of Johannesburg, and it acquits itself very well there as well. It holds the road well, and changing lanes is a breeze.
Looking at the EcoSport, it seems to be following some of the design cues of the Kuga which was introduced in 2017, the front end features the trapezoidal grille, but enhanced with LED daytime running lights and the well known angular headlamps. Coming in three models, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium, the front end also looks more adventurous, due to its sculpted bonnet with central bulge, and the angular foglamps
The rear end is dominated by the spare wheel housing, but it fits the car, and manages to look good as well.
Attractive new alloy wheel designs complement the rugged, sporty character, and are offered in Gunmetal grey five-spoke 16-inch versions on the Trend series, or striking 17-inch rims on the Titanium.
The entry-level Ambiente model is fitted with 16-inch steel rims with wheel covers.
Into the cabin.
The interior has been refined, and more soft touch materials are prevalent, which is great, as too much plastic seems to be the order of the day, in a lot of models these days. It has an updated instrument cluster, and a lot of trouble has been gone to, to ensure that buttons are easy to use, and are very reachable as well. Luggage space has been increased to 334 litres, which seems little, but can be increased with fold down options.
It has new seat designs, and full leather in the top range Titanium model. The new centre console with the built in sliding arm rest was cool, and it has storage space for tablets computers or odds and ends. It has electric windows, and that is a blessing as who wants to wind down windows these days.
The heart of any car is the drive train, and way back in 2013, when Ford launched the 1.0 L EcoBoost engine, many naysayers believed that they would be short lived, and that they would be faulty. Well they performed with aplomb, and have gone on to win many awards. The engine produces 92kw & 170 Nm of torque through 1400 to 4500 rpm. And you almost never feel that it is lacking, even in the power sapping altitude of the Highveld.
Trend and Titanium customers have the choice between a six-speed manual gearbox or the latest-generation six-speed automatic gearboxes, that recently made its debut on the all-new Ford Fiesta.
The frugal yet torquey 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel engine remains part of the line-up, offered in Ambiente trim, linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. It delivers 74kW and a substantial 205Nm of torque between 1 750 and 3 250 r/min.
Tech & driver assistance technology.
I love the SYNC®3 communications and entertainment system that is fitted as standard on the Trend and Titanium models, and incorporates Bluetooth and Voice Control. SYNC®3 is supported by the new floating colour touchscreen, which can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures. A 6.5-inch screen is fitted on the Trend models, while the Titanium features an 8-inch version as well as embedded turn-by-turn navigation.
The intro of the Cruise Control with Adjustable Speed Limiter on the Titanium goes a long way to improving fuel economy, and is one of my hallmark driving aids.
Active driving safety has been stepped up markedly across the range with standard fitment of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control (TC), as well as Roll Stability Control (RSC) in the EcoBoost range, that adjusts engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control. Additionally, the 1.0 EcoBoost-powered models gain Hill Launch Assist (HLA) that makes pulling off on steep inclines easier, along with Ford’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
The Ambiente comes with 6 airbags as standard, and a knee-bag is added to the Trend & Titanium models..
The new EcoSport is also more secure and is fitted with a standard perimeter alarm, remote central locking and new anti-theft door locks. The Trend and Titanium models benefit from a Thatcham alarm with double dead-locking, while the latter also gains keyless entry and start for added convenience.
To sum up, the EcoSport which has been a segment leader for many years, should by all accounts, continue to do so. It’s a car that I could easily see myself owning.
Recommended Retail Prices (incl. Vat and CO2 emission tax):
EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Ambiente 5MT R 264 500
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend 6MT R 287 500
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend 6AT R 300 700
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6MT R 327 800
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6AT R 339 900
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A four-year/60 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.