- Two petrols and two diesels
- All are turbocharged
- Limited gearbox choice
Powering the EcoSport is a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, all found in other cars in Ford’s range, which is a great place to start.
Turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engines
If you want petrol power, there are three versions of Ford’s accomplished 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol.
An automatic version of this is also available, with an 11.6-second 0-62mph time on offer. Both versions have a torque figure of 170Nm, so it’s likely you’ll need to work it hard to make progress on the motorway, for example. It’ll top out at 111mph.
Offering a boost in power is the 140hp iteration of this engine. Despite the extra power and torque boost to 180Nm, it’s not much quicker than the 125hp car, going from 0-62mph in 11.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 116mph.
You’ll want the extra power that this model offers, though, as it can take a while to coax the EcoSport up to speed. It’s great fun to rev the engine out (which you’ll need to do), but that’s the result of having a bulkier car than the Fiesta to haul around.
If you’ve no issues with revving it out, then there’s fun to be had, but it never gives quite as much as you expect it to from how it sounds. It sounds quicker and more eager than it really is.
Finally, joining the EcoSport line-up later in 2018 is an entry-level 100hp version of the same EcoBoost engine. Performance figures have yet to be confirmed.
The diesel options
Those looking for the ultimate in low running costs will want to consider one of the 1.5-litre diesel engines, coming in a choice of outputs: 100hp or 125hp.
The 100hp diesel is a 1.5-litre Duratorq TDCi, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels only. There’s a useful 215Nm of torque on offer to haul it along, but speed suffers as it takes 14 seconds to get from 0-62mph, and will reach its top speed at 99mph.
For more oomph there’s the 125hp EcoBlue TDCi coming mid-2018, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive. This engine serves up a much more usable 300Nm of torque, making it the punchiest of the lot with a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds and a top speed of 112mph.
It’s a nippy engine that can get quite coarse and vocal when you rev it, but it’s easy to make fast progress and it pulls well in most gears. This is likely to be a small-volume seller, though, expected to take just 5% of total EcoSport sales in the UK, plus we don’t envisage many buyers making use of that AWD system.
Something we noticed when driving the car is that it’s not always the easiest to make smooth gearchanges. The need to the rev the petrol engines quite hard mean you’ll be making faster shifts that can cause the car to pitch and feel quite jerky when getting up to speed.
The automatic Ford EcoSport
We had a chance to sample the EcoSport with a six-speed automatic gearbox at the UK launch event. This is only available with the 1.0-litre 125hp Ecoboost petrol motor and so covers 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds with a top speed of 111mph.
This gearbox is perfectly adequate for the vast majority of drivers, with only a minimal delay in power delivery and smooth gear changes.
- Tidy handling is a Ford trait
- EcoSport drives fairly well for a tall car
- Noticeable body roll, but good steering
While the EcoSport is based on the previous Fiesta, you can’t expect the same pin-sharp handling since this car is far taller and rolls around a lot more when cornering.
It’s not bad, though, and it handles well for a taller car, though, with a sharp and direct steering set-up (you can tell it’s a Ford) and good enough grip levels for most. It can feel a little vague around the straight-ahead, but that lends itself to a settled and secure feeling on the motorway.
If we're splitting hairs we think the steering is a little on the heavy side - especially in ST Line trim with its sportier suspension - but it's not a serious issue. It simply makes the EcoSport feel sportier.
Let’s be realistic – most drivers of a compact SUV like this aren’t going to be wannabe racing drivers. For most then, it’s a good performer, if a little less exciting than other cars in the range.
The ride is a bit of a mixed bag, though. Higher-spec models with larger 17-inch alloy wheels can feel unsettled over uneven surfaces around town, with a noticeable fidgetiness to the ride. At higher speeds though it’s very good at dealing with imperfections in the road, and never thuds into bumps – even the worst ones.
We found the heavier diesel version of the EcoSport to be a bit more stable and settled on the road compared with the petrols, too.
- Lifted design from the new Fiesta
- Huge improvement since original launch
- Touchscreen media is easy to use
Before its update in 2017, the EcoSport featured a dashboard lifted from the previous-generation Fiesta, only with fewer appealing plastics. It felt quite low-rent and dated.
However, the facelift includes a complete overhaul of the inside, which now comes with the latest Fiesta’s style of dashboard set-up with a prominent touchscreen infotainment system within easy reach of the driver, a set of clear dials and many plusher feeling materials.
It certainly feels nicer than the SEAT Arona inside when it comes to the material quality, but there are still some harder plastics on the doors and lower down on the centre console. It feels worlds away from the pre-facelift car, and immediately makes the EcoSport a more appealing proposition to potential buyers.
It's packed with equipment, too, all of which is easy to operate thanks to clear controls that fall within easy reach of the driver – the touchscreen infotainment is particularly easy to use.
Your driving position feels very high, even compared with other crossovers, but that’s likely to appeal for those moving to this type of car from a regular small hatchback, for a clearer view of the road and a feeling of security. For us, we’d like to see a bit more adjustment in the seats though, as you do feel a little too high.
- Comfortable seats
- Suspension deals well with bumps
- Big wheels can upset the ride
Despite the good drive, the EcoSport remains a comfortable car to spend time in. The seats on higher-spec models are comfy and supportive for your sides (less so if you have long legs), but going for one of these trims means larger wheels that upset the ride around town.
It’s never too uncomfortable, but cars like the SEAT Arona and Renault Captur do a better job of settling down and avoid becoming upset by imperfections in the road around town.
One thing we really did notice is the noise – or lack of it. The EcoBoost feels incredibly refined on the road, with din from the engine and road noise admirably suppressed, even when reaching towards the rev limiter of the EcoBoost petrols.
On the motorway, however, there’s a lot of wind noise being created around the large door mirrors and windscreen pillars. The front of the EcoSport is still quite bluff, and a fair amount of wind noise is kicked up.