Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2014 Ford EcoSport.
Ford makes its entry into the small SUV market with the Ford EcoSport, manufactured in India.
This segment of the Australian new car market has seen considerable growth in recent times, as buyers move away from traditional sedans, wagons and hatchbacks.
Based on the popular Fiesta model, the EcoSport may look small, but is well equipped and offers a range of features.
There are three variations on offer, Ambiente, Trend and Sport with the choice of two engines, a 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol, in the Ambiente and Trend, and a 1.0 litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder in the Sports.
It seats four in comfort, five with a bit of a squeeze on shorter trips, and a respectable boot for a car in its class.
There is ample head room with the tall-boy body design; the seats are a bit on the narrow side, and lack upper body lateral support, which on long trips can reduce driver and passenger comfort.
The range of features, depending on the choice of version, offer keyless opening and locking, push button start and stop, power windows and mirrors, a good sound system and climate control, reversing sensors, automatic wipers, auto headlights, and partial leather seats.
Good storage spaces and other touches too.
One regrettable omission in the Ford EcoSport is a reversing camera, which I believe should be standard on all modern cars.
The 1.5 litre engine provides ample power and good economy, as does the 1.0 litre turbo and there’s a choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
On the road the car handles well, with smooth steering, the suspension is good, but as with all small cars tends to dislike lesser quality road surfaces.
Driving only on front wheels, the EcoSport is not the ideal car for off-road driving, but does perform creditably, due to its higher ride height, on urban roads taking speed humps and steep driveways into its stride with little fuss.
Inside, instrumentation and controls are well laid out and easily accessible and provide all the information the average driver is likely to need. Other good points are under seat storage and a full size spare wheel.
Safety is well catered for with the Ford EcoSport boasting a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up: the EcoSport brings a number of good elements to the table, but it’s not top of the class compared with rivals such as Holden Trax, Peugeot 2008 and the Skoda Yeti.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 1.5 litre petrol producing 82kW and 154 Nm or 1.0 turbo-petrol producing 92kW and 170Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $20,790
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Ford BK EcoSport.