What is it?
Ford’s take on the compact SUV, the EcoSport, has been around in the UK since 2013. Its second generation hit the scene in 2013, and now the American carmaker has given it a much needed facelift.
The car is definitely not the prettiest in the market, nor the nicest to drive, but it does offer a comfortable ride and comes with a premium feel that is associated with more recent Fords, including a lot of leather, and an array of the latest tech and safety equipment.
Ford has given the EcoSport a new front grille and a longer bonnet – which has definitely given it more appeal. It is offered in 12 “bold” colours with additional personalisation options including contrasting roof paint and rear roof spoiler.
Inside, Ford has updated the tech, with its centrepiece being an easy-to-use floating central eight-inch touchscreen (6.5-inch on the entry level Zetec model) which is the command hub for the car.
What’s under the bonnet?
The facelifted model offers a range of engine types. Ford is hoping buyers opt for its new 1.5-litre diesel engine, which delivers 123bhp, when it is released later this year – Ford says this would be in June or July. A 99bhp 1.5-litre diesel is now available, but it’s probably best to just wait a few extra months for the newer, more fuel efficient and cleaner offering.
Two specs of the American carmaker’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine are also available. Drivers can opt for either the 138bhp or 123bhp varieties. A new 99bhp 1.0-litre petrol version will be released alongside the 1.5-litre diesel.
What’s it like to drive?
The EcoSport is not a fast car, nor something that brings much excitement, which is a bit of a let-down, especially as ‘Sport’ is in its name. It does handle well, though, and is comfortable on the commute, especially with heated seats and climate control.
We got behind the wheel of the 123bhp EcoBoost, and the engine is fantastic for a 1.0-litre, which should come as no surprise with the amount of plaudits it has received – 10 International Engine of the Year awards. It offers great efficiency, but with a decent kick to get you going.
Parking isn’t a problem either, although the EcoSport is bigger than it feels, but a reversing camera offers a helpful aid.
How does it look?
Ford has definitely improved on the older styling – which was, to be kind, not the most appealing. It now has similarities to the Edge SUV with a redesigned front grille, longer bonnet and sharper headlights. It now looks like a smaller SUV, rather than a modified KA+.
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Fitting the optional 18-inch alloys is not recommended, purely because it make the ride far too hard and doesn’t quite suit the look of the “rugged functionality” that Ford promises.
But, its new shape is a vast improvement, so it is definitely heading in the right direction.
What’s it like inside?
As you’d expect, Ford delivers an array of luxuries to make the car as comfortable as possible.
Switches dominate the door and centre console, offering a load of features including climate control (optional), heated seats and parking sensors.
The floating Ford Sync 3 display, which is offered as an eight-inch touchscreen is the hub of the car. Controlling everything from the ambient lighting – which there is a lot of, even in the cup holders – to the sat nav (optional on the Zetec), it is incredibly easy to use.
A leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear lever come as standard, and although they may not seem like necessities, they add that extra level of luxury, which gives the car a premium feel.
What’s the spec like?
For the base model Zetec (from £16,845) quite a bit of tech comes as standard, including the 6.5-inch touchscreen, LED lights, chrome front grille, and heated front windscreen – with heated washer jets. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come as standard.
The Titanium version (from £19,495) adds quite a bit more. Cruise control, climate control, eight-inch touchscreen, auto lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels are just some of the upgrades.
For the more adventurous, the top spec ST-Line is also available, starting at £20,295.This extra cash gets Ford Performance-inspired bumpers and side skirts, black-finish roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels, ST-Line badging and painted roof and door mirrors. The interior also offers a unique ST-Line leather-trimmed flat-bottomed steering wheel and stainless steel sports pedals.
At £22,020, the car we tested isn’t cheap, far from it – especially when the base models starts at £16,845. For around £8,000 less you could get something a bit more fun, like the Suzuki Ignis Adventure (£13,999) which will leave you with a bigger smile – something the EcoSport really should do, but doesn’t.
It may be sporty by name, but it is far from its nature. And this is its biggest let down. If you’re going to name something EcoSport, you’d better make sure it has a bit of oomph about it.
However, for a medium-sized family looking for something fuel efficient, with plenty of cubby holes and a premium feel, Ford’s compact-SUV does tick all the boxes.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model as tested: Ford EcoSport Titanium
Engine: 1.0-litre EcoBoost
Torque (Nm): 170Nm
Max speed (mph): 111mph
0-60mph: 12.5 seconds
Emissions (g/km): 119g/km