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Ford EcoSport 2020 Review

Find out more about the Ford Ecosport in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£12,130
Average price
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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Decent value for money
  • Plenty of standard kit
  • Good turbocharged petrol engines

Cons

  • Poor to drive
  • Annoying rear-hinged tailgate
  • Thirsty engines
  • MPG

    53 - 53

  • CO2

    113 - 114 g/km

Model review

Originally produced for emerging markets like India and Brazil, the Ecosport is a small crossover SUV introduced to the UK and Europe in 2014.

The slightly ungainly looks – including an external spare wheel and a side-opening boot (which opened the wrong way for RHD markets) – didn't do it any favours, and it didn't prove to be refined enough to make much of a sales impact. Ford updated the car very shortly after launch in 2015 to address these shortcomings.

Ford also introduced a new ‘S’ grade at a similar time, which offered sportier styling thanks to its black alloy wheels and a more aggressive look. Despite Ford’s best efforts, though, it didn’t help the Ecosport – sales not being where they should have been when you compare it to the excellent Fiesta, which is the UK’s most popular car. 

Latest model

Ford was quick to realise the Ecosport’s lack of suitability for UK buyers, and was quick to update it – first in 2015 and then more comprehensively at the start of 2017.

The latter was the most recent update, and was certainly a big step forward compared to its predecessor. Firstly with its styling, which now looks fresher and more mainstream – helped by the introduction of a sporty-looking ST-Line trim level. Annoyingly the rear-hinged tailgate remains, though. 

Big changes can also be seen in the cabin, which now mirrors that of the Fiesta and Focus, as you get a much cleaner layout and eight-inch touchscreen that is easy to use. You also get more tech than before, as well as a new 1.5-litre diesel engine that’s far more efficient than the one it replaces. 

Value for money

Prices for the Ecosport start from £18,695, and that’s quite competitive in this crossover class, as it’s a similar price to rivals such as the Seat Arona and Renault Captur – if more expensive than the Nissan Juke and MG ZS. Entry-level versions provide most of the kit you need, but if you want cooler looks, try the top-spec ST-Line, which is available from £21,000. 

In terms of used values, the cheapest Ecosports were available from £6,000 at the time of writing, which offers good value. It’s worth trying to find the much-improved 2017 facelift model, though, which looks much better and has a far more pleasant interior. These are available from around £10,500. That said, there are big savings available off nearly-new models – we saw a delivery mileage example for sale for £14,000 – a huge £4,500 off the price of a new one. In that case, it’s definitely worth looking at the used market to get the best value for money. 

Looks and image

When the Ecosport originally debuted in 2014, it’s safe to say it wasn’t the most stylish of choices. With its boxy uninspiring styling and odd spare wheel mounted on the tailgate, it looked old-fashioned and bland next to bold rivals like the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur

The 2017 update went a long way in addressing this, though – not least with the introduction of the ST-Line trim levels, which gains sporty looks and a cool two-tone styling. While still not looking as fresh as some competitors, the latest Ecosport is the most appealing it’s ever been. It’s a similar story on the cabin, which is light years better than before – helped by a much cleaner layout, higher-quality materials and the standard-fit eight-inch touchscreen. 

Unfortunately, the driving experience hasn’t got much better. While Ford’s excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines help matters, the rest of the experience is disappointing – not least because Ford is known for its fun cars. The steering is light and there feels like there’s little communication between the wheel and tyres, while the top-heavy design leads to loads of body roll. On the plus side, if you’re looking for a high driving position, you’ll like the Ecosport, which feels more like an SUV than plenty of its rivals. 

Space and practicality

While Ford has got rid of the awkward tailgate spare wheel, it’s unfortunately kept the side-hinged boot, which opens outwards, rather than upwards. It’s a nightmare in tight parking spaces as you have to leave plenty of room for it to open. What’s more, when you’ve opened the door, you’re left with a somewhat measly space. At 335 litres, it’s more than the 292 litres you get in the Fiesta, but other superminis offer just as much room, while even Ford’s own similarly-sized Puma has a much larger 456-litre boot. 

However, the boxy shape is a big plus, as the Ecosport offers a lot more rear headroom than plenty of rivals, though knee room isn’t quite so impressive – especially when you’re sat behind a taller driver or front seat passenger.

Engines

Ford has slimmed down its Ecosport line-up recently, and if you want to buy a new model today, only petrol engines are available, and they’re mated to a six-speed manual transmission, with no automatic available. 

It’s Ford’s acclaimed 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine that’s used, and you can choose it in outputs of 99bhp, 123bhp or 138bhp. The former is restricted to the Zetec, while only ST-Line grade models are available with the 138bhp engine. 

All engines make a good case for themselves, with the 138bhp version being the quickest, as it’s able to reach 60mph in 10.1 seconds, next to 11.7 seconds for the 99bhp model and 10.8 for the 128bhp option. 

If you’re looking at used examples, a 1.5-litre diesel engine was available with outputs of either 99bhp or 123bhp. The more powerful option is the one to go for, as the smaller unit feels underpowered. 

Running costs

No Ford Ecosport variant should be costly to run, but the EcoBoost petrol engines aren’t as efficient as they could be – returning between 47 and 49mpg, with CO2 emissions of 136g/km. That’s not bad, but rivals offer better economy and lower emissions. 

For that reason, if you want low running costs, you should look out for diesel versions, which return closer to 60mpg, with CO2 emissions of 128g/km.

Things to look out for

While Ford has had a hit and miss reputation when it comes to reliability, the Ecosport seems to be one of the more reliable cars from the firm in recent years, with few complaints from owners – more impressive given the Ecosport is now a six-year-old car. 

Rivals

The small crossover segment is one of the most competitive around, with just about every mainstream manufacturer having a model that competes in this sector. There is no shortage of options in this class, and unfortunately, many of them are better than the Ford Ecosport – more efficient, more modern and more practical. 

So if you’re looking at an Ecosport, consider the latest 2020 Renault Captur, Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross, as well as Ford’s brilliant Puma, which, confusingly, is a direct rival to the Ecosport. Older options worth looking at include the Seat Arona, Peugeot 2008 and Mazda CX-3

Depreciation warning

Given Ford’s mass-market appeal its models usually depreciate heavily. That’s no exception with the Ecosport, and especially when it lacks the desirability of rivals. Expect to save £4,500 off nearly-new models, while older versions are available for around £6,000. This all makes it quite an appealing used buy, though. 

Which Ecosport to Pick

Cheapest to buy when new

1.0 EcoBoost 125 Titanium 5dr

Most MPG

1.0 EcoBoost 125 Titanium 5dr

Fastest model (0-60)

1.0 EcoBoost 140 ST-Line 5dr

Trims Explained

Three trim levels are available on the Ecosport – Zetec, Titanium and ST-Line. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

Zetec

The Ecosport comes with plenty of standard equipment – including cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, electric windows, a heated windscreen and an eight-inch touchscreen, FordPass Connect and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. It also comes with electric mirrors, air conditioning and a leather steering wheel, along with autonomous emergency braking and traffic sign recognition on the safety front.

Prices start from £18,695

Titanium

Titanium adds larger 17-inch alloy wheels, additional chrome styling, silver roof rails and automatic lights and wipers. You also get satellite navigation, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and climate control.

Prices start from £20,195

ST-Line

At the top of the line-up is the ST-Line, which adds sportier styling thanks to its revised 17-inch alloy wheels, revised grille, ST-Line bodykit, rear spoiler and contrast roof and mirrors. You also get sports suspension, part-Alcantara seats and sports pedals.

Prices start from £20,995

Summary

  1. On sale in 2014, significant update in 2017
  2. New ST-Line trim looks great
  3. High driving position
  4. Disappointing to drive
  5. Decent value for money…
  6. And a great used buy
  7. Limited practicality
  8. Good 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines
  9. Ford’s own Puma is a much better option
  10. An affordable small crossover, but rivals are far more accomplished

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