Sit back and relax: that’s what you won’t be doing too much of in the Ecosport’s company. Nowhere else will the car’s starting point as a budget option in an unsophisticated market be more apparent to the layman than inside it.

Despite sharing much of the Fiesta’s dashboard layout, the latest model methodically strips the interior of any soft-touch niceties. The seats are hard. The plastic in front of you and all around is bone hard and mottled like a primary school chair. Most of everything else is flimsy, wilting to even the most cautious exploratory waggle. Under way, the noise – engine, road and wind – frogmarches through the gaps. The 2018 model gets the latest gen Fiesta's interior, which, while not class leading being any stretch of the imagination, is a vast improvement and dominanted by the large touchscreen display. 

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
The wheel adjusts for reach and rake but it could do with more of the former, as well as a damped action – instead of an unpleasant crashing one

If all that smacks a little too much of snobbishness, it’s worth remembering that Ford will charge you a minimum of £15k for an Ecosport – the same money as a mid-spec Volkswagen Polo. From a trim standpoint, the pair defy meaningful comparison except to say that one is the standard and the other resides countless fathoms below it.

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Which, when you draw back to consider the tent poles beneath the canvas, turns out to be rather a shame. Considering that the car rests on one of the dinkiest superminis around, it is remarkably well packaged. The raised roofline means that the back seats are a viable prospect for adults, even those in the 6ft region.

Also, although the hinged rear door makes accessing the boot in a crowded car park a dangerous nonsense, Ford has managed to eke out 375 litres of load space by sticking the spare wheel to it. That’s much more, it should be said, than you’d get in a five-door Polo. It’ll provide nearly triple that with the seats folded flat, too. Predictably, you’ll need the shoulders of a lumberjack to exercise that arthritic manoeuvre. Again, pity.

The Ford Ecosport range is punctuated by three trim levels - Zetec, Titanium and Titanium S. Entry-level Zetec models get 16in alloys, LED day running lights, hill start assist, electrically adjustable wing mirrors and electric windows as standard on the exterior. Inside, there is air conditioning, height adjustable driver's seat and Ford Sync complete with USB connectivity and a CD player. Upgrade to Titanium and you'll find the Ecosport adorned with 17in alloy wheels, silver roof rails, scuff plates, a partial leather upholstery, climate control, cruise control, auto wipers and lights, and keyless ignition and entry. Topping the range is the Titanium S and it gets sports suspension, 17in alloy wheels, gloss black exterior, rear tinted glass and a Sony DAB audio system.

The new Ecosport is still available with three trims - Zetec, Titanium and ST-Line - but with more standard equipment. Zetec models get 16in alloys, front foglights, a Quickclear windscreen, heated wing mirrors and electric windows fitted as standard. The interior, meanwhile, gets air conditioning, adjustable steering rack, floor mats, leather clad steering wheel and handbrake, and Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system complete with a 6.5in touchscreen display, DAB radio, USB connectivity and smartphone integration. 

Mid-level Titanium models are adorned with 17in alloy wheels, electrically folding wing mirrors, silver roof rails, sat nav, a rear view camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control, auto wipers and lights, climate control and keyless ignition. While topping the range is the ST-Line Ecosport with 17in alloy wheels, sports suspension, an ST-styled bodykit, gloss black exterior trim and a large rear spoiler.

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