Discover why this AWD compact crossover could be ideal for young families…
Life: it’s a funny old game. Often it’s about rivalry, but as you get older you care less and less about who’s got what and who hasn’t. Alas, it doesn’t quite work like that in the automotive world. Sales is what it’s all about, and not many areas of life are as unremittingly competitive as that sector. Sadly, the EcoSport isn’t much of a winner. But that doesn’t make it a loser, either. Where many of its competitors have succeeded with their compact crossovers, Ford has had to work hard to get the EcoSport noticed. The car’s had two facelifts since it was ushered into Britain five years ago, and then the ST-Line trim kicked in – the latest shot in the arm for the car.
The ‘Sport’ bit of EcoSport is all wrong, and the ‘ST-Line’ badge just adds to the chest-puffing. It simpy doesn’t convince, because, bluntly, the crossover isn’t athletic in any way. And that doesn’t make it bad. In fact, it makes it good if you want a car that works, has half decent economy, is spacious and safe. That’s the kind of vehicle a lot of families want. Oh, and it has to be affordable – and Fords are.
The EcoSport also has lots of equipment – especially on the £24,455 1.5 EcoBlue TDCI 125 ST-Line model, I drove. It houses cruise control, a reversing camera, parking sensors, navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The crossover comes with all-wheel-drive (AWD), too – but more on that in a bit.
As an aside, the EcoSport is based on the same platform as Ford’s legendary Fiesta. You wouldn’t know it’s from the same gene pool, though. Its heftier body masks the pedigree it’s associated with. And that’s a shame, because expectations are raised when you hear a car shares some of its DNA with an icon. If I’d never known about the platform sharing thing, I might’ve thought this car was better. Wow, how shallow am I? Honestly, I’m not – but it goes to show how the human mind (or maybe just mine) works.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s by no means a terrible drive. The steering is pleasing, and the diesel engine pulls convincingly. Also, this model’s intelligent AWD system, as mentioned above, alters the EcoSport’s grip – depending on road and weather conditions. This gives peace-of-mind – after all, it’s only natural to want to transport your family as safely as possible. The six-speed manual gearbox is sweet, too. Nevertheless, this Ford isn’t the quietest. A diesel rattle is noticeable around town, and although it eases up as you pick up pace, another intrusive noise soon replaces it – and that’s wind whistle around the door mirrors.
The EcoSport’s driving position is excellent, though. The seats are positioned high, so you get a good, safe view out. Also, there’s more space in the back than, for example, Nissan’s Juke. Mind you, the Juke is being replaced very shortly. The room is due, in part, to the EcoSport’s tall, erect front seats, which enable rear seat passengers to shove their feet fairly comfortably under them.
The 334-litre boot is respectable enough and it’s easy to load, due to the car’s right-angled rump. On the other hand, the Ford EcoSport has a side-hinged tailgate, which you’ll either love or loathe.
With a claimed mpg of up to 47.1 and 140g/km CO2, this model will be reasonably inexpensive to run. So, along with the generous kit, satisfactory performance and rear space, the EcoSport is not a bad car for, say, young families. Nonetheless, this ST-Line isn’t the sporty compact crossover you might have hoped for. And that kind of makes me want to ask Ford to change the car’s name. Maybe call it the Ford Famalam? Then it might be more of a winner. Oh, for goodness’ sake, here we go again with the competitive thing – yawn.
Fast Facts: (Ford EcoSport ST-Line 1.5 EcoBlue TDCi 125PS AWD – as tested)
- Max speed: 112mph
- 0-62 mph: 11.3 seconds
- Combined mpg: 47.1
- Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel
- Max. power (ps): 125
- CO2: 140g/km
- Price: £24,455