40 Motoring: Ford beefs up its baby SUV
Ford’s facelifted EcoSport comes with significant improvements, generous standard offerings, bolstered safety and unexpected gravel competence.
to remain in the driving seat, carmakers need to bring on their ‘A’ game. Much of remaining relevant hinges on improvements, central to which are advances in technology and safety – along with exterior and interior vehicle refinements. Ford’s beefed-up EcoSport ticks all the improvement boxes – now all the more necessary given that the brand’s small SUV is facing increasingly stiff competition.
The Ford EcoSport was launched in South Africa in 2013, and has been a consistent leader in the mini-utility segment. Back then, though, the EcoSport had few competitors.
Now competition is rife with rivals like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota C-HR. The EcoSport still has a 38% share of the segment it plays in and Ford is looking to up that share with its rejuvenated EcoSport.
Its refreshed EcoSport spans five models, with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine powering four of them in the Trend and top-of-the-range Titanium line-up.
Entry point to the EcoSport range is the 1.5 TDCi Ambiente model with its turbodiesel engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
The new EcoSport also comes with an unexpected capability – while no bundu basher, it is surprisingly capable on gravel. It’s now unmistakably SUV styling cues provides a subtle clue to its proficiency on the dirt.
Technology and styling enhancements, though, are likely to outweigh gravel proficiency for most consumers.
With these must-haves in mind, finweek took to the road in the middle-of-the-range EcoSport 1.0-litre Trend automatic to find out how compelling a package the new Ford EcoSport really is.
Exterior styling is cleaner and more sculpted, none more so than the EcoSport’s