Ford expands EcoSport range
Ford EcoSport range bolstered with additional models
Ford have bolstered the Ford EcoSports leading position in the compact SUV segment with the addition of a six-speed automatic transmission for the popular and most affordable Ambiente Petrol derivative, this is complemented by specification upgrades on the Trend and Titanium models that enhance driving safety and comfort.
The compact SUV category grew substantially with the launch of the EcoSport in 2013 and the model has dominated the class since, despite the onslaught of competitors in the segment. The addition of an automatic gearbox means that the EcoSport now offers the best value for money automatic in the entry-level compact utility segment.
What’s it like to drive?
The combination of a tried and tested 1.5 litre three cylinder petrol engine, producing 91kW and 151Nm and a smooth shifting six-speed automatic results in a excellent value for money proposition. The convenience of an automatic makes it perfect for driving in busy cities or cruising on the open road.
We hit the road down to the Drakensberg and the 1.5 litre mill proved great on the open road, the only luxury lacking from this Ambiente model being cruise control. Its been a long time since I have driven a car without this system and it meant that one had to be extra alert when traversing the camera laden N3 highway
Cruise control with adaptive speed limiter has however been added to the Trend models, while the Titanium gains front parking sensors that are standard across the range too. An underbody protection shield on Trend and Titanium models makes the EcoSport more robust for less than perfect roads in combination with its 206mm ground clearance.
What else is new?
The EcoSport Trend and Titanium derivatives have also benefitted from the inclusion of Ford’s collision mitigation system, a pre-collision assist feature that alerts the driver of a potential collision with the vehicle ahead, pre-charges the brakes and, if necessary, applies maximum braking pressure once the driver presses the brake pedal.
Another area where the EcoSport punches well above its weight is in the number of airbags fitted, as all Ambiente models feature six airbags, while the Trend and Titanium also incorporate a driver’s knee airbag.
Can it go off road?
With 206mm of ground clearance and a set of tyres with a proper sidewall the EcoSport was truly at home on the gravel roads of the Central Drakensberg, even when pushed harder, when we were late for a cake date, the front wheel drive layout remained surefooted and predictable.
The added features combined with the EcoSports impressive list of safety, comfort and convenience features, plus a standard four-year/60 000km service plan ensure that the expanded range is more appealing and more competitive than ever. With the addition of the new model, a total of seven derivatives are now available.
The little EcoSport shows once again that you don’t need a big 4x4 to go adventuring. For this couple it was perfect, it swallowed our luggage for the weekend, including a mountain bike, is light on fuel, safe and it will allow us to go to 99 percent of the places we would ever want to go.