Earlier this week, Ford launched its award-winning 1L engine EcoSport in Durban.
The EcoSport is an urban SUV that is fuel efficient, hence the Eco in its name. This is the second SUV to launch locally, following the introduction of the Kuga in April (read what I thought of it here).
The vehicle is aimed at the B-segment market and Ford is hoping to attract the young, adventurous customer who is looking for a combination of practicality, smart features, affordability and fuel efficiency. The EcoSport will go up against the Nissan Juke, and looking at the Juke, I think we can all agree that design wasn’t really an important aspect. I like the masculine look of the EcoSport and if you look at it closely, you can see how much effort went into the design process, both inside and out.
The EcoSport is somewhere between a hatchback and SUV, and makes great sense for those who live and work in the city, but also like taking road trips or weekend getaways venturing out. It will be available in three trim levels, three engine options, and two transmission variants. So the line up looks like this with pricing, including VAT and CO2 emissions tax:
> 1.5L Petrol Ambiente – R199 000
> 1L EcoBoost Trend – R224 000
> 1.5L TDCi Trend – R229 000
> 1L EcoBoost Titanium – R244 000
> 1.5L Petrol Titanium Powershift – R244 000
> 1.5L TDCi Titanium – R249 000
The car can accommodate 5 adults and has lots of boot space (you can even fit a washing machine in the there, with the back seats folded – which gives you a total of 705 litres). Also love the direction that the boot opens – easier to open and close, no matter what height you are. The button that opens the boot is situated between the right tail light – neat.
Other interesting features to me were its 20 practical storage spaces, that includes keeping 6 cans cool in the glove box; and a 12V power outlet at the back (passengers can also charge their electronic devices from the back – win!). Ford SYNC will be standard on the Trend and Titanium models, so excluding the entry level Ambiente.
We got to drive various models over our 24 hour stay in Durban, and my driving partner Wisaal and I managed to get completely lost after leaving the airport, which turned out to be loads of fun. I drove the 1L Trend (manual) and and the 1.5L diesel Titanium (manual). I love the interiors, and there’s plenty of cup holders (the non-spilling kind). The steering wheel is not as intimidating and packed with buttons as the Kuga. You can also view bits of info like fuel efficiency, distance covered etc on the digital odometer.
I enjoyed both drives, but the 1L seemed to be a more fun drive, maybe because that was the model we got lost in! There wasn’t a moment where I felt like I’m driving a 1L, which still surprises me as I can’t deal with a 1.2L engine. We drove through the hills of KZN, complete with potholes, speed bumps and what-shoulda-been-gravel roads. The EcoSport has a ground clearance of 200mm, which made going over speed bumps and potholes manageable. There wasn’t a point where I thought the car couldn’t handle the conditions we drove in. Between getting lost and driving not-so-fuel-efficiently, we didn’t run out of petrol.
As someone who prefers and drives a hatchback, I was completely surprised by the EcoSport. I enjoyed driving it and would recommend one, if you want the best of both, with a price range of R224k. I wouldn’t suggest the entry level Ambiente because of the lack of SYNC, and if you’re buying a car in 2013, make sure it has an infotainment system!