Ford EcoSport Review
The Ford EcoSport is a small SUV that gives you the look and feel of a larger SUV but in a very compact and cost-effective package.
Published: 7th March 2023
If you love the raised driving position and chunky design of an SUV but want a car that’s small and inexpensive, the Ford EcoSport – pronounced echo-sport, according to Ford – is worth a look. It’s one of the most cost-effective used SUVs and although it’s compromised in some areas it’s good value for money.
The EcoSport has been on sale in the UK since 2013. The earliest cars are easily spotted by the spare wheel attached to the boot lid, a feature that was dropped after a couple of years. A thorough update in 2017 included a new front grille and a dashboard with Ford’s latest infotainment system. You can choose from a selection of trim levels and petrol or diesel engines. Some models have an automatic gearbox and you can find four-wheel-drive versions, too.
- Very inexpensive for an SUV
- Low running costs
- Feels nice to drive
- Awkward boot lid
- Uncomfortable ride in some models
- Tight rear seat space
Dashboard & tech
The EcoSport’s dashboard is very similar to that of the Ford Fiesta of the same era. The post-2017 model has a layout much like the latest Fiesta model, with a central 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that has sharp graphics, responds quickly and is fairly easy to navigate. You can connect your phone and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and some versions have built-in sat nav. Other features like the air con and cruise control are controlled by buttons and dials.
The pre-2017 model’s dashboard shares much with the previous Fiesta. It looks a bit dated, with lots of little buttons grouped under a small digital screen, but it’s actually quite intuitive once you get used to it and many of the features can be controlled using buttons on the steering wheel.
The EcoSport sits quite a long way off the ground, so you get the commanding driving position that you expect of an SUV but in a car that’s about the same length as a Ford Fiesta. The high seating position makes it easy to get in and out of because you can slide into the seats without having to bend down.
The seats themselves feel a bit firm on first impression but provide support in all the right places, so it’s unlikely you’ll develop any extra aches or pains during a long journey. The interior is generally very quiet, although the large door mirrors generate noticeable wind noise when you travel at motorway speeds.
The EcoSport is a car sold on value rather than on a premium image so it’s no surprise that its interior doesn’t have the lustre of some rivals. Pre-2017 models, in particular, have a rather basic look although everything has a solid, no-nonsense feel that suggests it's built to be durable. There are some more-appealing materials in post-2017 cars, especially on higher-spec models.
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Practicality & boot space
There’s generous headroom and legroom in the EcoSport’s front seats, with enough for someone well over six feet tall to fit comfortably. It’s quite narrow, though, so it feels cosier than in some rivals.
Headroom in the back seat is fine but rear legroom is similar to what you get in a Fiesta: if someone tall is in the front, adults in the back may find their knees pushing into the back of the front seats. There are two sets of Isofix mounts for a child seat, but manoeuvring a really bulky one into the EcoSport can be awkward because there’s not much space to work in.
Storage spaces include a glovebox big enough for a few packets of biscuits, front door pockets that hold a 1.5-litre bottle and a drawer under the front passenger seat.
You get more boot space in the EcoSport than you do in many small hatchbacks, with a 356-litre capacity that’s almost as much as in mid-size hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus. Some compact SUVs give you more boot space, however, and the space itself is short front-to-back, but tall top-to-bottom, which could be a benefit, depending on your needs.
The boot floor is height-adjustable and if you set it at the higher level and you have a concealed space below that’s ideal for storing things like shopping bags and umbrellas.
If you need more load space, you can fold down the EcoSport’s back seats in a two-piece, 60/40 split. That frees up a total capacity of 1,238 litres.
The EcoSport’s back door (or tailgate) is very unusual. Whereas most SUVs have a hatchback opening that hinges at the roof, the EcoSport’s is hinged at the side – just like a door in your house.
It’s an old-fashioned method that has more drawbacks than advantages. Firstly, it means you need quite a lot of space behind the car to fully open the back door. It’s quite heavy, too, and because it’s hinged at the left it can make loading and unloading awkward if you’re parked at the kerb. On the plus side, the boot opening is large and there’s only a small ‘lip’ between the back bumper and boot floor.
The EcoSport is a pleasant, easy car to drive. In town, you’re likely to appreciate its small size, high seating position and big windows, which help make it a doddle to nip down narrow side streets and manoeuvre into tight parking spaces.
Get out of town onto faster roads and the steering feels responsive and although the body leans a little in corners, it feels perfectly stable on motorways. The ride is generally nice and smooth, but higher-spec models with larger alloy wheels can feel quite bouncy on bumpy roads, although never to the point of being uncomfortable.
All the engines available in the EcoSport provide perfectly adequate performance for this type of car. They’re nippy around town and cruise comfortably along the motorway at 70mph. Petrol and diesel engines with 123bhp or more best suit a mix of driving needs. That’s because they accelerate quickly when overtaking on a country road or joining a motorway, and have the power to haul a car-load of passengers even with a full boot.
Fuel economy & CO2 emissions
The EcoSport is fairly fuel-efficient for a small SUV. The 1.5-litre petrol engine can give an average fuel economy of 44mpg and its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are rated at 149g/km, according to official figures. The 1.0-litre petrol engine can give 47mpg to 54mpg, with CO2 emissions of 119g/km to 148g/km.
Diesel models each have a 1.5-litre engine, giving an official average fuel economy of 53mpg to 68mpg, with CO2 emissions of 107g/km to 152g/km.
Value for money
The EcoSport comes with a fairly generous amount of features included as standard. It’s also pretty practical, its running costs are low and it’s one of the most affordable small SUVs you can get. All in all, then, it’s good value.
Reliability & Warranty
In the J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study (the most recent carried out), Ford ranked a solid ninth place out of 24 brands in the survey.
Ford provides a warranty that lasts three years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first) on all its new cars – the same level of coverage provided by the majority of other manufacturers. A used EcoSport is still covered if it’s within those limits.
Safety organisation Euro NCAP gave the EcoSport a respectable four-star rating out of five when it was assessed in 2013. It scored particularly high marks for protecting adult occupants in a crash: safety features included seven airbags, anti-lock brakes and tyre-pressure monitoring. Safety was enhanced in subsequent updates that included extra airbags and driver-safety features like automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and a speed limiter.
Trims & Engines
The EcoSport has four core trim levels – Zetec, Titanium, ST-Line and Active. They all come with alloy wheels, air con, DAB radio, CD player, Bluetooth, front and rear electric windows and an air con-cooled glovebox. An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was added in 2017.
Titanium models also have sat nav, a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, part-leather seat upholstery, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers. You might see Titanium X models with options like a powerful Bang & Olufsen stereo, power-folding door mirrors and privacy glass. Zetec models also gain cruise control.
ST-Line and Active models have the same standard features as Titanium but with different packages of styling details. ST-Line has a sportier look with a contrast-colour roof, deeper bumpers, large rear spoiler and lower suspension. Its steering wheel and handbrake are covered in leather with red stitching and the car has stainless steel pedals. Active has tough-looking grey plastic wheel-arch surrounds, extra black exterior trim details, privacy glass and a black roof.
The EcoSport is available with petrol or diesel engines. If you prefer petrol, the 1.0-litre ‘EcoBoost’ and 1.5-litre ‘Duratec’ engines range in power from 99bhp to 138bhp. The EcoBoost uses less fuel than the Duratec and it gives better performance, especially when accelerating, for example, from 30mph to 60mph. Most models have a manual gearbox: automatics are relatively rare.
Depending on the model, the EcoSport’s 1.5-litre diesel engines have a power range of 94bhp to 123bhp, a manual gearbox and, in some cases, four-wheel drive. Diesel EcoSports cost more than petrol models to buy new but that difference fades when buying used, so diesel could still be a good option.
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