From £15,1204

Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

Equipped with its lesser-powered 1.0-litre EcoBoost triple, the Ecosport hits a broadly competitive standard for outright performance, taking 9.9sec to complete the 0-62mph benchmark and 9.1sec to pull from 30- to 70mph through the gears. The engine's now-familiar three-pot note is prominent, but not intrusive, during acceleration and it revs fairly keenly and smoothly. At a motorway cruise it remains just about audible. As in the Fiesta, it's a likeable powerplant.

The deletion of the car’s old TDCI diesel engine is a mercy, considering how coarse and disinclined to hard work it was. We’ve yet to test a car with the range-topping 138bhp Ecoboost engine, but would expect only a very marginal gain on performance from it; so the smart choice is undoubtedly the cheaper motor.

Some of this car's engines used to be really poor, but simply by removing the bad ones from the UK price list, Ford has done much for the appeal of this car.

There is a sense of notably long gearing that comes over during the car’s driving experience. If not for its industrious character and its linear swell of turbocharged mid-range torque, that three-pot motor would certainly begin to labour as it pulled through 4th and 5th gears. It’s as if Ford tried several final drive ratios in a bid to get the best lab-test fuel economy from the Ecosport, and went for the longest it thought it could get away with.

The fuel economy the car delivers isn’t much to write home about, though (to an extent, we can blame the aerodynamic shape of the car for that). Our test car averaged 45.6mpg on our touring test (which is representative of a typical 70mph motorway return). The car is a little more efficient at lower speeds, so as a day-to-day average, you might expect something close to 45mpg in mixed town and out-of-town use.

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The Ecosport’s original-fit Goodyear Assurance tyres have been junked, and it now comes on Pirelli Cinturato P7s which offer better grip and traction all round; not that our test results, recorded on a damp day in March, reflected as much. The car pitches quite hard during an emergency stop, and needed just over 80 metres to stop from 70mph on a damp, slippery surface - which is probably 25 per cent longer than some lower-rise rivals might have required.