2015 Ford EcoSport Test Drive
Meet the slightly revised Ford EcoSport small SUV
After an almost three-year presence on the market, the Ford EcoSport was granted a mid-cycle revamp meant to add the finishing touches on a product that’s supposed to help build the new face of Ford and go up against
Recommended for:familiesyoung and single
Hats off for:comfort
Bang for the buck:meh
The revised Ford EcoSport is available with a choice of three engines, namely a 1.5-liter petrol unit, a 1.5-liter diesel mill and the superstar in Ford’s engine lineup, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost. For the 2015 EcoSport, Ford bumped the power output delivered by the 1.5-liter diesel engine from 90 HP to 95 HP, while in theory, combined fuel consumption stays at 4.4 l/100 km. Our tester was fitted with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost unit good for 125 HP, which on paper looks like the ideal choice for the small SUV.
However, on the EcoSport, the 1.0 EcoBoost is far from its wonderful conduct on the Fiesta, as the small SUV seems underpowered. Responsible for this rather lazy behavior is the extra weight of the EcoSport (around 260 kg heavier than the Fiesta) and the five-speed manual gearbox mated to the engine.
Don’t expect the EcoSport to blast from a standstill, as it can’t deliver that. But you should also keep in mind that it wasn’t built for such sporty behavior. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes a little over 12 seconds, while top speed stands at 180 km/h (112 mph).
The engine’s 169 Nm of torque is available from 1,400 rpm, a plus when traveling from A to B in urban areas. Otherwise, gear shifts are carried out in a swift fashion, with enough smoothness to guarantee a comfortable driving experience. During the test drive, we managed to get a combined fuel consumption of 5.2 l/100 km, less than the value Ford advertises, namely 5.4 l/100 km.
Nevertheless, next year Ford plans to introduce a new, more powerful version of the 1.0-liter EcoBoost petrol engine, rated at 140 Hp, which should help the crossover in getting rid of the ‘underpowered’ etiquette.
Since comfort has been the key focus here, the revised EcoSport retains its soft ride and long-travel suspension (lowered by 10mm), which means it will wobble on uneven surfaces, although shock absorbing is a job well done at the end of the day.
Also, expect a great amount of body roll due to the car’s high center of gravity. You’ll have to blame both the soft suspension setup and the generous ground clearance for this behavior: diesel versions offer 160mm ground clearance, while petrol variants go up a notch with a 190mm ground clearance. Step harder on the accelerator and the retuned ESC will jump into action, keeping things under control.
Unlike other Ford models like the Focus, Fiesta and Kuga, the EcoSport lost the familiar fun to drive attribute. The steering is decent, but lacks to offer a suitable amount of feedback. Otherwise, maneuvering the EcoSport through narrow spaces is a rather pleasant experience, as the light steering does the job for you. It hardens up just a bit at greater speeds, but don’t expect a hefty improvement in feedback.
Ford EcoSport was awarded four stars at the Euro NCAP crash tests, despite the fact that the small SUV is packed with an extended array of airbags, including front airbags for the driver and passenger, rear and front side head airbags and front side chest airbags.
Furthermore, the Ford EcoSport scored 93% in the adult occupant protection rating, 77% in the child protection rating and 58% in pedestrian protection, while safety assistance features were awarded a decent 55% rating.
Also, in real-life conditions, the higher driving position and the adequate overall visibility help the car in transmitting a feeling of extra safety.
In terms of comfort, the Ford EcoSport offers reasonable interior space. The cabin feels spacious when seated in the driver’s or the front passenger’s seat. There’s plenty of headroom and elbow space, but once you switch front seats with back seats, things get tighter. In addition, the seats are comfortable but provide very limited lateral and lumbar support, which means longer trips might leave a bad impression on your back.
Two adults can sit in comfortable conditions in the back, but three is a too big number for the EcoSport’s cabin to handle. The drivers gets a small elbow support pad while at the back, occupants can recline the 60:40 split rear seat for a more relaxing posture.
Soundproofing does a good job at lower speeds, but once you’re traveling on the highway, there’s a moderate amount of wind noise finding its way inside; nothing too annoying though.
This is where we expected more from the Ford EcoSport, even though the small SUV is built in India. Those already acquainted to Fiesta’s interior will have no trouble adjusting to what the EcoSport has to offer in terms of styling cues, but the assembly quality is well-below the one you get with European-built Fords.
Also, there’s a tendency to overuse hard and rough plastics for the dashboard, door panels and even door handles, which only generates a cheap feel inside the EcoSport. Otherwise, the cabin is pretty straightforward, so everyone should find their way easily through the buttons and commands, but Ford should have insisted more on the overall look and feel inside the EcoSport.
As far as practicality is concerned, Ford EcoSport is neither the best nor the worst choice available on the market. The glovebox offers decent storage space, although the trays around the gear lever are not very deep, so at best they’ll be able to hold small items, such as a phone or a wallet.
The boot has 355 liters of space at its disposal, enough for two medium-sized luggage pieces or a single, larger one. Ford got rid of the inconvenient spare wheel mounted on the boot door (you can still get one, but as an option), but they kept the side-hinged door which is both heavy and difficult to open in tight spaces like underground parking lots.
However, if you manage to safely open the boot (using the released button integrated in the right tail light, under a chrome plastic handle), you’ll notice the low boot lip which should ease loading and unloading, especially when heavy cargo is involved. In addition, the door can be adjusted in the sense that it can be fully opened or half-opened, but will stay in that position by itself, without the need of someone holding it.
As we were saying earlier, there’s a big similarity between the interior offered by the Fiesta and the cabin styling chosen for the EcoSport. The dashboard sports a center console keypad, similar to the B-Max, a blue LCD display correctly positioned on top of the dashboard and Ford’s SYNC infotainment system. Also, the controls for the air conditioning system are placed in the lower half of the dashboard.
According to Ford officials, the EcoSport will receive a satellite navigation system next year, along with a Sony DAB radio, a Winter Pack and a rearview camera for models without the optional spare wheel attached at the back.
If frugality is what you’re interested in, then your EcoSport should be fitted with the 1.5-liter diesel engine. The unit delivers 95 HP and 112 g/km of CO2, while in the combined cycle it will only drink 4.4 l/100 km (64.2 mpg).
We feel the best compromise remains the much-awarded 1.0-liter EcoBoost petrol engine. Opt for this mill and you’ll be offered 125 HP and an average fuel consumption of 5.4 l/100 km (52.3 mpg) while only emitting 125 g/km of CO2.
Last but not least, the 1.5-liter petrol engine can be had with Ford’s PowerShift automatic transmission, but this unit is the least economical in the range. Combined fuel consumption is rated at 5.2 l/100 km (5.3 l/100 km with the automatic transmission), while CO2 emissions go up to 149 g/km.
The Ford EcoSport is available in two trim levels, namely Trend (or Zetec in the UK) and Titanium, but the Blue Oval will introduce an additional S Pack next year, featuring partial leather seats, chrome detailing and black rims, exterior mirror cases and roof.
In Trend guise, the EcoSport offers 16-inch alloy wheels, LED signature lights along with manual air conditioning, remote central locking, a multifunctional leather steering wheel that can be adjusted for rake and reach and power front and rear windows.
Titanium offers 17-inch wheels as standard, along with Ford’s KeyFree system with keyless entry and Ford Power Starter Button, electronic automatic temperature control, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights.
So, should you buy the revised Ford EcoSport? Well, it depends on how much price you usually put on looks and feel inside the cabin and practicality. That’s because the EcoSport does not excel at any of these aspects, but it will provide a comfortable and safe environment for the occupants, suitable for use both inside and outside the city.
The efficiency of the 1.0-liter EcoBoost is a plus, and so is the frugality of the 1.5-liter diesel mill. However, you should keep in mind that the cheapest Ford EcoBoost wears a price tag of €17,990. For that kind of money you can get the 1.5-liter petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. In case you check the box next to the PowerShift auto gearbox, the price goes up to €19,290.
The most expensive Ford EcoSport is the one equipped with the 1.5-liter diesel engine. Pricing starts at €20,240 but a well-equipped variant can cost well over €23,000