- Good engine selection
- Very comfortable
- Practical design
- Wallowy handling
- Not a true off-roader
- Tailgate opens wrong way
The Ford EcoSport is an all-new compact off-road-style car aimed at a target audience that wants the high-riding position of a 4x4 but still wants something small enough to cope with the urban environment.
It’s based on the Fiesta, which means it drives extremely well. The body does roll around noticeably more though thanks to the high driving position, but in the main it’s a comfortable small car which has much to recommend it.
While it’s not built with rough terrain use in mind, the spare wheel located on the boot lid is a hat-tip to real off-roaders.
Good selection of engines
While the emphasis definitely isn’t on performance, the EcoSport’s engines seem well-matched with the car.
We’re impressed with how the 1.5-litre diesel engine performs on the road. It’s smooth and refined, even at speed.
Equally impressive is the EcoBoost petrol engine, yet we found the handling wasn’t as sharp with the lighter motor installed.
While running costs aren’t as competitive as the Fiesta, it’s not going to cost the world to tax or insure the EcoSport.
The EcoSport is aimed at 30-something professionals who are connected to the internet, and this car aims to help them stay connected on the move.
Ford’s SYNC voice-activated multimedia system is available with a new feature called Applink, which allows smartphone users to control applications on their device through the voice control system. This means you can call up your favourite song on music-streaming service Spotify, or listen to audio books on the move.
Other equipment installed on the EcoSport – in its one and only trim level - includes keyless entry and engine start, alloy wheels, tyre pressure monitoring and a multifunction steering wheel from the Fiesta which features buttons for the SYNC system.
You also have the option of upgrading to Titanium X pack, which nets you items such as larger 17-inch alloy wheels along with leather seats, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers.
Optional extras are limited to parking sensors (which have been cleverly programmed to ignore the boot-mounted spare wheel) and dealer-fit accessories such as a towing bar.
The EcoSport is going to have its work cut out in its sector. Rivals such as the Nissan Juke have proven incredibly popular, and Ford is only planning to bring a limited number of cars to the UK to start with so is banking on high demand in order to secure more units in the future.
Facelift in 2015
In 2015 at the Geneva Motor Show an update was announced which Ford hopes will help sell more of this fairly unsuccessful car. The main news is that spare wheel at the rear: it's now optional, and if you don't want it you'll get a tyre repair kit instead. Other tweaks include a revised interior and new suspension settings, but we'll reserve judgement on these until we've tried the EcoSport on UK roads.
To find out more about this all-new car and how it fares, read on for the full Ford EcoSport review.