New Ford EcoSport SUV

From £17,495

Gearbox

Automatic or Manual

Seats

5

Doors

5

Boot size

356 litres

The Auto Trader verdict
★★★★★
★★★★★
3.1
The latest Ford Ecosport is a big improvement over the car it replaces, and we’re happy to praise its upgraded interior quality, safety equipment and technology. However, it’s still not the most practical car of its type and not the best to drive, either, because it’s neither as comfortable or as quiet as many rivals. Bear in mind the Ecosport competes in a very average class of cars, and that’s a little disappointing.

Pros

  • Willing three-cylinder petrol engine
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Enough space for four

Cons

  • Sluggish driving manners
  • Small boot
  • Awkward tailgate arrangement

Full review

By Pete Tullin   Tuesday 12 December 2017
2017 Ford Ecosport

How good does it look?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

The front end of the latest Ecosport is dominated by a big, bold grille, and an X-section bumper, which Ford’s designers claim draws its inspiration from the straps on a backpack. This is accentuated by angular headlights that incorporate LED daytime running lights, and a bonnet with a pair of bulges to give the Ecosport a contemporary look. At the same time, the rear bumper and tail lights have been revised, while buyers can choose from 12 exterior colours, and further personalise their car by choosing a contrasting colour for the roof.

What's the interior like?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

Ford has worked hard to improve the Ecosport's cabin quality. It now looks very similar to the latest Fiesta supermini, with big, easy-to-use controls, and a reprofiled centre console featuring a floating touch-screen, which displays all the infotainment menus. Although the overall appearance is much-improved, there are still plenty of tough, abrasive, plastics, and some of the panels don’t fit together with the same precision as those found in a Seat Arona. The Ecosport provides a commanding view of the road ahead, but the thick windscreen pillars create quite significant blind spots, which can make it difficult to spot other cars when pulling out of junctions or when trying to join roundabouts. The steering wheel does have a decent range of adjustment, but the area around the pedals might seem a bit cramped for some drivers.

How practical is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
2/5

There’s a decent amount of space for four, along with the additional nicety of reclining rear seats. There’s also plenty of room under the front seats for those in the back to slide their feet underneath. In even better news, Ford has moved the old Ecosport’s rear door-mounted spare wheel to the options list, as it blotted out even more of the already limited rear visibility, and added a lump of deadweight that made opening the side-hinged rear door a real struggle.

Unfortunately, the rear door – which is designed for left hand drive markets – remains a pain. Fundamentally, because the door swings open towards the pavement, if you’re parked on the correct side of the road, you have to stand close to passing traffic to open it. What’s more, unless you’re able to limbo, you’ll need to find a very generous parking spot to ensure you can walk around the open door when unloading your shopping. At just 333 litres, the boot is also on the small side compared with rivals, but at least the rear seat-backs split-fold and tumble up against the backs of the front seats to boost your load-carrying options. Alternatively, you can fold the seat backs onto their corresponding cushions and use the adjustable load board to fill in the large void in the boot floor.

What's it like to drive?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

The Ecosport is a tall vehicle, and in order to prevent it from rolling around too much in corners, it has quite stiff suspension. That’s all well and good when it comes to tackling bends and roundabouts, and it certainly helps prevent your passengers from sliding around in their seats. Unfortunately, it also means it can feel overly firm and produce quite a lot of shudder when you are just tootling up the high street.

We’ve driven three different versions of the Ecosport and all have displayed different levels of steering weight and feel. The overriding character common to all of them was a reasonable amount of feedback, albeit with an overly enthusiastic self-centring action. This means the steering can feel a bit too heavy when trying to hold the car steady in bends. You’ll also notice quite a bit of vibration through the steering wheel as the Ecosport’s suspension chunters over rougher surfaces. On top of this, quite a bit of tyre roar is evident at motorway speeds, but at least the weighty steering and firm suspension help the Ecosport feel secure and stable at higher speeds.

How powerful is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

The 125 horsepower 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is likely to be the best seller and it’s easy to see why. It’s an incredibly flexible engine, pulling strongly from low revs, and it’s also willing to rev to dizzying heights. However, it’s not exactly the most cultured engine we’ve driven. Although it’s quiet at idle, it does generate some distinct vibration, which you’ll notice pulsing through the steering wheel, pedals and through the floor as the revs climb.

This engine is also available with a six-speed automatic gearbox, but it’s not the finest example of the genre. It’s fairly slow to react to a dab of the accelerator, and it slurs slightly as it shifts between gears. What’s more, it also produces quite a pronounced shudder as it shifts down, so we’d stick with the sweet-shifting six-speed manual gearbox.

The Ecosport is also available with Ford’s latest 1.5-litre diesel engine. Although it’s not as cultured as it is when fitted to the Fiesta, emitting more of a hollow warble at lower revs, it’s still pretty refined and delivers strong power delivery at low- and mid-range engine speeds. Consequently, it requires very few revs to get the Ecosport up to motorway cruising speed, and once it’s relaxed in top gear, you’ll struggle to tell it apart from a petrol engine.

How much will it cost me?
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

The good news is, the Ecosport is affordable to buy, but do bear in mind your overall running costs will rely largely on depreciation costs, and we expect the Ecosport to be adequate – if not amazing – on that score. While the diesel models will cover greater distances between fill-ups, most people will be better off buying one of the petrols. The 125 horsepower version would be our pick as it’s capable of decent fuel economy and will cost less to buy than the diesel.

How reliable is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The Ecosport makes extensive use of proven technology. For instance, the engines and gearboxes are lifted from the well-established Fiesta supermini. We haven’t heard any horror stories from Fiesta buyers concerning common faults, and the car has performed well in customer satisfaction surveys and reliability studies. For example, Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index places the Fiesta near the top of the scale for dependability, all of which bodes well for Ecosport owners.

How safe is it?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

There’s a whole raft of safety kit in the latest Ecosport, including driver and passenger front airbags, a driver knee airbag, and side airbags designed to direct the occupant away from a side impact. There’s also lots of optional safety kit, including Active City Stop, which helps drivers avoid low-speed collisions. There’s also lane-departure warning and assistance, and emergency assistance call out.

Other technologies available include road sign monitoring (to keep the driver up-to-date on speed limits) and active cruise control to maintain a set distance from the traffic ahead. Sensors that warn of vehicles approaching from the side when reversing out of a parking space are also available.

Ford also offers ‘MyKey’, a system that allows several keys to operate the car, but with various settings (such as the car’s maximum speed, the volume of the stereo and so on), uniquely programmed to each key by the owner.

How much equipment do I get?
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The Ecosport comes in three trim levels: Zetec, Titanium and ST Line. In our opinion, you should buy your Ecosport as cheaply as possible, as Zetec trim comes with most things you’ll need. These include alloy wheels, air-conditioning remote central locking, electrically-operated door mirrors and front electric windows. Also included is Ford’s SYNC 3 system, which comes with a DAB radio, a 6.5-inch touch-screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and USB connectivity. A leather-trimmed gearknob and handbrake, and Ford’s brilliant Quickclear heated windscreen with heated washer jets, are also standard.

Upgrade to Titanium trim and you’ll get a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors, silver-finish roof rails, cruise control, automatic lights, rain-sensing wipers, powered rear windows and sat-nav with an 8.0-inch touch-screen. Partial leather seats are also standard fit.

On top of its sports suspension, ST-Line adds plenty of visual upgrades including bespoke bumpers, side skirts and a rear roof spoiler, black-finish roof rails and contrasting coloured roof and door mirror housings.

Why buy?
★★★★★
★★★★★
2/5

The latest Ecosport is a definite improvement over its predecessor, with improved interior quality and technology, and it also offers better driveability. But, there are still plenty of superior alternatives in the ever-growing mini-SUV sector. Both the Seat Arona and Renault Captur offer better quality, comfort and refinement.

Our recommendations

From the range of the new Ford EcoSport, these are the ones we suggest you look at

Pick of the range
1.0T Ecoboost 125 Zetec
Sweet engine and enough luxury kit.
Most economical
1.5 TDCI
The diesel is cleanest according to the official figures.
Best seller
1.0T Ecoboost 125 Titanium
Most buyers will upgrade to a pricier trim for more goodies.
Choose your Ford EcoSport

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Information regarding the vehicle advertised is obtained from various sources, whilst we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, changes in pricing and the vehicle specification may have occurred since the content was published. Always check with the Dealer before entering into any agreement.