Engine, infotainment takes EcoSport to next level

2018-10-24 06:03
= The new Ford EcoSport features fresh new exterior styling from front to rear.     Photos:SUPPLIED

= The new Ford EcoSport features fresh new exterior styling from front to rear. Photos:SUPPLIED

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FORD in June launched its new EcoSport compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) with fresh new exterior styling from front to rear, a more upmarket and user-centric interior as well as sophisticated technologies that are sure to catch the attention of buyers in this hugely competitive market segment.

The new EcoSport has been upgraded to tick all the boxes of those who want SUV type looks and driving, without the negatives associated with SUVs, such as high price brackets, big fuel bills and bulky vehicles which are not ideal for the daily commute and shopping centre visits. In other words offering a SUV high-seat experience with city car practicality, ride and price.

The vehicle test driven for this week’s Express on Wheels is the top of the range Titanium model with the new six-speed automatic transmission and all the bells and whistles.

The other spec levels in this range is the entry level Ambiente, followed by the middle of the range Trend. The Ambiente is the only one available with a 1.5 TDCi diesel engine, while the Trend and Titanium models are powered by the 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine and are available in manual or the new six-speed automatic transmission.

Before going into the test drive and upgrades in detail, three things that stood out about the time spent with the new EcoSport – and which would be the top reasons I would consider saving up to park this one in my garage – are:

  • Great power and acceleration: this multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and the way it powers this bulky vehicle is truly impressive
  • The ease of use of the great-looking sophisticated SYNC®3 communications and entertainment system with its floating central touchscreen.
  • Attention to detail in all the finishing touches which gives the interior a luxury feel. This includes detail such as the blue ambient lighting at night (in the cupholders stand and on the instrument panel) coupled with piano black accents, comfy leather seats, vanity lights behind both front visers and plenty of clever stowage spaces.

The only big negative of the EcoSport for me was that spare wheel on the boot lid – this makes the door heavy to open and close and is in the way in busy parking lots.

Most of the time I opted to rather put my grocery shopping on the back seat – rather than having to open that door. The boot is, however, a very decent size and offers an adjustable boot floor.

An interesting fact is that the boot floor uses a special honeycomb construction that makes it gram-for-gram stronger than steel, and able to support more than 300kg. I also liked the high seating position and good visibility all round. The rear parking sensors provide a whole lot of peace of mind.

Another thing that caught my eye was the two USB ports in the front – this is great news for family trips on the long road. With every passenger in the vehicle probably having a phone, the battle over who gets to charge their phone can now be avoided.

The Titanium models are also equipped with a sliding armrest with a tray and deep storage compartment where a tablet can be packed away. This model also offers the practicality of under-seat storage underneath the passenger seat.

Women, especially, will find the keyless entry and start very practical (only available on the Titanium version). As long as your handbag is in the car, there is no need to hunt for your keys in that handbag. When you lock the vehicle the electrically powered side mirrors are gently tucked in.

The Ford EcoSport has an entirely new instrument cluster and centre console designed for easy operation with fewer buttons.

There are also steering wheel controls for the entertainment and navigation system, as well as for the cruise control and speed limiter which is for the first time ever offered on the EcoSport (Titanium model only).

Ford’s sophisticated SYNC®3 communications and entertainment system is fitted as standard on the Trend and Titanium models, and incorporates Bluetooth and voice control.

SYNC®3 is supported by the new floating colour touchscreen. A 6.5-inch screen is fitted on the Trend models, while the Titanium features an eight-inch version.

Even at the most affordable end of the spectrum, the EcoSport Ambiente benefits from Ford’s first-generation SYNC® with Bluetooth and Voice Control, as well as steering wheel audio controls.


Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, powering the Trend and Titanium models, is the six-time International Engine of the Year in the sub-1.0-litre category. It is known for delivering an exceptional combination of performance and fuel efficiency and produces 92kW of power matched to a peak torque output of 170Nm all the way from 1 400 to 4 500 r/min.

The auto gearbox was very willing and cooperative with smooth transitions. Even at times when the foot is put down too hard on the accelerator, something which most auto vehicles do not particularly like, the Eco-sport drives on unflustered.

The transmission also has a Sport mode and steering column-mounted paddle-shifters provide an additional level of driver engagement.

The EcoSport has very impressive acceleration and power. I enjoyed the feel of the steering wheel and the handling was precise.

I liked the high ride and good visibility without the floaty feel over speed bumps and around traffic circles that one often gets when driving the bigger SUVs.

The fuel consumption during the week of test driving on the urban commute, mostly in peak hour traffic, were 11.4l/100km (or 8,7km/litre). The 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel engine remains part of the line-up and is offered in the Ambiente trim, linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. It delivers 74kW and a substantial 205Nm of torque between 1 750 and 3 250 r/min.


The EcoSport boasts as standard fitment Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control (TC), as well as Roll Stability Control (RSC). 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).

The top-spec EcoSport Titanium also has automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers as well as Electronic Automatic Temperature Control.

Six airbags are fitted as standard on the EcoSport Ambiente, comprising dual front, side and curtain airbags, while the Trend and Titanium models are additionally equipped with a driver’s knee airbag.

The new EcoSport is also more secure and is fitted with a standard perimeter alarm, remote central locking and new anti-theft door locks. The Trend and Titanium models benefit from a Thatcham alarm with double dead-locking.

Recommended Retail Prices (incl. Vat and CO2 emission tax):

EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Ambiente 5MT R267 500

EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend 6MT R293 500

EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend 6AT R306 900

EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6MT R334 500

EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6AT R346 900

All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited kilometre corrosion warranty.

A four-year/60 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.

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