Ford arrive fashionably late with the Ford Ecosport. but can an SUV crossover mutated from a Fiesta really cut the mustard in this already difficult catagory?
The latecoming into this segment was actually the result of Ford missing a vital and very lucrative trick. Back in 2002, Ford showcased the Ford Fusion as an early small crossover, but then shied away from this approach when it came to producing it for the showrooms, where it became simply a larger kind of Fiesta. This is crucial as they could have easily created the crossover segment about a decade before the Nissan Duke came about. Instead they have come into this talented and already over-populated segment rather later in the game. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world however as it’s clear that Ford have been watching and learning from the best and the worse that the category has to offer in an educated attempt to give the market exactly what they want. The result? The EcoSport is everything the Ford Fusion should have been.
To look at, the Ford EcoSport’s relation to the Fiesta isn’t immediately obvious. It’s based on Ford’s Kinetic 2 design with sharp, distinctive headlights, shaping and style. What is obvious with this car is the faux 4×4 appeal, which denotes a rugged attitude to tackle the urban jungle. This is enhanced by a very 90’s SUV style tailgate mounted spare wheel on the back, which is probably a practicality consideration for the Ford EcoSport’s original South American based market. Some may like the old school rough and ready charm that it suggests, but most others will probably consider it an annoyance when reversing into parking spaces as it not only impairs rear visibility to some extent, but also adds an extra 20cm onto the back of the car which makes it hard to gauge when reversing. To counter this then it is very much advised that you invest in the optional rear parking sensors. Another issue with the boot is the fact that, due to the spare, it has to open sideways rather than up like most others in the segment. This creates all kinds of practicality issues when you’re parked anywhere other than your own driveway.
The boot itself opens up to a 346ltr cargo space, which, while not the biggest available in the segment, is still 40% more than you get on the Nissan Duke. This extends to 1238ltrs with the rear seats down. The Ford EcoSport also bares a couple of smart roof rails to attach big things to or a roof box. Overall it’s unlikely that you’ll find cargo capacity a major issue. Going into the back, you’ve got loads of airy headspace and a slightly raised positioning from the front seats. Combine this with the plane-like adjustability and you have a very comfortable and passenger friendly rear seating section. Go ahead into the cabin and you’ll really see the Fiesta family resemblance – especially with the mobile phone-esque button arrangement in the middle of the central console. The adjustable front seat offers a commanding perch with good visibility for tackling the roadways and 20 cubby holes and compartments to secrete and store whatever you fancy in the cabin. Aside from that, there is a bit of a hard utilitarian feel about the panels , but they have tried to undercut this feeling with a nice multifunction leather steering wheel and a glossy gearstick. To really jazz up your cabin experience, it’s well worth investing in the brilliant synch connectivity system which links the car with your smartphone.
Being based on the hugely successful Ford Fiesta, you are immediately filled with confidence in what this will probably deliver. This is dashed a bit however when you consider the effects of the lofty ride height, extra weight and the chunky, high riding body on the dynamics. As a result it doesn’t handle in the same manner. Ford have accepted this and have instead opted for a focus on ride quality and refinement instead, while simply using the mutated Fiesta dynamics as a starting point. You can easily argue that most buyers of the Ford EcoSport won’t need to throw this car around in the same manner as a standard Fiesta anyway. Everything about this seems to have been carefully considered by the engineers of this car. What is the result? Aside from a bit more body roll than you’d probably have imagined; its ride quality is actually far superior to anything in this class! It’s quieter than any other small crossover too. Being part SUV, it has a high 200mm ground clearance which, if it was to be kitted up with off-road tyres and such, is not actually that hopeless on off-road terrain. In fact you’d probably get pretty far on a decent day. I’d still recommend leaving river crossings and muddy hills for the Range Rovers out there though. It is best at home in an urban setting where the light steering and slick 5-speed gearbox will zip you across the urban jungle with comfort and finesse.
There are 3 engine options for the Ford EcoSport – the lowest is the 90ps 1.5 diesel which goes 0-62mph in 14 seconds, topping out at a modest 99mph. The 112ps 1.5ltr petrol unit improves on performance slightly with 0-62 in 13.5 seconds to a top speed of 107mph. The best engine to get by far is the 125ps 1ltr Ecoboost petrol unit which is significantly more economical while delivering 0-62 in 12.7 seconds and giving you a top speed of 112mph. Better economy and better performance – think they call that having your cake and eating it. Although this cake costs a bit more. That being said, it seems perfectly reasonable to want to eat a cake that you’ve bought. Enjoy each and every bite!
All in all, what have we got here with the Ford EcoSport? Despite being a fashionably late arrival into this already overcrowded and talent-heavy segment, Ford have had the benefit from watching from afar and learning what does and doesn’t work when creating a car like this. It’s fair to say that the research has paid off. You’ve got a good looking, fashionable and practical small SUV crossover with a fantastic ride and refinement. Ford, being the industrial leviathan that it is, will no doubt do well with this car – for good reason. Thinking back to the possibility of the Fusion back in 2002, the saying goes: ‘it’s never too late to be what you should’ve been’. Either that or ‘better late than never’.
If you want to lease or finance the new Ford EcoSport then don’t hesitate toleave us a message on our contact us page or give us a call on 01903 538835 to find out about our Ford lease deals.
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