Our Brazilian-spec car was a petrol-powered 1.6-litre variant producing 113bhp and 115lb ft of torque. On motorways, there’s enough twist in the mid-range to get the 1243kg EcoSport moving quite effortlessly, and the motor pulls hard if you keep your foot down. Wind noise is well contained, tyre roar is pretty subdued and the miles just fly by.
On the dips and rises of flowing country roads, the EcoSport just doesn’t roll like something with its belly floating 200mm above the asphalt should. As with the Fiesta, the steering is both light and feelsome and this, together with good body control and beautifully weighted brakes, makes this car a joy to drive, even at a slightly relaxed pace. The light but accurate gearbox is super-slick, and it doesn’t mind being hurried too much, either.
Push the EcoSport much harder and there’s no loss of composure, not much body roll and not too much dive from the suspension. The steering wheel communicates the fact that there’s plenty of grip to spare and encourages you to push on. It just feels a bit special.
Should I buy one?
On the way back to Sao Paulo, we get to experience the EcoSport in less extreme traffic over some back roads with plenty of potholes and ridges, and the EcoSport’s sporty set-up felt too stiff here. While smaller bumps are absorbed with just a shimmy, larger craters register as thuds and upset the composure of the car.
Ford needs to find a compromise between comfort and grip to suit local conditions; the company usually does a stellar job so we assume it will get it right on the EcoSport, too.
It’s no surprise that Ford is turning the EcoSport into a global car. It’s attractive, fantastic to drive, comfortable, sufficiently spacious, well equipped and just the right size for city streets. The appeal is massive.
Price £14,000 (est); 0-62mph 11.9sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy na; CO2 na; Kerb weight 1243kg; Engine type 4 cyls, petrol, 1596cc; Power 113bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 115lb ft at 4250rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual