The Ford EcoSport is a small city SUV that is easy to drive and cheap to buy. Its closest rivals are the Nissan Juke, the Renault Captur and the Peugeot 2008. A more upmarket option is the Mercedes GLA.
At a glance, the interior looks identical to that of a Fiesta, but tell us that build quality is lower and most of the plastics look and feel cheaper. Passengers in the front have plenty of legroom and even more headroom thanks to the high roof, but passengers in the rear will find the seats neither comfortable nor supportive.
All Fords are nice to drive… Well, all except the EcoSport. The high body coupled with a 300kg weight increase over a Fiesta make it lean a lot in corners. The trade-off is that you get a high driving position that gives a great overview of the road ahead. The ride is mostly good, except on the worst of surfaces, but wind noise is high thanks, mostly, to the large door mirrors.
Out of the three available engines for the EcoSport, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol is the best bet. It uses more fuel and is slower than direct rivals, but is much better than either of the other options from its own stable. Its low fuel consumption means the 1.5-litre diesel is good if you frequently travel long distances, but with its poor performance, time keeping could well be an issue.
Where the EcoSport scores some points back is in its generous equipment levels – even the base model gets alloy wheels, LED lights, air-conditioning and Ford’s multimedia and phone connectivity system. The top of the range Titanium model gets half-leather seats, cruise control as well as keyless entry. Rear parking sensors are a recommended optional extra that make the car much easier to park.
The EcoSport is easy to recommend as long as you ignore all of its rivals
It’s rare that Ford brings out a new product that counts as disappointing but the EcoSport is that product. In fairness, quite a chunk of that disappointment is down to the fact that it isn’t as good as it could be, rather than because it’s truly bad. It doesn’t take any kind of fight or unique selling point to the myriad of class rivals and it’s phenomenally difficult to recommend over them for this reason.
If you absolutely must have a crossover and it must be a Ford, you’ll probably get on okay with the EcoSport. But most drivers would be better served by one of its rivals, or simply buying a regular Fiesta instead.