Ford EcoSport Mini-SUV

Ford EcoSport Mini-SUV​

The new Ford EcoSport model (2013) is a mini SUV which is promoted by Ford primarily in terms of its affordability, fuel economy, and all-round utility, but can also sport a few genuinely useful technological flourishes which you would normally only expect from higher end models.

It is built on the 2011 Ford Fiesta B2E platform, and its headline engine is the 1.0-litre, 3 cylinder, turbocharged EcoBoost 125PS (123bhp), also featured in the new Fiesta models. This engine is extremely well regarded, having won praises across the board for its extremely favourable ratio of performance vs fuel economy. It has been awarded International Engine of the Year for the past two years, and, curiously for an engine at this end of the market, even the recognition of the BBC's Top Gear crew.

So perhaps the best way to think about the EcoSport is as a larger version of an excellent small hatchback, stretched up for extra utility. And despite Ford's claims that the model is "made for city streets and built to escape them", there seems to be a consensus among reviewers that probably best if you don't try to escape them too much.

The much advertised ground clearance of 200mm should not be taken as an invitation to drive it up too many muddy hills in the countryside. After all, you will only ever get front-wheel drive with the EcoSport. But rather, it is to be welcomed for the elevated view of the road, and the help it provides in negotiating potholes and speed bumps. Similarly, the rather impressive wading depth of 550mm might be seen as more useful in the eventuality of floods (and floods seem increasingly likely to become a permanent feature of the British winter), rather than an invitation to off-road through rivers.

The comparison with the smaller Fiesta remains pertinent throughout, as there are many ways in which both the technical aspects and the driving experience relate closer to the hatchback than to what you might expect from a typical, larger SUV. In some regards this is a very good thing, but in others less so.

Nonetheless, the model has generated a great deal of interest in the all of the markets for which it was announced, as the mini SUV market is expected to boom this year. Originally aimed at the developing economies market, and launched in Brazil, India and China through 2012 and 2013, it is being launched in Britain and Europe more broadly in 2014. Dealerships in Britain are reporting a very large number of inquiries about the model, and expect that demand will greatly outstrip the limited supply for the car all through 2014.


Available in 1.5 diesel, N/A petrol and 1.0 Ecoboost​


The EcoSport comes to the UK market in four versions:
  • 1.0 EcoBoost
    • Euro Stage: Stage V
    • Fuel: Petrol
    • Transmission: 5-speed Manual gearbox
    • Front-wheel drive
    • Maximum power: 125 PS / 92 kW
    • Torque: 170 Nm
    • CO2 Emissions: 125 g/km
    • Fuel consumption:
      • Urban: 42.8 mpg, 6.6 L/100km
      • Extra Urban: 60.1 mpg, 4.7 L/100km
      • Combined: 53.3 mpg, 5.3 L/100km
    • Maximum speed: 112 mph
    • Acceleration (0-62mph): 12.7 seconds
    • Vehicle Excise Duty band: D
    • On The Road price:
      • Titanium trim level: £15,995
      • Titanium X trim level: £16,995
  • 1.5 Duratec (manual)
    • Euro Stage: Stage V
    • Fuel: Petrol
    • Transmission: 5-speed Manual gearbox
    • Front-wheel drive
    • Maximum power: 112PS / 82 kW
    • Torque: 140 Nm
    • CO2 Emissions: 149 g/km
    • Fuel consumption:
      • Urban: 34.9 mpg, 8.1 L/100km
      • Extra Urban: 54.3 mpg, 5.2 L/100km
      • Combined: 44.8 mpg, 6.3 L/100km
    • Maximum speed: 107 mph
    • Acceleration (0-62mph): 13.3 seconds
    • Vehicle Excise Duty band: F
    • On The Road price:
      • Titanium trim level: £14,995
      • Titanium X trim level: £15,995
  • 1.5 Duratec (automatic)
    • Euro Stage: Stage V
    • Fuel: Petrol
    • Transmission: 6-speed Automatic PowerShift gearbox
    • Front-wheel drive
    • Maximum power: 112PS / 82 kW
    • Torque: 140 Nm
    • CO2 Emissions: 149 g/km
    • Fuel consumption:
      • Urban: 35.8 mpg, 7.9 L/100km
      • Extra Urban: 53.3 mpg, 5.3 L/100km
      • Combined: 44.8 mpg, 6.3 L/100km
    • Maximum speed: 107 mph
    • Acceleration (0-62mph): 14.1 seconds
    • Vehicle Excise Duty band: F
    • On The Road price:
      • Titanium trim level: £16,495
      • Titanium X trim level: £17,495
  • 1.5 Duratorq TDCi
    • Euro Stage: Stage V + DPF
    • Fuel: Diesel
    • Transmission: 5-speed Manual gearbox
    • Front-wheel drive
    • Maximum power: 91PS / 67 kW
    • Torque: 204 Nm
    • CO2 Emissions: 120 g/km
    • Fuel consumption:
      • Urban: 57.7 mpg, 4.9 L/100km
      • Extra Urban: 64.2 mpg, 4.4 L/100km
      • Combined: 61.4 mpg, 4.6 L/100km
    • Maximum speed: 99 mph
    • Acceleration (0-62mph): 14.0 seconds
    • Vehicle Excise Duty band: C
    • On The Road price:
      • Titanium trim level: £16,495
      • Titanium X trim level: £17,495
What is immediately obvious from these figures is that the EcoSport promises good running costs. Between low fuel consumption (especially for the EcoBoost and the Diesel variants), low road taxes in the UK, likely reasonably low insurance rates, and the usual durability and quality you would expect from Ford which should keep servicing costs to a minimum, you are looking at a very convincing proposition for the longer term.
Also welcome, is how transparent and easy to understand the engine offerings are. Combine this with only two trim levels (see below), and getting your head around which options you might wish to go for is made refreshingly easy.


Our test mule in all it's splendour!​

Test Drive

We tested the 1.0l, 3 cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine model with the Titanium Trim, standard for the UK market.

The specifications on our test car were the standard outfit, though it lacked a couple of features that will be present in the basic model which had not been implemented for the early cars distributed to dealers for test drives. Our car lacked hill start and some covers of various bits under the bonnet, and we could not test the voice controls for the trip computer because it was stubbornly refusing to acknowledge any language other than German.

Our car had:
  • Kinetic Blue metallic body colour
  • 16" Alloy Wheels
  • Keyless Entry with Ford Power Start Button
  • Electric front and rear windows
  • Electronic Automatic Temperature Control
  • Silver Roof Rails
  • Trip Computer
  • Radio/CD with USB connection
  • Thatcham Alarm
  • Multifunction leather steering wheel and leather handbrake
  • Front fog lights
  • Patna in Dark Shadow seat trim with Vigo in Charcoal Black
This model has a recommended OTR price of £15,995 including VAT, but various dealerships will offer it for quite a bit cheaper. As always, a bit of shopping around is well advised.


Ford EcoSport sideview​

  • Length: 3999 mm (not including the rear-mounted wheel)
  • Width: 1765 mm
  • Height: 1708 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2520 mm
  • Ground Clearance: 200 mm
  • Kerb Weight: 1200 kg - 1258 kg (depending on model and options)
When it comes to the styling of different car models, judgements will always be subjective. What can be said from the start, however, is that the EcoSport is not the most attractive car that money can buy. But on the plus side, it's not the ugliest either. And realistically, if you are looking to buy a mini SUV, then you are probably already resigned to the fact that your car will be pretty average-looking.

There can be some exceptions to this rule, such as the Mini Countryman. That is a very striking looking car - though not in a good way. If that particular model proves anything is that average looking might not be such a bad idea after all. One thing that can be stressed, however, is that the pictures in the Ford brochures and on the website do not in fact do justice to the car. It does look quite a bit better in real life.
The overall shape and styling of the body is really just what you would expect from a car in this segment. Or maybe it is the fact that the model has been around (in other markets) for a couple of years now that plays into that perception. Having been already established (read "a little old"), it is placed firmly within the established standard design language for this segment, and there aren't any "wow" features. While driving it around, we did get some looks, but mostly of curiosity for a previously unseen model rather than of wonder.
Yet there are a handful of features that attract your attention to the looks of the car. The headlights are reassuringly consistent with Ford design in other models, with a touch of sparkle provided by the LED "Signature" Lights. This design feature, first introduced by Audi a few years ago, is becoming more and more prevalent in the marketplace. May be a nice touch, if you are attracted by this aesthetic, but it has little utility otherwise, and can only be seen in very low lighting conditions.

The silver roof rails are quite conspicuous and self-consciously contrast with the rest of the bodywork. You may find the strong colour contrast a bit jarring, but the effect does go some way towards projecting a "sporty" look. The rails themselves don't look particularly heavy-duty, but then again, the most you will ever want to carry on them is probably just a pair of skis. This is not, after all, an off-road beast with which you can conquer the wilds.

The 16" alloy wheels on the model we tested looked reasonably attractive, and fitted in well with the rest of the car, and the 17" wheels seem very good-looking indeed. The wheels seem neither too wide for the purposes of the car, nor too narrow, and their traction on the road seemed perfectly adequate - though it has to be said that we only got to test the car in dry conditions, in an urban environment, so we couldn't push the car too close to its technical limits.

Ford EcoSport rear quarter view

Ford EcoSport rear quarter view​

The external, rear-mounted spare wheel case, which houses a full size wheel, looks oversized, and somewhat out of place. The rest of the car simply does not look large enough, or indeed that rugged for it to fit in with the rest of the design. But you will be very happy that Ford chose to put the spare wheel where they did for practical reasons. The way in which Ford have raised the stance of the car, mostly by simply lifting the entire floor up, means that there is no space for anything under the carpet in the boot, except a very small tool box. Another consequence of the rear-mounted spare wheel is that the tailgate does not open upwards, as it would in a hatchback, but rather sideways. This is quite interesting at first, but once the novelty wears off, you notice that this will prevent you from backing into parking spaces if you wish to retain access to the boot. You will also need to always bear in mind that the hinges of the tailgate are on the left-hand side, which in Britain means that the door opens into the road and towards the pavement when parked. And parallel parking will be an interesting feat as well, given that you will have no idea of where exactly your rear-mounter spare ends, and when you are about to bump into the car behind you. Bumping into things, incidentally, is strongly discouraged also on account of EuroNCAP's assessment of the Ecosport's safety towards pedestrians: score of 58%. But Ford's customers are much better looked after, with a 93% safety score for passengers.

Front view of the Ford EcoSport

Front view of the Ford EcoSport​

Lastly, the "bold" front grill is quite difficult to describe, but it feels unsatisfactory. It is prominent from the front in a way that feels unbalanced in relation to all the other details around it, and it is not particularly remarkable or attractive in any way. It looks less out of place in real life than it does in promotional pictures, but, for such a prominent feature, it's still not the best design effort.

Could Ford have done better? Given the difference in price and segment, it would be unfair to expect that Ford could meet the design level of something like the Range Rover Evoque. But if it really is the case that the EcoSport is an oversized Fiesta, then scaling up the design language of the Fiesta might have been a better idea. Sure, that kind of strategy could also go wrong, and the Mini Countryman is a good example of how that could happen. But the Mini design language is different in that the whole aesthetic is driven by the appeal of the "small, charming and full of character". The Fiesta design, on the other hand, is not constrained in the same way. And at the very least, a Fiesta style front grill would have worked a lot better than the current proposition.

At the time of launch in the UK, the EcoSport will also be in direct competition with the likes of the Renault Captur in the same segment, for example. And when it comes down to design and styling alone, the Captur is in an entirely different league. So unfortunately, the EcoSport already feels out of date in this area, next to some of its direct competitors.

The saving grace of the EcoSport, however, is that when all is said and done, it looks and feels solid and properly put together. All the panels seem sturdy and well assembled, all the doors and joints (e.g. for the bonnet) work properly and have no wiggle or give, and they all close with a reassuring thud, which hints at a properly sealed cabin. This is more than just subjective impression, as there is a rubber band going around the edges of every door, where they make contact with the rest of the body, effectively insulating the interior. Panel gaps are consistent and narrow, the paintjob seems very good, and overall there are no obvious details that would suggest that this is car is anything less than mechanically solid.

Ford EcoSport Interior

Ford EcoSport Interior​


If the exterior of the car leaves you with a mixed impression, so does the interior. From the onset, it must be said that the car is perfectly adequate for what the car is, the segment it aims for and the price point. It has most, if not all, of the main features you would expect, and some nice extras. It has just about enough space (see below), and does most things you would want it to.
The car has quite a number of small storage areas (for example we counted at least 5 cup holder spaces, not including spaces in the front door pockets), a very welcome elbow rest for the driver's left arm, a storage box under the passenger seat (supposedly for valuable electronics), and the glove compartment with a very interesting drinks cooler system which will keep your cans of energy drink nice and cool. Furthermore, the seats offer good support and feel solid and reassuring. And, so does the steering wheel, which is feels natural to hold from the start and gives very nice tactile feedback. Happily, this nice tactile feedback is also a feature of the gear lever, in the manual version we tested, and the handbrake which is very easy to operate. In short, everything to do with the mechanics of the car and the direct driving experience feels of good quality.
But then things start to go a bit wrong. While all the parts essential to driving seem really well put together, the rest doesn't. And that very immediate contrast can come as quite a shock. The plastic used on the dashboard and around the cabin feels flimsy and cheap. In places, you even get the impression that it is creaking when pushed.
The buttons around the central console feel equally flimsy. And the design of the central console itself is quite contradictory. On the one hand, the view that the driver gets just in front of them is simple, elegant and highly functional: the steering wheel with just one set of buttons for controlling the car's trip computer, a revs dial, a speedometer, and two control sticks for the usual signalling and windscreen wiper facilities - all these features are where they should be.

Ford EcoSport Interior

Ford EcoSport Interior​

But as soon as the eyes turn towards the central console, one is met by a big, intimidating cluster of buttons, all slapped straight in the middle of the cabin. And what's worse, most of these buttons could easily have been disposed of with very little effect on functionality. On top of the sea of buttons lies a functional, but small, non-colour, non-touch screen through which you can control most of the car's digital features. Here again, the EcoSport just feels two years old, in contrast with the more recent design trends towards cleaner central consoles dominated by large, colour touch screens, which you do get in the above-mentioned Renault Captur.

And lastly, the trims: unless you plan to really mistreat your car by regularly transporting messy small children or pets with it, you really, really want the Titanium X trims with Torino Leather seats in Charcoal Black. The standard Titanium trims with Patna and Vigo give the same kind of tactile feedback as the flimsy plastic around the cabin and will constantly remind you that you have chosen the cheap option.

Space & Practicality
  • Seating Capacity: 5 (though realistically it is closer to 4 ½ )
  • Boot Space: 346 litres (variable, depending on back seats incline); 1238 litres when the seats folded and rolled forward all the way.

It's easy to get in and out of the Ford EcoSport​

In terms of interior space the EcoSport feels somewhat deceptive. While on the outside it feels bigger than you would expect, on the inside it feels smaller than you would expect. Indeed, this is where the fact that it is built on the Fiesta platform becomes immediate obvious. Though the EcoSport is longer than the hatchback, in terms of cabin size it is more or less in the same ballpark. And because of the contrast with the bigger size of the exterior, and the somewhat reduced level of natural lighting coming in, it can feel even smaller!
That is not to say that there isn't enough space for most people's needs. The front can seat comfortably two adults of just about any size, and so can the back. Despite any first impressions, once inside you will not feel cramped in, wherever you choose to sit. Though if you want to fit three people in the back, they might need to be somewhat smaller.


Good amounts of legroom available​

Legroom is perfectly satisfactory in the back as well, even for someone rather tall. 6 foot and above should still be fine. It would not be too comfortable to try and catch a nap on the backseat of the EcoSport, but otherwise it should serve the needs of an average 2+2 family very well. What is more, getting in and out of the car requires minimal effort for someone of average height, with there being no need either to climb down into the seats, or climb up to them. This is true of both front and rear seats. If you want to take the same 2+2 family on holiday, however, you might wish to plan the luggage you take with you quite carefully. If the backseats are in use, the boot is only about 362 litres and can probably fit 2 large suitcases stacked on top of each other, but not much more on top of that. The situation is greatly improved if the back seats are folded forward fully, as these can be rolled forward almost all the way up to the back of the front seats. This clears up most of the area behind the driver's seat for storage, and the EcoSport can finally start to claim some SUV utility. Don't expect to be able to move house in one go like this, but there will be enough space for 6-7 large suitcases, and then some on top.


The Ford EcoSport has a 346 litre boot​

It seems that most of the gap between the expectations of how much space there will be in an EcoSport and how much there actually is, comes from the way in which Ford have achieved the raised profile for the car. Once you open any door, including the boot door, you will notice that there is almost no depth inside the cabin. The lower edges of the doors are very close to the same level as the floor of the cabin, and that is very high from the road. Yet none of the space under this high floor is utilisable by you, even in the boot. Ford have reserved all that space from the raised profile of the car entirely for the mechanics of the vehicle. So the boot space is not nearly what you would hope for. While 346 litres sounds acceptable, it really looks small next to the space in some hatchbacks, and is not a huge gain in "utility" on the new Fiesta's 276 Litres in practical terms. This is perhaps the reason why Ford decided to put the spare wheel outside. If they had decided to try and put the wheel inside the car, there would have been precious little space left for luggage in the boot.


The Ford EcoSport is more soft-roader than off-roader​

Ride And Handling
  • Ground Clearance: 200 mm
  • Wading Depth: 550 mm
  • "Approach" Angle: 22 degrees
  • "Departure" Angle: 35 degrees
So far, the first impression of the car is pretty mixed, and that ambivalence persists even when the car has been examined in detail. Many individual features of the car are really good, and right next to them there are just as many features that immediately dampen one's enthusiasm. But does the car deliver where it really matters: ride, handling, performance, and safety?

In short: Yes. To start with, the ride and handling are really, really good. You walk around the car and the design leaves quite a few things to be desired, you step into the car and feel around and that disappointment continues, but as soon as you press the keyless start button and set off, all those things are instantly forgotten.

Everything that you tell the car to do it does it with such sharpness and responsiveness that it takes you by surprise. Especially if you step into the car expecting to be driving an SUV. The acceleration is the first thing that grips you. Here you are inside a car that from the outside looks pretty big and that should feel heavy, with a tiny 1.0l engine. You set off in 1st gear, and before you have had time to lift your foot off the clutch from starting it, you are already at 25-30mph and need to shift up a gear. The next thing is the steering. Being a long car, it looks like the steering should be wide and heavy, but with just the slightest flick of the wrist you can jump from one lane to the other and go around the car in front of you. And the turning circle if you are trying to do a three-point turn in the middle of the street is equally good for a car this size, at an estimated 10.6m. Then, there's the gear changes. Smooth, light, and uneventful until you lift the clutch and the next gear engages, at which point the car just drags you forwards with force.

We were trying to drive the EcoSport in as civilised a fashion as possible, but until you have driven the car for a number of days and have gotten used to its sweet spots, you will inevitably be too heavy with the sensitive controls. This will make the drive feel like you are in an excessively sporty hatchback driven by a yobbish teenage boy, pulling off unnecessary accelerations, violent swerves and intimidating engine revving.
On the other hand, and in a very welcome contrast, the EcoSport will do a very good job of shielding you away from all of the environmental shocks that the urban jungle might want to throw at you. Speed bumps or potholes? You will get enough of an impression through the seats and steering wheel to know that they were there. You will hear the sounds of having driven over an obstacle. But even as we drove deliberately through a series of potholes, the drive was nothing but comfortable.

Loud traffic around you? You will hear enough to know that there are cars around you, and to be able to locate where exactly they would be, but very little else. Most of your cabin noise will come from the sound of your wheels on the road, or the wind. This can get a little loud, but it also gives you all the feedback you need to know what is happening under you. And against that background, you will hear the engine swiftly revving up and down in perfect sync with your right foot.


The Ford EcoSport can wade at depths of up to 550mm​

And, of course, you should be alright wading through even the deepest and most ill-advised puddles on the road with very little worry, when the weather gets ugly. Add to all this that high vantage point you get from the elevated driving position, and you will feel in control of the situation at all times.

In short, the ride is a very satisfying combination of comfortable and responsive, and soon your driving will be impulsive and instinctive. In less than 10 minutes of starting to drive it, you will feel like the car automatically reacts to your desires and you no longer need to think about your driving: you simply drive. And any quibbles you may have had before turning on the engine will be long forgotten.
Furthermore, despite the length and elevation, when driven, the EcoSport really feels like a small, fast, nimble city car with which it is easy and straightforward to wiggle through rush-hour traffic. Indeed, the car is in fact surprisingly narrow on the road and should not make driving through the narrow roads of Britain's market towns any more difficult than it needs to be. In the urban environment at which the car is aimed (Ford's marketing efforts aside), the car feels at home and performs impressively.

  • Acceleration (0-62mph): 12.7 sec
  • Top Speed: 112 mph
The excellent ride and handling can almost make you forget that you are in fact driving a slightly oversized car with what would traditionally be considered an undersized engine. And on city streets you will not encounter any situations where the car gets anywhere near its performance limits. The 123 bhp of the EcoBoost engine, at least, are more than enough to put you on top of any situation in an urban or suburban environment.

And though we have complained about it, the exterior styling is such that it does not hinder perceptibly the performance of the car even at motorway speeds, with a decent drag coefficient of 0.371. This means that you are not likely to feel overpowered by headwinds, or indeed vulnerable to strong side winds, even though you are driving a tall car with a small engine.

ford-ecosport-performanceBut there are situations that will remind you that the laws of physics still apply to you and your car, and that you probably should pay some more attention to your driving. An example of this is if you need to go up a fairly steep incline (as is typical of some hilly towns in the country) at 30mph and you find yourself in the wrong gear, for example in 3rd gear. Just as readily as the gas pedal would normally throw your forwards with oomph, now the engine will feel completely choked out and flooring the gas pedal will only aggravate the sense of confusion when the car isn't responding with the same effortlessness with which you were used to. A simple gear down-shift is all it takes to reinvigorate the car completely in just one second, and get it back into its aggressive character, but this experience should remind you that you are driving a specific kind of car, with specific limits.
And some of the specific limits will, as is the case with most mini SUVs, include off-roading. Just because you have a huge spare wheel stuck to the back of the car does not mean that you can go up a muddy hill. Going up a steep hill covered in tarmac is an interesting enough experience as it is. In our case, this was not helped by the fact that the test-drive model that we got to play with did not come with hill start assist, but you can rest assured that this feature will be available in models on sale later this year.

We must say that we have not had enough time and the right roads to push the car to its proper limits. So we cannot say much about where its traction starts to give, when it starts to understeer, or when you get to feel any body roll. But the good news is that none of these things should be an issue where you are most likely to be driving this car.

Equipment, Safety and Security

Ford EcoSport InteriorStandard equipment for all models delivered in the UK:
  • SYNC with AppLink - this is Ford's in-car voice control facility, and they claim that it will allow you to sync the car's computer with your phone, enabling you to make and take calls, have received texts read out loud to you, play the music stored on your phone, and access certain apps. We were unable to test this facility during our test drive because in our test vehicle the electronics were stubbornly stuck to German. The EcoSport was the first vehicle to get this feature in this latest version in Europe, and apparently it works reasonably well, even if it occasionally dislikes certain British accents.
  • Shift Indicator for gear changes - there is a light on the instrument panel which tells you the optimum times to shift gears. No, not for speed, but for fuel economy.
  • Trip Computer and trip information panel - provides you with figures on mileage done, fuel consumption, outside air temperature, and range left given the amount of fuel in the tank and your current average consumption.
  • Airbags - driver, passenger, curtain and side airbags, and a driver's knee airbag.
  • Emergency Assist - in case of a collision where the airbags are triggered or the fuel pump is deactivated, the onboard computer communicates directly with the emergency services, providing coordinates and other data. This only works when SYNC is paired with a compatible mobile phone.
  • Anti-lock breaking system (ABS) with electronic break distribution (EBD). Also, Emergency Break Assist (EBA) which can automatically break harder than you are in certain circumstances.
  • Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Traction Control - help prevent understeer, oversteer, and can help prevent wheelspin on slippery surfaces.
  • Four rear ISOFIX child seat attachment points.
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System - immediately alerts you in case of a puncture
  • Driver and passenger seatbelt reminder alert.
  • Thatcham Category1 alarm with inclination sensing - detects intrusion through a broken window, and even attempts to lift the vehicle (e.g. in case of towing).
  • Keyless Entry with Ford Power Start Button - should you run out of battery on the keyfob, the top comes off it revealing an old school key which will give you access to your car.
  • Front fog lights.
  • Electric front and rear windows.
  • Rear wash and wipe, and defogger.
  • Electronic mirrors - however these do not fold in when the engine is switched off, unlike in other recent Ford models.
  • Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS)
  • Adjustable multifunction leather steering wheel and leather handbrake.
  • Electronic Automatic Temperature Control.
  • Folding split rear seats.
  • Radio/CD with USB connection and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Sound system with 4 speakers.
  • Ford Protect - 3 year/60,000 mile Ford Protect Classic Plan Warranty, In addition, and Ford Assistance for 1 year
Titanium trim:
  • Patna in Dark Shadow seat trim with Vigo in Charcoal Black
  • 16" Alloy Wheels
  • Silver Roof Rails
Titanium X trim (£1,000 extra):
  • Partial leather trim: Torino leather in Charcoal Black
  • 17" 5-spoke Alloy Wheels
  • Automatic headlights
  • Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror & Rain Sensing Wipes
  • Cruise Control
Colour Options:
  • Bright yellow - solid
  • Diamond white - solid (optional extra, £250)
  • Kinetic blue - metallic (optional extra, £495)
  • Panther black - metallic (optional extra, £495)
  • Mars red - metallic (optional extra, £495)
  • Moondust silver - metallic (optional extra, £495)
  • Sea grey - metallic (optional extra, £495)
Other options:
  • Audio upgrade: 6 speakers, Bluetooth, Voice Control and Emergency Assistance, 3.5" colour screen, USB (£250)
  • Rear Parking Sensors (£200)
  • 4th/5th Year Extended Warranties:
    • either 4 years/80,000 miles (£130)
    • or 5 years/100,000 miles (£240)
  • Premium Plan - includes Scheduled servicing, Extended Ford Assistance and Vehicle Hire
    • 2 years / 2 Services (£350)
    • 3 years / 3 Services (£570)
Some features and options it lacks:
  • Front heated windscreen - in a pretty inexplicable move, Ford has decided to dispense of this option altogether, and you cannot even pay to have it added
  • Folding mirrors - Ford fans may be disappointed that this car does not have mirrors that fold automatically when turning off the engine, as is usual on other Ford models
  • Grab handles - much to the surprise of some reviewers, it seems the EcoSport will not feature any grab handles in order to leave space for their curtain airbags. We personally did not find this to be an issue, but if you make a habit of hanging shirts or suits off them in the back of your car you may miss them.


When choosing to buy a compact crossover / mini SUV such as the EcoSport, you will need look both left and right to see what other manufacturers are doing in the same segment, and up and down to see how other models in the Ford range compare, in order to make an informed purchasing decision. Below is quick overview of what else is on the market at the moment.
ford-fiestaFord Fiesta (£9,995 - £18,245)
The Fiesta is the smaller, older brother of the EcoSport, as we noted above. It is Whatcar?'s supermini of the Year 2014, and for good reason. It has similar engines and powertrains to the EcoBoost (thought it has quite a few more options on offer), but it is lighter, has much better poise on the road and less body roll in turning (as you would expect from a car with a much lower centre of gravity). And it is better outfitted within comparable price brackets. Naturally, it also has better acceleration and a higher top speed. It lacks certain utility features of the EcoSport, such as the roof rails, the external spare wheel and the raised profile. It also has a smaller boot, and the back seats do not roll over all the way to the front as they do in the EcoSport. It also lacks some of the nice add-ons in the EcoSport such as the latest SYNC with AppLink system and the drinks cooler in the glove compartment. The Fiesta looks much more attractive on the outside, and of a much more natural size. Otherwise the cabins of the two cars look and feel broadly similar, but the Fiesta comes with far more options and trim varieties, and can be customised to give a much better sense of comfort and luxury, if you are so inclined (and can afford it). Against the Fiesta, the EcoSport has only a couple of arguments, and they are all to do with the (slight) extra utility and the higher driving position. If those are absolute musts for you, then the EcoSport is the better choice. Otherwise, the Fiesta will likely win most contests.
ford-kugaFord Kuga SUV (£20,995 - £32,500)
The Kuga is still considered a compact SUV but it is about half a metre longer than the EcoSport, and it has much more of an SUV aura and feel to it. In a way, the Kuga is a size increment on the EcoSport in a similar way to how the EcoSport is a size increment on the Fiesta. It has one size more space inside, one size extra utility and so on. But it also has a much more quality feel to it, as is perhaps fairly indicated by the price. This should signal straight away that the comparison between the two cars is somewhat inappropriate, but a good look at the Kuga is necessary in order to understand the EcoSport in context, and to understand exactly what needs the baby SUV is aiming to satisfy. If it is full SUV utility you are looking for, and can afford the extra cost, the Kuga should be what you are aiming for. If, on the other hand, you are set on a mini SUV as the perfect compromise between performance, utility and cost (and this seems to be the thinking of many consumers nowadays), then go for the EcoSport.
renault-capturRenault Captur (£12,495 to £18,695)
The Captur offers a wider range of engine and transmission, and trims options than the EcoSport, which comes with a wider range of price points. But otherwise, the two cars sit in broadly the same price segment. And in terms of utility and approach they are also very similar. Much like the EcoSport is based on the Fiesta, the Captur is based on the Clio. Which implies that much of the same sort of hatchback / town car feel carries over from the smaller Renault, just as is the case with the Fords. The first obvious difference between the two cars is in their appearance. The Renault is not trying to look sporty, aggressive and rugged, in a segment where these attributes will never really apply. The result is that the design feels much more attuned to the purpose of the car (i.e. and urban crawler), and in consequence it is a much, much better looking car and much more elegant on the road too. At least in our subjective opinion. The cabin interior and front console layout are also very much in line with Renault's reputation for progressive design. And though this is not always well received, in this case, the interior of the Captur just looks a lot nicer, better organised and elegant than that of the Ford. Though worries about quality and the flimsiness of the plastics used persist here as well.

Performance-wise, the Captur looks pretty good as well, at least on paper. Some engines are smaller and more economical than even the EcoSport's EcoBoost, and others are bigger and faster, with slightly better acceleration and higher top speed. What you don't get however, is the brilliant compromise in the middle that the EcoBoost offers, with much more performance bang per unit of fuel buck. The Captur also looks pretty good on costs, with the equivalent models usually marginally cheaper than the Ford offering and with lower running costs (including fuel consumption, tax and insurance). Though this will largely be due to the equivalent models being underpowered next to the EcoSport varieties. The main obstacle to the Captur is, however, Renault's other reputation: the reputation it has when it comes to reliability. The Captur will be new in 2014, and, of course we cannot know from the start how reliable it will prove to be. All the while, it is standing next to a car from a manufacturer with a long-standing reputation for reliability, a car based on the extraordinary and proven Fiesta. Are the good looks and elegance of the Renault enough to warrant taking that kind of risk?
In conclusion, the choice between the Captur and the EcoSport comes down to: design and costs on the side of the Renault; and performance and reliability on the side of the Ford. Which one you will choose will depend entirely on how much you value each of those considerations relative to the others, and your attitude towards potential reliability risks.
nissan-jukeNissan Juke (£13,195 - £22,700)
The Nissan Juke has been best described as a love-it-or-hate-it issue. In that regard, it is strongly reminiscent of the Nissan Micra.

And just like the Nissan Micra, the very striking exterior appearance, combined with a rather well-designed cabin will earn Nissan many fans. This fact will probably mean that, along with the Captur, this car will be one of the EcoSport's strongest competitors. But, this also means that direct comparison of relative performance, relative utility, relative reliability and so on, will be largely academic. If you love the Juke, you will buy the Juke. Otherwise, the EcoSport will be one of your most likely choices.

Overall, reviewers are not very well disposed towards the Juke on account of its polarising design, small boot, and more limited utility. The EcoSport is considered a better proposition, at least on paper, and is expected to satisfy a broader church of potential consumers. But we will see in about a years' time how consumers will vote with their hard-earned cash.


The new EcoSport can be quite a difficult car to get your head around. Though this should not be surprising for a car in the mini SUV sector, so snugly tucked between much more recognisable and established car categories, such as the hatchback and the full SUV. It can feel both bigger than you had expected and smaller than you had expected, at the same time.

Ford EcoSport - Will it be a big seller?

Ford EcoSport - Will it be a big seller?​

This ambivalence also holds true when it comes to quality, and the perception of quality. This may be an unavoidable consequence of the price point usually attacked by cars in this segment. Underneath the skin, the car feels solid and properly built. The mechanical side of things performs brilliantly, and the driving experience reflects that. And though it is too soon to pronounce on its long-term reliability, all indications are that Ford have put together a vehicle that meets their usual high standards in that regard. But on top of the solid mechanical core, many details around the car amd especially inside the cabin will remind you that you have bought a car that sits very much at the "value" end of the market: cheap feeling plastic dashboard, cheap feeling seat trims, overall sense of austerity, and the lack of certain features one would have assumed to be standard, and so on.

Having said that, this car truly is value for money. Ford may have skimped on certain embellishments, but there is no indication that they have skimped on any of the important details of the car. If given the choice of what features should be of the highest quality, and which can be sacrificed to meet a low price point, you would probably agree with the choices that Ford has made here.

If you buy an EcoSport, chances are you are not going to regret it. But, even so, there may well be, at the back of your mind, a small niggle that will persist: "Should I have bought the Fiesta"? There are some important differences between the two cars, yet only a couple of them can sway you definitively in favour of the EcoSport: the raised profile of the car (with the concurrent advantages in terms of viewing position, ground clearance and the wading depth), and the frankly not that impressive extra utility derived from having roof rails and a marginally larger boot. It is entirely possible that you may find that those factors can sway your buying decisions strongly in favour of the EcoSport, but before making any such decision, it is strongly recommended that you test drive other cars on offering, both from the wider Ford range, or from other competitors in this segment of the market.