TEST DRIVE | Ford EcoSport
With baby SUVs becoming more popular, it would only be a matter of time before Ford got in on the act. The new EcoSport is meant to rival the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, plus a couple of others.
It’s fair to say it’s not Ford’s most adventurous design but I think it doesn’t look too terrible with the large styling features on the front end making it quite cute. Sadly the rear is just plain boring – not radical in the slightest. Early models of the new EcoSport had a spare wheel stuck on the back reminiscent of an old Freelander from the 90s and there is no need for this in 2016 I’m afraid. This design faux pas also means the EcoSport’s boot has to open sideways which is also unusual to see on a modern car and the left hinged door isn’t as easy as it should be. If you owned this car you’d soon have a shoulders like an NFL linebacker. That or arthritis within a month. Hardly ideal for a car designed for urban use.
Ford came to their senses and as of early 2016, the EcoSport is thankfully no longer offered with the ghastly spare wheel stuck on the back. On the subject of the boot, when the rear seats are folded down the load space is vast. I actually assisted a friend move house during my time with the EcoSport and it swallowed lots of boxes and small pieces of furniture with no problem at all.
It’s a little better inside with an adequate quality interior lifted straight from the Fiesta (on which the EcoSport is built) but with lesser quality materials used in some areas. Some of the plastic surfaces are rock hard and feel as well as look mottled and cheap like a primary school chair. I must say there’s an impressive amount of storage space and the rear seats can fold and flip up along with a good sized boot and knee-height lip. Rear passenger space is very acceptable, even if you’re tall. On longer journeys I find the seats aren’t very supportive and I found myself wriggling around trying to get comfortable.
All UK models of the EcoSport are Titanium trim and come with decent kit including 16-inch alloys, digital climate control, keyless entry and start, a multi-function steering wheel and electric windows all round. For another £1000 you can add the Titanium X pack which includes leather seats, cruise control and bigger alloys.
Behind the wheel I must admit it doesn’t feel as tall and lumbering as it looks from the outside, it actually feels quite tight and handles OK but doesn’t drive anywhere near as good as the latest Fiesta – a car by which other hatchbacks are frequently judged.
£15,000 will get you into an EcoSport. I think it’s a little pricey considering you can get a high-spec VW Polo for that (I know which I’d rather have). This car had the 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine which I can’t recommend, I’d much rather own the EcoBoost version. Believe it not, the EcoSport has been one of South America’s top selling cars for the last decade or so but releasing it in UK doesn’t seem to have gone down well. However, with experts predicting that by 2021, 80% of new cars will be SUV/corssover type vehicles, the EcoSport could do well yet.