The Fiesta on heels is the smallest SUV from Ford. How does it stack up to the bigger boyz?
Sad news from Ford as they finally admitted to just, giving up. No more saloon cars. From a bit after next year, a selected few will be able to get a FordGT, tasteless individuals will part their hard-earned cash for the dreadful Mustang, and everyone else will only be able to get tall cars from the American giant.
The sedan is dead. No more Taurus, Fusion, Mondeo, Focus, Fiesta or Ka. The masses have spoken, they all want to be taller, and they are all going to be taller together. Which, obviously, cancels the “-er” comparative suffix as the -er is now the fair.
Thus, the new entry level Ford is the Ecosport. A seemingly unimaginative transportation pod for the masses. Two-wheel drive in a contained SUV vessel with one purpose. Take. You. There.
New entry level is a TUV. A Tall Utility Vehicle
From the outset I am taken aback as the keyless entry proceeds into a very much keyed start. That’s a refreshing sight. No more forgetting where the keys are, they are right there, hanging from around the steering wheel.
Look, I am taking the piss. It’s not that the Ecosport is a bad car as much as that it’s not a good car. We all know good footballers and fair ones, and as engineers go, the Ecosport was not designed by the Messi of the engineering universe. I have written long diatribes, much like this one, about how the new Discovery has an overly complicated tailgate, or how the endless vibrating bonging of the Mercedes becomes intrusive, or about the Swarovski style glass gear lever on the BMW X5, or the over-engineered 4WD system on the Ferrari FF.
Well, believe you me, over-engineering is certainly not an issue here. The Ecosport is as simple as they come. And I know that may seem boring, dull and certainly difficult to write about. But there is a certain allure in simplicity. The Ecosport is a car so simple that a regular garage will be able to fix it without paying the brand the inordinate training, software and authorization fees they normally demand.
That means that, on top of being cheap to buy, at grossly 16,000$, it will be cheap to maintain. And that is certainly an incredibly good selling point.
Cost of ownership is very low
However, and all kidding aside, the car is actually pretty competent. A/C is great, the engine is torquey, the throttle is responsive, the brakes stop the car and the steering changes directions. It is a really fair car. No frills on the interior, no cruise control but a nice radio with USB and Bluetooth, electric windows, electric rear-view mirrors… For your daily commute or the odd weekend out, it most certainly will do the trick.
At 130HP the 1.6l engine is fine. The car is not particularly heavy but it is not a Fiesta. It is well over 3 people heavier than a Fiesta, and when you combine low-powered engines attached to heavy loads, the fuel efficiency numbers go out the window. As such, on an advertised 9l/100 Km of combined consumption, I would never manage to get anywhere near 11.
Quite fun to drive. Much like most of economical cars, these things with skinny wheels are a riot on cobblestones. And the Ecosport still comes with a hand-brake. I can only paint the mental picture, but you surely can fill in the blanks… Suspension is fair, brakes are small (and drums in the rear wheels!) and rear seats are good enough for smaller people. Essentially like the Ford Fiesta, but a bit taller.
Utility is the keyword
Highlight comes in the form of boot space. At 330l with the seats up it is quite big, and having the spare wheel on the outside only helps the matter. You can hardly find a better price/boot-capacity ratio outside a commercial vehicle.
So, it is well made, it has all the necessary components, it’s not abundant in the options, it is comfortable enough and more capable you would initially give it credit to. And most of all, it is really cheap. Toyota Corolla cheap. Suzuli Baleno cheap. How cheap? It starts at 16,000$ and finishes at 22,000$ with all the possible options. And given how well it is constructed, you probably have car for a decade. Not bad at all…