Last week Ford launched their much awaited EcoSport in Durban. We got into the driving right away and I partnered with Nafisa (who runs a really cool tech blog), taking the first shift behind the wheel of the 1.0L Titanium.
Now I’ve been to Durban plenty but this drive took us on the most incredible lush route and between taking in all the scenery and chatting we got thoroughly lost, but with views like this we didn’t mind…
Designed in Brazil by a team of 800 and crafted by 200 engineers, the EcoSport is made in India and aimed at the fast growing B-segment market’s young folks, with an active lifestyle who want something more than just a hatchback but want the overall value equation that the latter offers. Enter the new B SUV on the block, Ford’s EcoSport. When I first heard that term, “baby SUV” popped into my head it’s a pretty apt description. You need to really see it in person, but imagine a cross between a Ford Fiesta and the Ford Kuga (relaunched earlier this year) and you have an EcoSport.
- The EcoBoost is a looker, make no mistake. The 1st thing you notice is the large, chrome grill as the defining characteristic giving it serious personality.
- It’s a looker from the rear too! The spare tyre on the boot makes it sporty and cheeky although it left me lost for a moment as to how to open the boot lid. All was soon good when I figured it out in a second: the boot’s release button & handle was built into the right backlight. Very smart. Oh and the boot opens to the side (as opposed to upwards) which was also a surprise but works well as the car isn’t that long.
- The EcoSport moves! I was keen to test for myself how on earth this 1.0L 3 cylinder engine would handle and it does. I was doing 120km/hour plenty of times (did I mention we were lost?!) and with incredible ease.
- Ford has packed the EcoSport with it’s acclaimed voice-activated in-car connectivity system SYNC® with Bluetooth functionality so you can choose and enjoy your music and use your phone, all hands free (Trend & Titanium finishes only)
- The pricing is a pleasant surprise. I was expecting it to start at around the mid R200k level for this sort of technology (the EcoBoost holds over 125 patents), but in fact that will buy you the full house. Have a look (all-inclusive of VAT & CO2 emissions tax:):
|EcoSport 1.5 Petrol Ambiente Manual
|EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Trend Manual
|| 224 000
|EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Trend Manual
|EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium Manual
|EcoSport 1.5 Petrol Titanium Powershift
|EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Titanium Manual
- Yup, there’s plenty of choice with three trim levels, three engine options, and two transmission variants available across the 6 models.
- I may be alone in this, but the seating position to me, feels more like a hatch and not a SUV compared to my experience test driving the Kuga.
- For this category of car the space is pretty standard. At 1.78m my seat was pretty far back and while it may be fine for kids, anyone else who is going to have the misfortune of sitting behind me on a long drive isn’t going to enjoy the ride very much.
So I’ve said this car is a great in-betweener and having just come off the Odyssey, I feel I must tell you about the additional capabilities that this urban SUV has too:
– 200mm ground clearance (Jozi potholes and speed bumps won’t be a problem!)
– 35′ approach angle
– 35′ departure angle
– 55oml wading depth (I tend to worry when I have driven my sedan through a biggish puddle)
– hill launch assist (prevents the car from rolling (in either direction forward/backwards) by giving you 3 seconds to accelerate)
Sure, it’s still a 2 wheel drive but the EcoSport sure packs a punch!
If I ran the brand
I’d make sure there’s lots of stock. I have a sneaky suspicion this is going to fly.
Need to know
- The EcoSport is available as of August 2013.
The EcoSport is a lot of car for your buck and has won engine of the year twice in a row now. I’m expecting to see loads of them on the road. And soon.
Pictures courtesy of the Ford South Africa Facebook page (I was too lost to take any, seriously!).