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New Ford EcoSport: a mini urban warrior

Since its first launch back in 2013, Ford’s EcoSport went on to create a new niche, that of the mini sport-utility vehicle (SUV). Coming in at a time when SUVs were just beginning to make a huge impact on vehicle sales globally, this segment quickly gained ground locally too.

While the size of a typical SUV was still a bit prohibitive given its cumbersome stance and dimensions, the EcoSport gained the attention of many young and trendy small families who wanted the personality of a go-anywhere, do-anything type of vehicle without having to fork out wads of hard-earned cash at the fuel pumps.

The tiny dimensions of the EcoSport, with the “off-road” look spare wheel hanging out at the rear, appealed to the outdoorsy folks and the introduction of the one-litre, three-cylinder engine was an absolute blast. Excellent performance from a frugal engine meant it pressed many people’s buttons in all the right places. The high ground clearance, a commanding view of the road ahead, perceived greater space and the macho image of a tiny SUV was an unbeatable combination. It could be said that Ford may have officially started the mini-SUV segment and sales charts were set alight making the EcoBoost one of the best-sellers in the segment.

Since then, the competition grew restless and a slew of new models to compete with the EcoBoost were launched by rival manufacturers. These included the Honda BR-V, Toyota Rush, Jeep Renegade, Opel Mokka, Renault Duster and Mazda CX-3, among others.

Segment leader

So, to continue being the segment leader, Ford unveiled a new EcoSport that is even more practical, refined, safe and that comfortable, while offering an exceptional level of standard features that once again contribute to this model’s unrivalled value for money. And let’s be honest, it still remains one of the cutest designs, retaining much of the previous model’s shape. So, externally, it follows a rather evolutionary progress rather than a revolutionary one.

The 1.5 TDCi Ambiente is the entry point into the EcoSport range, but it boasts an appreciably high and very competitive level of standard equipment. On the safety front, the specification includes Electronic Stability Control, six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, rear parking sensors and manually activated ‘home safe’ headlamps.

Electric windows are provided all round, along with remote central locking, a perimeter alarm and power side mirrors. A six-speaker Ford audio system is provided, linked to SYNC® with Bluetooth and voice activation, plus steering wheel audio controls. The instrument cluster also incorporates a trip computer.

Award-winning engine

The Trend series introduces the multiple award-winning 1.0 EcoBoost engine, with the choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Over and above all the offerings of the Ambiente series, this model gains Hill Launch Assist and Roll Stability Control, black roof rails, front and rear fog lamps, LED daytime running lamps and sporty gunmetal grey and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Interior appointments are also stepped up a notch and in addition to SYNC®3, there is a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth and voice control, as well as two USB ports with charging and multimedia functionality. Safety additions include a driver’s knee airbag, powered child door locks, a Thatcham alarm with double dead-locking and an extra 12-volt power point at the rear.

In line with its range-topping status, the EcoSport Titanium is exceptionally well-appointed. Externally it is distinguished by striking 17-inch alloy wheels, silver roof rails, LED daytime running lights, plus automatic headlight activation, ‘home safe’ lighting and rain-sensing wipers.

Access to the cabin is by means of a remote key and keyless push-button start, with the added convenience of global remote-operated opening and closing of the windows. The driver and passengers are cosseted in luxurious leather seats with leather trim also used on the steering wheel. The cabin ambience can be adjusted to suit the occupants’ moods, with upmarket interior LED lighting.

Driving convenience is enhanced through the provision of an auto-dimming rearview mirror, electronic climate control, cruise control with adjustable speed limiter, the fully featured SYNC®3 with navigation system incorporating a large eight-inch full-colour touchscreen, and a Ford audio system with seven high-end speakers.

With fuel prices increasing every month, many folks would be looking at downsizing. If you happen to be looking for an affordable, trendy vehicle with an active lifestyle image, make a turn at your local Ford dealership.

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