The updated Ford EcoSport arrives on the local market hot on the heels of the new Figo and amid changes at the company that see former marketing boss, Neale Hill taking over as managing director.
In that sense, exciting times for the company and sorely needed.
Borrowing from the design styling of the new Kuga, launched late last year, the EcoSport also receives a completely new interior look and design.
“Ford has sold more than 45 000 EcoSport models in South Africa since it was launched in 2013 and it has been a major player in its segment ever since thanks to its great looks, impressive space and versatility, superb all-round performance and exceptional value for money,” says Tracey Delate, General Manager, Marketing at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
“The new Ford EcoSport offers customers even more style, comfort, capability and choice – blending rugged SUV functionality with unrivalled city car practicality.”
A large trapezoidal grille and angular headlights, incorporating LED daytime running lights on the Trend and range-topping Titanium models, dominate the revised front-end design.
I suppose if the original Renault Megane’s design was influenced by a kid wearing his cap backwards, there is no fault in taking the straps of rucksack and turning that into the inspiration for the front fog light housings and three-quarter profile of the EcoSport.
At the rear, the bumper and tail light designs also are revised to deliver a cleaner, more sculpted appearance. New alloy wheel designs offered in Gunmetal grey five-spoke 16-inch versions on the Trend series, or 17-inch rims on the Titanium. The entry-level Ambiente model is fitted with 16-inch steel rims with wheel covers.
Inside, new seat designs offer greater front and rear occupant comfort with full leather on the Titanium derivatives. The interior features a host of smart stowage solutions, including a new height adjustable boot floor that can be raised to provide concealed storage, or lowered to increase luggage capacity to 334 litres.
A new centre console features a built-in folding, sliding armrest (Titanium models) with an integrated storage compartment that is ideal for tablet computers or snacks. Buyers will also enjoy the practicality of under-seat storage underneath the passenger seat (Titanium models).
Ford’s SYNC3 communications and entertainment system is fitted as standard on the Trend and Titanium models, and incorporates Bluetooth and Voice Control. SYNC3 is supported by the new floating colour touchscreen, which can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures.
A 6.5-inch screen is fitted on the Trend models, while the Titanium features an 8-inch version as well as embedded turn-by-turn navigation.
EcoSport for the first time provides Cruise Control with Adjustable Speed Limiter on the Titanium derivative that helps drivers keep within speed limits, while rear parking sensors are provided on all models to make parking manoeuvres more efficient and safer.
Active driving safety has been stepped up across the range with standard fitment of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control (TC), as well as Roll Stability Control (RSC) in the EcoBoost range, which adjusts engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control. Additionally, the 1.0 EcoBoost-powered models gain Hill Launch Assist (HLA) that makes pulling off on steep inclines easier, along with Ford’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
On the top-spec EcoSport Titanium, there are automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers.
Six air bags are fitted as standard on the EcoSport Ambiente, comprising dual front, side and curtain air bags, while the Trend and Titanium models are additionally equipped with a driver’s knee air bag. The side air bags have been redesigned to provide extra thorax protection and direct the occupant away from an impact and new curtain air bags provide increased side-impact coverage.
Ford’s 1,0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine takes centre stage in the revised line-up, exclusively powering the Trend and Titanium models.
It produces 92 kW of power matched to a peak torque output of 170 Nm all the way from 1 400 r/min to 4 500 r/min.
Trend and Titanium customers have the choice between a six-speed manual gearbox or the latest-generation six-speed automatic that recently made its debut on the all-new Ford Fiesta.
The 1,5-litre TDCi turbo-diesel engine remains part of the line-up, offered in Ambiente trim, linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. It delivers 74 kW and a substantial 205 Nm of torque between 1 750 r/min and 3 250 r/min.
Prices (incl. Vat and CO2 emission tax):
EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Ambiente 5MT R 264 500
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend 6MT R 287 500
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend 6AT R 300 700
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6MT R 327 800
EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6AT R 339 900
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a 4-year/120 000 km comprehensive warranty, 3-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A 4-year/60 000 km service plan is included, with 15 000 km service intervals.