The Ford EcoSport is a small SUV with Tonka-toy looks and agile handling. Unfortunately, the latter comes at the expense of comfortable suspension and the boot isn’t very practical
The new Ford EcoSport is a small SUV with room for four adults and handling that’s refreshingly fun for a high-riding car with relatively city-friendly dimensions.
It was launched in 2013 and given a comprehensive update in 2017 when it got chunkier exterior styling, a new interior, a new diesel engine and the option to have four-wheel drive.
A new trim level is also available on the revised EcoSport, with sporty ST-Line joining the existing EcoSport Zetec and Ecostpor Titanium models. Choose it and you can pick from 17 paint colours and four contrasting roof shades that help the EcoSport stand out from the crowd.
The interior isn’t quite so eye-catching, but the top half of the dashboard is constructed from soft-touch plastics that make it feel better built than the cabins you’ll find in the Hyundai Kona and the Citroen C3 Aircross. Compared to the Citroen, though, the Ford’s design lacks flair.
On the upside, the Ford’s infotainment system – which you can have with a 6.5 or 8.0-inch screen – is clearer and easier to use than the system in the Citroen. And it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, so it’s easy to make phone calls, play music and navigate using the apps on your smartphone.
Unfortunately, the Ford doesn’t do so well in terms of practicality. Front and back-seat space is decent for this size of car – the EcoSport has room for two tall adults – but the Citroen C3 Aircross is roomier and also has more adjustment to help your passengers get comfortable.
The EcoSport’s problems aren’t limited to rear passenger space – the boot is quite a bit smaller than the Citroen’s and the tailgate hinges from the side of the car, so you can’t open it when you’re backed up against a wall or another vehicle.
The EcoSport is nimble for a car like this, but most families would rather it was a little more comfortable
On the upside, when you drive the EcoSport, you’ll find its nimbleness in corners is pretty rare for a car like this. Its heavy steering gives you a decent idea how much grip the car has in bends and there’s barely any body roll to put you off driving quickly.
That being said, all of the EcoSport’s engines focus on fuel economy rather than speed. For most people, the 1.0-litre 125hp petrol will be the one to have, because it’s cheap to buy and reasonably nippy in town. The Ford’s precise controls, easy-changing gearbox and decent view out help you drive it smoothly in town and the cabin is pretty quiet on the motorway.
Negatives like this – plus the impractical boot and the firm ride – mean the C3 Aircross is better suited to family life than the EcoSport. Nevertheless, if you’re sold on the Ford’s looks and are happy to swap comfort for nimble handling, the EcoSport may well be the small SUV for you.
For a more in-depth look at the EcoSport, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. But, if you’re interested in some more of the alternatives you could consider, have a look through our lists of The top 10 best SUVs on sale and The best small SUVs and crossovers.