The high-riding driving position, and the clear frontal view it affords, are the most novel aspects of the interior. The rest of the EcoSport – recognisable from other Ford products – is far less adventurous than you might expect given the car’s strong exterior lines, and lacks the pizzazz of rivals such as the Captur.
Still, it majors on practical considerations. Both headroom and legroom are very good, boot space is 310 litres and you can free up a not-inconsiderable 1238 litres by folding and tumbling both elements of the 60:40 split rear bench.
Although mounting the spare wheel on the rear door is a clever way to liberate more boot space, it does feel more like a design-led gimmick. From a practical perspective, it makes the side-hinging door rather heavy and awkward, which could be an issue if you’re grappling with luggage or shopping bags.
It’s clear from the outset that heady performance isn’t the EcoSport’s forte. In the Fiesta, this engine can sprint to 62mph in 9.4sec, while installed in this baby SUV takes a rather more sedate 12.7sec.
On more twisting roads, though, the EcoSport shows little sign of body roll, cornering with a precision that’s quite pleasing for a supermini-on-stilts. It could even feel like a deft performer were it not for light and not particularly engaging steering that’s presumably set-up to focus on town centre manouvering.
The ride is composed, with only the most significant of road ruts communicating to the driver. The EcoBoost engine emits its now-familiar three-pot thrum, noticeable but not overbearing during acceleration and at motorway speeds. Those used to the Fiesta might notice a touch more road and wind noise, but it’s not intrusive.
Ford says the EcoSport has some genuine off-roading capability, with 180mm of ground clearance. We did not have the opportunity to test the claim, although the lack of a four-wheel-drive variant in the UK model range suggests the only jungle this model will be seen in is an urban one.
Our short test route in the 1.0-litre EcoBoost returned fuel economy in the low 40mpg region. Although a subsequent drive in the 1.5-litre diesel version returned 45mpg over the same varied roads, the oilburner costs an extra £500.