Ford Ecosport SUV gets UK green light
The 2013 Fiesta-based SUV will be a rival for the likes of the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke.
The Ecosport will be available with Ford's new three-cylinder 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine and a four-cylinder 1.5-litre diesel. Only two-wheel-drive versions have been confirmed, but a four-wheel-drive model is possible.
Ford announced that a 1.6-litre engine combined with a new dual-clutch gearbox will be offered for the new Fiesta and B-Max. This set up could also make its way into the Ecosport.
The Ecosport was revealed at the Delhi motor show in January. Ford had originally targeted markets such as Brazil, China and India, but the car has been so well received, according to Ford, that it has decided to expand sales to Europe.
It will come equipped with Ford's Sync in-car connectivity system, enabling users to make voice-activated phone calls and select music from Bluetooth or USB- connected devices.
The Ecosport will be part of a trio of SUVs from Ford. The company has also just announced that the Edge, a large SUV already on sale in the USA, will be sold in Europe, giving Ford a rival to the Hyundai Santa Fe.
The new Ford Kuga sits between these two models.
The Ford Ecosport is part of an emerging trend for car makers to make SUVs from superminis.
The Vauxhall Mokka, based on the Corsa, will go on sale at the end of the year, with Peugeot launching a 208-based SUV next year. Fiat is also planning to launch a small SUV, based on its 500L mini-MPV, while Honda is thought to be considering making an SUV based on the Jazz.
By Iain Reid