What's the used Ford Ecosport hatchback like?
The truly international Ford Ecosport is a compact SUV designed in Brazil and built in India and sold worldwide by what is essentially an American company.
It stands out in a class of heavily stylised cars by being shorter and taller than the norm, with tonka-toy looks and a side-hinged rear tailgate with an external covered spare wheel only adding to its rugged appeal. The car received a major redesign in 2018, incorporating a new nose and grille similar to the firm’s larger SUVs, the Kuga and the Edge.
Underneath is more conventional fare, with similar engines and mechanicals to the Fiesta, B-Max and Tourneo Connect cars. The engine line-up is usefully simple, with four options to choose from: a 111bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, an 89bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel and the UK-designed 123bhp 1.0-litre, three-pot EcoBoost engine. To complete the range, and only available with the Titanium S trim, is a 138bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine. The facelifted model keeps the 123bhp and 138bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost engines and adds a 99bhp version of the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel to the range.
Trim levels start with the entry-level Zetec, which comes with a long list of standard equipment, including a DAB radio, two USB sockets, 16in alloy wheels, air-con and electric front and rear windows. Next-level Titanium models get 17in alloys, built-in sat-nav, a rear-view camera, partial leather seats, keyless start, climate and cruise control, as well as automatic headlights and wipers. Meanwhile, the range-topping ST-Line gets sports suspension and various sports-inspired styling.
On the road, the Ecosport is not a sparkling performer with any of the engine options. The 1.0-litre engines never feel quick and the diesel option adds unwanted noise and not much more in the way of grunt. However, given that we found the braking to be surprisingly poor, that shortage of straight-line speed is perhaps just as well.
After the engines, the car’s ride is its most disappointing aspect, with the Ecosport thumping into potholes and bouncing over road irregularities, all the while proving fidgety and unsettled over most of the UK’s roads. The Ecosport handles well at lower speeds, but feels a little insecure at higher ones. It’s safe, but remarkably uninspiring.
Inside, the driving position is commanding, and the quality of the later cars seems to have improved on that of the earlier ones. The dashboard is based on the latest Fiesta’s, and most of the major controls are easy to use on the move. A 6.5in colour touchscreen is standard, while the smarter Titanium and ST-Line models get an 8.0in version. Both respond quickly and come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, although one or two rivals on-screen graphics are slightly sharper.
Up front there’s enough space, but the Ecosport is a narrow car, and that hinders three people seating abreast in the rear for any length of time. Even more irritating is the small boot, accessed via a side-hinged tailgate.