What Car? says...
What’s that? Another manufacturer adding a shot of steroids to its favourite family hatchback to try and trickle into the small-SUV market? Cars in this market are like buses – or, well, family cars with rugged-looking bumpers and a raised ride height.
Anyway, enter the Ford Ecosport. Ford has recently been busy adding ‘Active’ models – complete with those sturdy plastic bumpers – to its small-car range to add some rugged appeal to its line-up. The Ecosport, though, is an honest-to-goodness small SUV, and is even available with four-wheel drive.
The problem is, the first Ecosport to be offered in the UK, arriving in 2014, didn’t earn a particularly good reputation. It was by no means terrible, but by Ford's high standards, this rival to the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur was a disappointment.
When you factored in its other shortcomings – a low-rent interior, limited infotainment technology and a cumbersome side-hinged tailgate – it became hard to recommend. So does this latest version solve the problems?
It’s based on the Ford Fiesta, which is a pretty good starting point, and uses a selection of the same engines. The Ecosport gives buyers a choice between three different 1.0-litre petrol units or two 1.5-litre diesels, the 123bhp version of which is offered with four-wheel drive.
The trouble for Ford is that, while driving experience has traditionally been a weak point of the small SUV segment, some fine-handling models are now available, most notably the Suzuki Vitara and Seat Arona. So can the Ecosport compare with the rest of the market?
In this review, we'll look at if the latest Ecosport has come on far enough to be a solid standalone small SUV, and if it’s worth choosing over its more established rivals. And, if the Ecosport does take your fancy, don’t forget to head to our New Car Buying pages, where you’ll get a hefty discount off your purchase.