Designed in Brazil and built in India: that’s the developing world’s stamp on the Ecosport. But Ford is a US-owned company with a truly international outlook, so the new model’s heritage isn’t quite as convenient as all that.

Even beneath the skin of the certified South American Mk1 EcoSport, there was a staunchly Euro-centric piece of engineering. And just as that sat on the previous Fiesta’s ‘B3’ architecture, so the new global Mk2 version sits on its successor: the B-car platform.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The front fog lamps are a default feature on every Ford EcoSport and also serve as the car's daytime running lights

The advent of the Ecosport as a worldwide offering is entirely tied to Ford’s ambitions for that expensive piece of architecture. Development of the latest model was handled by designers and engineers from more than 16 countries, according to Ford, and its production will be spread between Brazil, Thailand, China and India. (UK models will come from India.) A global car, indeed.

High-strength boron steel has been used in the Ecosport’s body-in-white to add torsional rigidity and improve the car’s occupant protection in the event of a crash or rollover — specifically in the door frames. A similar application of the material was applied to the related B-Max MPV to compensate for the absence of fixed B-pillars.

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This car is the fourth ‘One Ford’ global model to be built on the firm’s B-platform, after the Fiesta supermini, the B-Max and the Tourneo Connect MPV, which is a car and not a van, somewhat confusingly, for couriers. 

The car is also Ford’s first ever to be developed entirely in South America. Its front strut, rear twist beam suspension configuration has been retuned for European tastes, as has its electro-mechanical power steering.

Much of it, though, is already familiar. Like the Fiesta and the B-Max (and virtually every other small car), the Ecosport wears its dinky engines in the nose, where they exclusively drive the front wheels. Those wheels meet the ground courtesy of MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam to the rear, and they are stopped by front discs and rear drums.

The engine line-up is usefully kept simple, with four options to choose from: a 111bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, an 89bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel and the UK-designed 123bhp 1.0-litre, three-pot EcoBoost engine that we all know and love. To complete the range and only available with the Titanium S trim - a 138bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine.

The facelifted model keeps the 123bhp and 138bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost engines and adds a 99bhp version of the 1.5-litre TDCi to the range too.

Arguably less likely to provoke ardour is the look of the thing. There’s nowhere to go with a baby crossover other than up, so it was inevitable that the Ecosport would be short and tall, but the bluff front end – splattered in lip gloss and shaped like a dust mask – is a feature that might take a lifetime to grow on you. Likewise, the side-opening rear door and the covered spare wheel attached to it. For 2018, Ford has given its crossover the same SUV family face that is worn by the Kuga and the Edge. It looks more prominent and purposeful than before and now with the added bonus of being able to opt for a two tone paint job (body colour and contrasting roof) in a similar vein to many of the latest entrants to the market, such as Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic, Volkswagen T-Roc, Audi Q2 and such like.

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