Ford EcoSport Titanium 1.0 EcoBoost Review.
For – looks good, terrific interior, well equipped, drives well.
Against – lacks power, limited 4×4 options, small boot.
£22,020 from £17,496
Competition – Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Citroen C3 Aircross, Vauxhall-Opel Mokka, Mitsubishi ASX, Suzuki Vitara*, Fiat 500X, Dacia Duster, Ssangyong Tivoli, Toyota CH-R, MG ZS, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic, Mini Countryperson, SEAT Arona
I never made the acquaintance of the original, made in India Ford EcoSport, but by all accounts it wasn’t very impressive.
Gripes centred around interior quality. Make no mistake, Ford has fixed that problem, and how.
The interior is fantastic with terrific design and quality materials, dominated by an impressive, big screen for essentials like music, radio and phone. Think German premium, not mass market utility. The sound system is terrific, and there’s a heated steering wheel. There are some lovely, luxury touches, like the soft blue lighting to guide your way into the cup-holders. The same light points the way to the two UBS ports. I’ve spent hours trying to find these crucial elements to modern driving comfort in other cars, and then what seems like hours more, trying to contort my body and plug the thing in. Excellent. The dials too have nice design touches.
This model had a manual six-speed gearbox which worked well enough, and given the engine’s lack of torque it needs to be good because you will be using it a lot if you want to make the thing go.
Filler cap mysteries
But for normal people the performance will be quite adequate and it keeps up a lively cruising pace on the highway with a firm, safe feel to the experience; around the country lanes too. Fuel economy was good. I managed just over 40 mpg, although that doesn’t compare with the claim for an average 54.3 mpg. The new regulations from Brussels might finally outlaw this dishonest practice, which is common to all manufacturers. This Ford has a safety fuel pump which makes it impossible to fill it with the wrong fuel. It’s weird because when you open the outside cover, there is not an inner one to unscrew. You won’t find that information on any other website because journalists never put fuel in press cars. I always return mine full. Why should car companies finance my transportation?
At the moment there is no four-wheel drive option. That will change soon, coupled to a 1.5 diesel engine. But that doesn’t come with an automatic gearbox. You have to go for front wheel drive to get that. Makes you wonder why Ford calls the range sport utility vehicles. The blurb talks about the EcoSport having “all the rugged functionality of an SUV”, but doesn’t say 4×4 isn’t available across the range. Naughty, although not confined to Ford in this category.
During the recent cold weather I found that the EcoSport has very quick and efficient at de-icing. I wasted 10 minutes of my life trying to open the rear door. I had to resort to the instruction book to find out that it was hinged from the side. You can opt for all the latest safety and connectivity enhancing gizmos.
The EcoSport looks good too, with styling cues linking it to its bigger siblings, the Kuga and Edge, although it does look a bit narrow and unbalanced. It offers all the personalisation choices like contrasting roof paint, door mirror colours and badges. The boot was small, and wasn’t very golf club friendly. Calling it the EcoSport doesn’t make sense to me, with its suggestion of notable performance and amazing fuel economy.
Engine choices include 98 hp and 123 hp 1.5-litre diesels, 117, 123 and 138 hp petrols. The line-up now includes the sporty ST-Line variant, which offers bold styling and sports-tuned driving dynamics with more powerful petrol and diesel engines.
“We’ve enhanced the quality, technology and versatility of the new Ford EcoSport to deliver more of the confidence and control that compact SUV customers want,” said the company official Gary Boes.
This new Ford EcoSport is built at Craiova, Romania, following a €200 million investment.
What to buy?
My window cleaner became very excited when I told him about the EcoSport. He needs an SUV with a rear door which swings open, rather than the usual upward opening gate so that he load his ladders on the roof. He didn’t like the limited 4×4 option though. The swinging rear door won’t win many sales for Ford, and it sits right in the middle of a formidable group of choices. Comparing it with my winner, the Suzuki Vitara*, I would say that the Ford edges into the lead in the interior quality department, but lags badly on performance, luggage space and value for money. My top of the range Vitara has a six-speed auto box and all-wheel drive for roughly the same price as this EcoSport. The Vitara also has all the latest computerised safety devices and sound system. I note that Hyundai has come out with its version of the Kia Stonic, which looks very impressive and if my memory serves, the TV ad said it offers head-up display. As a sucker for gizmos, if that’s true, my love affair with the Vitara might be under threat.
|Ford EcoSport Titanium 1.0 EcoBoost|
|Engine:||1.0 litre, 3-cylinder petrol|
|Power:||123 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque:||170 Nm @ 1,400-4,500|
|Acceleration:||0-62 mph-100 km/h 12.7 seconds|
|Top Speed:||111 mph-180 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 54.3 mpg-5.2 l/km
WintonsWorld test – 40.4 mpg-8.9 l/km
|Emissions class:||Euro 6|
|Boot capacity:||356/1,238 litres|
|Competition:||Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Citroen C3 Aircross, Vauxhall-Opel Mokka, Mitsubishi ASX, Suzuki Vitara*, Fiat 500X, Dacia Duster, Ssangyong Tivoli, Toyota CH-R, MG ZS, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic, Mini Countryperson, SEAT Arona|
|Would I buy one?||not when there’s a Suzuki Vitara to choose from|
|Price:||£22,020 from £17,496|
|For:||looks good, terrific interior, well equipped, drives well|
|Against:||lacks power, limited 4x4 options, small boot|
(*my 5 star rated buy)