Ford pushes EcoSport ahead
To be brutally honest, I did not like the original Ford EcoSport very much. It never quite lived up to its quirky looks in my book — iffy finishes, not the best quality were not quite up to what's expected from the Blue Oval and I for one, was pretty vocal about that. Seems Ford paid attention to that criticism, if this latest version is anything to go by.
The original EcoSport however clearly touched a spot with a market crying out for high value family transport and it sold by the bucket load — its cheeky space utilisation and uncompromising safety clearly a stronger carrot than a few media concerns about quality. And now not only has The Motor Company made a significant effort to sort those safety concerns, but it has also tarted EcoSport up to deliver far better prospect too.
EcoSport's recent upgrade included a completely new interior, which totally banishes the old crappy cabin in favour of a modern new driver-oriented cockpit that totally transforms the car. I would never guess I was driving an EcoSport if you took a blindfold off and asked me where I was — the newcomer is far more Fiesta like and that’s a huge compliment in itself.
Boasting a refined, ergonomic feel, EcoSport also now gets an 8-inch floating central touchscreen packing with all the latest infotainment from SYNC3 connectivity to Navigation and the rest, but more importantly is that is all delivered in a contemporary, quality manner — especially for a car that in this case costs this side of three-hundred grand. A huge step forward.
Of course Electronic Stability Control, six airbags and rear parking sensors remain in place (upmarket models get even more), while Ford has also spent quality time building on that quirky style and I have to say that this blue car on dark wheels combined with the revised look applied during EcoSport’s recent nip and tuck, really all looks the part.
This 1.0T Trend of course packs Ford’s multiple award winning and perennial World Engine of the Year litre turbo three-pot, that has more or less become endemic to the petrol side of the EcoSport line-up and all I can add there, is that this little critter is worth every one of its many international accolades.
It totally defies its minuscule capacity and continues to impress me every time I happen to drive one — think about it for a moment, that a quarter century ago, 92kW was the domain of a 2 litre engine and believe you me, Ford’s offering of that capacity was a gas-guzzling relic of epic proportion. Long may ICEs continue to improve — this little thing sips a totally achievable 5.4l/100km and emits 123g/km. Consider that a Ford family car back in the ‘90s would be a 93kW Sierra 2.0 GLE that drank ten litres per hundred and you start to understand.
Anyway, in summary, Ford has completely transformed its EcoSport from a car clearly popular for its family friendly proportions, versatility and frugal habits in spite of its quality and style shortcomings, to one that is absolutely competitive in every respect. A job very well done — now to see how well the new one catches on. - Michele Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Ford EcoSport 1.0T Trend
Engine: 92kW 170Nm 999cc turbo petrol I3
Drive: 6-speed manual FWD
0-60km/h: 4.90 sec
0-120km/h: 15.25 sec
400m: 17.6 sec @ 128km/h
80-120km/h: 7.79 sec
Fuel: 5.4 l/100km
CO2: 123 g/km
Warranty/Service 4y 120K/4y 60Kkm
LIST PRICE: R298K