2014 Ford Ecosport review

  • Fiesta-based SUV driven in UK
  • Rival for Nissan Juke and Renault captur
  • On sale now, priced from £14,995

/

This is the new Ford Ecosport, a small SUV which is set to rival the likes of the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.

The entry-level version is powered by a 111bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, while the other petrol option is Ford's 123bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder Ecoboost unit. A 1.5-litre diesel that averages 64.2mpg and emits 120g/km of CO2 is the range-topper.

Like most of its rivals, the Ecosport is front-wheel-drive only, and whichever engine you choose you get a five-speed manual gearbox - although there will be a six-speed automatic option for the 1.5-litre petrol.

The Ecosport has actually been on sale in Brazil and India for nearly a year, but it is only just being imported to Europe. The reason for the delay, Ford claims, is that it has been re-engineering the car to accommodate European tastes.

Engineers have beefed up crash protection and made substantial changes to the chassis in an effort to improve ride comfort, handling and refinement. Interior quality has also been upgraded.

However, there are still clues as to the Ecosport's origins. It retains the boot door-mounted spare wheel which is in vogue in South American markets, and this means it has a side-opening door, rather than a conventional hatchback.

What's the 2014 Ford Ecosport like to drive?

It’s based on a Fiesta - the best driving small car on sale. Unfortunately, you wouldn't know it because the Ecosport doesn't have the same verve or agility.

The steering provides little feedback and is rather inconsistent, so it can be difficult to judge exactly where the front wheels are pointing. What's more, the Ecosport runs out of front-end grip quicker than most rivals, so you can't make the most of its fine body control.

A ride that tends to jostle occupants around over patched-up town roads adds to the disappointment, although comfort does get better with speed.

Instead, it's refinemement that lets the side down on faster roads. The Ecosport's door mirrors generate a fair bit of wind noise, and both the Ecoboost petrol engine and the diesel are louder than they are in the Fiesta.

Of the two, it's the petrol that will be the better bet for most buyers. It feels even punchier than the diesel at lower pace and is far smoother all the way through the rev range. Running costs should be on a par, too, unless you are doing mega-miles.

What's the 2014 Ford Ecosport like inside?

Like its rivals, a lot of the instant appeal of the Ford Ecosport comes from its commanding driving position. You slide into the driver’s seat, rather than having to stoop, and once you're settled there’s a good view of the road ahead.

The dashboard has virtually the same control layout as the Fiesta's and so has the same mixed blessings. Some of the major controls are easy to use on the move, but the radio has too many confusing buttons.

Sadly, despite efforts to improve quality, the cabin materials disappoint. There’s a huge array of black shiny plastics covering virtually everything you see and touch, so the overall feeling is that you are in a considerably downmarket version of the Fiesta. The Ecosport doesn’t match the craftsmanship of a Nissan Juke either, let alone a Peugeot 2008.

True, space is on a par with rivals, but this means fitting three adults across the back seat is going to be a squeeze.

It’s also a tight fit climbing into the back, but there’s decent head, shoulder and knee space for two and they enjoy the same vista as those up front.

Boot space is also competitive, although in everyday use we suspect the side-opening boot may be an issue, especially as it’s configured for left-hand-drive cars and so opens towards the road side. Either way, it means opening it in tight spaces will be a nuisance and you can forget about backing into car parking bays if you want to still be able to fully open the boot door.

Should I buy one?

The Ecosport is competitively priced and equipped, and its 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine is an excellent choice.

However, the other driving manners are disappointing, and you will have to live with a cabin that looks and feels cheap as well as that awkward side-opening boot. The truth is the Renault Captur and Skoda Yeti are both much better buys.

What Car? says…



Rivals:

Nissan Juke
Renault Captur

Specifications

Engine size 1.5-litre petrol
Price from £14,995
Power 111bhp
Torque 103lb ft
0-62mph 13.3 seconds
Top speed 107mph
Fuel economy 44.8mpg
CO2 149g/km

Engine size 1.0-litre turbocharged
Price from £15,995
Power 123bhp
Torque 125lb ft
0-62mph 12.7 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 53.3mpg
CO2 125g/km

Engine size 1.5-litre diesel
Price from £16,495
Power 90bhp
Torque 150lb ft
0-62mph 14.0 seconds
Top speed 99mph
Fuel economy 64.2mpg
CO2 120g/km

Featured in this story

 
advertisement

Test drive this car yourself!

We can help you arrange a test drive with a local dealer.
Just leave your details and we will be in touch to organise a convenient time & place.

Latest reviews

Free car valuations


advertisement