From £15,120
Fiesta-based crossover comes to the global market under the 'One Ford' banner

Our Verdict

The first-generation Ford EcoSport
The EcoSport is a front-engined, front-wheel-drive compact crossover

Fiesta-based crossover faces stiff competition. Is it up to the task?

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13 September 2012

What is it?

The first-generation Ford EcoSport small SUV was designed and engineered in Brazil, for Brazil. This new crossover, however, will be exported all over the world as part of the ‘One Ford’ global strategy.

Based on the Fiesta platform, the dramatic styling of the EcoSport remains faithful to the concept car shown at Asian motor shows earlier this year. It’s a loud, extrovert design that looks stunning in the metal. A massive, open-mouthed grille gives it a very different feel from the Fiesta, and the high bonnet line, machine gun-like foglights and heavily raked windscreen enhance the radical image. Narrow headlights add further aggression, while the flared wheel arches and rising beltline give the car a well planted look.

We give the Ford Ecosport a thorough going over in our road test

Ford has done a good job with the rear, too. The C-pillars and wraparound rear screen mesh together well, and the rear door- mounted spare wheel is well integrated, keeping the EcoSport under four metres in length.

What's it like?

Stepping into the high cabin is quite easy and there’s plenty of legroom for tall drivers due to the higher seating position. Much of the car’s interior is familiar from the latest Fiesta, although it does feel slightly more airy in the front.

The rear doors are a little on the small side, so ingress isn’t quite as easy as it is into the front, but rear-seat passengers have sufficient legroom to be comfortable. There’s plenty of space for your feet under the front seats and while the seating position is a bit upright, comfort is pretty good. But this is still a compact SUV, so don’t expect acres of legroom or a particularly airy cabin.

You sit higher than in the front seat, so visibility out isn’t too bad, and you can adjust the backrest, but some rivals have more space in the rear.

Boot space is just 346 litres with the rear seats in position (they fold to offer 560 litres), which isn’t much more than some large hatches.

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.

Shapur Kotwal

Ford EcoSport

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

 

 

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Comments
21

13 September 2012

In a word?  Ugly?

13 September 2012

Grotesque

13 September 2012

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahah........

13 September 2012

This will never successfully compete with the Yeti, it's way, way too ugly! Plus the review seems extremely pro-Ford, skimming over lack of rear/boot space, the heavy weight, and makes no mention of whether this car is 2WD (as I guess it is) or 4WD!

Autocar, I know you guys have regional branches, but as with your US-sources reviews, you need to make sure they're UK-relevant!

-Poledancer

13 September 2012

I kinda like it, its cute and chunky like a bear. I think there is something wrong with me.

 

________________________

This forum is dead, don't bother...

18 September 2012

It's not that ugly for it's size it's well proportioned, at least it'll be available over here, on the subject of One Ford why not sell the Falcon and the F150 over here if GM can do it with the VXR8 and the Malloo why not here?

13 September 2012

I agree with PoleDancer, this article is written the way a Ford employee would write a review, but glossing over that...

I think the EcoSport looks hideous - like every 'One Ford' to date - so I suspect Vauxhall with it's Mokka and Nissan with it's Juke don't have much to worry about.

13 September 2012

Not to buy I wouldn't have thought.

But why do companies who make cars in cheaper labour countries, design the car to look cheap? It looks cheaply designed and finished. It looks like a car designed for people to make who haven't built many cars before.

Just like Nissan who build the current Micra in cheap Thailand and designed it to look even cheaper. First Merc ML made in the US looked cheap. 

Is it only Hyundai and Kia who've realised its a better option to make a  car in a cheap country but design it to look expensive.

It's not that hard to work out, is it?

 

 

You're not stuck in traffic - you are traffic!!

13 September 2012

"It’s attractive, ... The appeal is massive." Really? Are you sure? Has the dictionary definition of "attractive" changed while I haven't been looking? I mean, I really think I'd buy a Mini Countryman John Cooper Works before this munter. And how desperate is that?

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

13 September 2012

Does anyone else like the fact the wheel is on the rear door? I do Smile

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