There are three engines - the now-familiar 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol, a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 99bhp, and a 110bhp 1.5-litre petrol four. We've yet to test the naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol but have driven the other variants offered in the range.
Equipped with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost the Ford is hardly fast, taking 12.7sec to complete the 0-62mph benchmark, but it is smooth. The engine's now-familiar three-pot note is prominent, but not intrusive, during acceleration – and at motorway speeds it remains audible. As in the Fiesta, it's a likeable powerplant.
The Ecosport’s diesel engine, however, is not good, or even average for its competitor set. On outright performance, mechanical refinement and fuel efficiency, the diesel Ford Ecosport is simply way below par.
The Citroën C4 Cactus tested in near enough like-for-like diesel form – and found to be a long way from the class lead on the quality and quantity of its power delivery, we might add – was fully 2.5sec quicker from standstill to 60mph and quicker still through the gears from 30-70mph.
It was also 30 percent more economical, according to our touring test, and quieter than the Ecosport both at idle and at 30mph. Gaps that size – to an undistinguished mid-class performer, remember – aren’t what we expect from Ford, and they aren’t what its customers are used to accepting, either.
The Ecosport’s 1.5-litre turbodiesel is rattly and coarse at idle, and it only gets noisier and less civil with revs. It responds to the accelerator reasonably well and is mated to a transmission that has a decent shift quality and a pleasant clutch, but it feels short on torque through the mid-range (because it is compared with most small diesels) and both harsh and asthmatic above 3000rpm.
At slower crank speeds and under a gentler throttle, the intrusion is tolerable, but even here there are vibrations through the seat and controls that you won’t find in most small crossovers. Consequently, despite some potential economy and CO2 benefits, it would be hard to recommend the diesel.
The Ecosport’s Goodyear Assurance tyres (a type with which we’re unfamiliar) and disc front/drum rear brakes don’t make for particularly good stopping power, either. There’s no reason why a 1300kg supermini shouldn’t stop from 70mph in less than 50 metres in the dry, or need more than 55 metres to stop from the same speed on our wet surface test.