New face and tech for compact SUV
- Lots of engine options
- Generous standard equipment
- Good to drive
- Refined powerplants
- Still looks awkward
- Unconventional boot lid is impractical
- Tight rear legroom
- Rivals incredibly competitive
The Ford EcoSport should be a sure-fire win, a bestseller. With underpinnings and mechanical components shared with Britain’s most popular car, and a tall off-road stance beloved of UK buyers, it surely has all the right ingredients.
Yet, since launch in 2014, it’s failed to make a huge impact in the UK - largely due to the strength of its competition.
Thoroughly overhauled in 2017, with a fresh new look in line with Ford’s latest models, and an interior dropped in from the eighth-generation Fiesta, the EcoSport is fighting fit to take on the numerous rivals in the compact SUV market.
It’s based on the previous-generation Fiesta, meaning it should provide an entertaining drive, too, even for a high-riding crossover.
Ford EcoSport engine range is diverse
As you’d expect from a Ford, there’s a range of petrol and diesel options available to buyers, from punchy yet efficient EcoBoost petrols to frugal diesels.
Available to buyers is a choice of 1.0-litre EcoBoosts in 125- and 140hp form, as well as a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel with 100hp.
Joining the range later in 2018 is an AWD version powered by a new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel with 125hp, as well as an entry-level 100hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost.
Good to drive, if a little unexciting
It would be harsh to criticise the EcoSport for not driving like the smaller, chuckable Fiesta, especially as it demonstrates some traits found in the supermini, with sharp steering and a willingness to be thrown about.
The taller body means it rolls about a little bit in the corners and the ride can feel a little fidgety on examples with larger wheels. While it’s not unbearable, it doesn’t feel as grown up and balanced as a SEAT Arona.
Plenty of big-car tech in a small body
Ford’s Sync3 voice-activated multimedia system is standard on all trim levels, with a large touchscreen like you’ll find in the latest Fiesta, and all the connectivity options you could want. It even supports Waze on iPhone.
In fact, the EcoSport comes with a good selection of standard equipment even on entry-level Zetec models, but if you want more there’s the Titanium and sporty ST-Line trims to move up to.
As has become the norm, there’s a range of personalisation options available to EcoSport customers, largely centring around the exterior colour combinations, with bright shades available for the main bodywork, and contrasting roof colours in black, white, red or orange also available depending on your preference.
The Parkers Verdict
It’s much easier to recommend the EcoSport now Ford has given it a fairly thorough overhaul. Quality has stepped up since production has moved from India to Romania, and with a dashboard design similar to the latest Fiesta it feels more up-to-date inside.
To drive, it rides and handles well overall, but doesn’t entertain like other Ford models. Space inside is good – if not class leading - and the high driving position will appeal to many.
However, with so much fresh competition in a hotly contested area of the market, it manages to still feel a little outdated with awkward looks (it’s better than it was) and some high list prices. It does come with a lot of equipment to make up for this, though, and it’s likely you’ll be able to strike a good deal at your local Ford dealer.
Tempted by a small and tall SUV with Fiesta-like handling? Read our full review to learn more...