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.

Finweek English Edition - - Contents -

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.

Outer skin

Ex­te­rior styling is cleaner and more sculpted, none more so than the EcoSport’s

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