The supermini SUV has taken the affordable family car market by storm. Ford’s offering, the EcoSport, has had some growing pains since its initial development, but the 2015 model, which recently went on sale, has had innumerable improvements to the design and performance.
The car now feels more attuned to younger, eco-conscious buyers, with sharper handling, improved technological and aesthetic features and a sportier ride height adding to the already spacious interior and award winning engine. Nissan’s Juke, the forerunner of the supermini SUV class, is now far from alone in the market, with the Ford Ecosport joining competitors such as the Mini Countryman, Vauxhall Mokka, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.
Compared to its previous incarnation, there really has been little change in terms of the car’s aesthetic. A point of dispute for the earlier model was the addition of a spare wheel on the tailgate, a concept fit only for serious 4x4s and flashbacks to the noughties. The scrapping of this feature has immediately enhanced the look of this SUV, as has the addition of privacy glass, while the car also sits more snugly to the road having seen a 10mm decrease in ride height.
Ford has forgone the lower spec options for the EcoSport and started with their mid-range Zetec trim. Air conditioning, electric windows and remote central locking come as standard across the range, while the top-spec Titanium option features partial leather seat fabrics, keyless entry and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Following a lukewarm reception to the cabin design of the previous model, Ford has made great steps to address some of the problem areas. The EcoSport 2015 boasts new seat fabrics, fascia plastics and headlining across all models, while noise isolation has also improved with some nifty dampening innovations.
Space and height in the cabin are generous, while comfort can be assured thanks to built-in driver lumbar support, heated front seats (Winter Pack) and multi-zonal climate control (Titanium). Ford has built in a cubby hole for just about every purpose imaginable, and the glove box can double up as an air-conditioned chiller cabinet for drinks and snacks. The boot-space on offer surpasses even the Ford Focus, extending from 333-litre to 1,238-litre capacity with the folding of rear seats.
The EcoSport is no slouch on tech features, with a Bluetooth compatible infotainment system that lets you synchronise your music collection, control your device and make calls using voice commands, as well as having incoming texts read aloud. Ford’s KeyFree entry system (Titanium model) will detect your key fob remotely on approach, unlock the doors and enable you to start the car without even turning a key.
On the road
Ford has highlighted 20 separate steps that have been taken towards improved suspension and ride quality, including firmer springs, re-designed dampeners, higher quality tyres and a rear axle with a new torsion beam. The power steering on the Ford EcoSport is reactive to specific driving conditions, remaining mobile at low speeds and hardening up for motorway driving. These improvements mean that the 2015 variant has a ride that is more responsive directionally, as well as having a greater grip on the road surface.
What is unique about the EcoSport’s driving experience is the use of technology to ensure safety and accuracy while on the road. Ford’s cruise control system (Titanium) helps you to save fuel and keep control of your speed, while the Shift Indicator light will help you optimise your driving performance for even greater efficiency. For low-speed manoeuvers, parking sensors are a welcome optional extra (especially with such a high ride height), as is the Hill Start Assist, which stops you from rolling backwards by maintaining pressure on the brake for an additional 2.5 seconds. The Titanium model also comes with automated features such as light-sensing LED headlights and rain-sensing wipers that help to keep your focus solely on the road.
Engine-wise, the EcoSport range comes with three options: 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, 1.5-litre Duratec petrol (available with both automatic and manual transmission) and 1.5-litre Duratorq TDCI diesel. The 1.0 EcoBoost is the stand-out of the three, having long been known as a leader in its class, generating more power than larger engines with greater fuel efficiency. 123bhp translates to a top speed of 112mph and 0-62mph of 12.7 seconds, a decent pace for its class. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost is also the most fuel efficient of the three at 53.3mpg, with an emission rate of just 125g/km.
The EcoSport is undoubtedly a huge improvement on the previous model, with a host of updates that have enhanced the ride quality and versatility of the vehicle.
The 1.0 EcoBoost engine has been given the accolade of ‘International Engine of the Year’ for the third year in a row, while the car was unfortunate to miss out on a five star NCAP rating by a single percent, despite acing the Adult occupant safety category and providing optional extras to address any oversights elsewhere.
Now on sale from just £16,940, it would be a challenge for a cost-conscious buyer to get more features for their money. Young drivers will be enticed by the range of tech features and sleek Ford styling, while the size and versatility of the EcoSport 2015 make it an ideal option for families. The elevated driving position and manoeuvrability of this model means it’s adept as both a savvy city slicker and motorway cruiser, and the eco credentials of this model enable you to enjoy all this with a guilt-free conscience.
For more expert advice on the new Ford EcoSport, or any of our other new cars, why not get in touch with your local Perrys dealership today?