Ford EcoSport 1.0

EcoBoost Titanium

Ford EcoSport, full front static
Ford EcoSport, front action
Ford EcoSport, front action 2
Ford EcoSport, side action 2
Ford EcoSport, side action
Ford EcoSport, dashboard
Ford EcoSport, rear action
Ford EcoSport, side static
Ford EcoSport, boot

NOT every car model gets off to the start its maker hoped for. Some vanish without trace (remember the Renault Wind?) and some simply sink into the background and plod on for years.

There's a third scenario available to a disappointed car maker; quickly change your car for the better and hope the punters notice. That's what Ford has done with its EcoSport.

This modestly sized SUV is neither very Eco (more on that later) or very Sport(y) but it's now a better car than we first saw in 2014 or even after a swift revamp a couple of years later.

Now comes a third effort to build in what we Europeans want in a car that started life in India but now comes out of a factory in Romania, where Ford has invested many millions in the hope of riding the current SUV wave.

The latest styling tweaks have produced a car that looks sharp and modern - helped by ditching the spare wheel from the side-hinged rear door as standard - it's now a £100 extra, or you take a bottle of tyre inflator gunge.

Bigger changes happen inside, where the plastic may still be finger rapping hard but it looks nicely modern and majors on a new tablet-like touchscreen with easy connectivity to your Apple or Android mobile phone and, in dearer models adds satellite navigation.

The EcoSport range spans £17,495 to £21,145 and takes in a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with 125 or 140 horsepower and the option of an automatic gearbox and a 100hp 1.5-litre diesel. Later in 2018 Ford will add a less powerful, more economical diesel and a 4x4 option.

Common to them all is a passenger cabin with enough room to seat four adults in comfort (five at a pinch) and a boot that's merely big enough. That side-hinged rear door means you'll soon learn not to reverse park against the wall in the supermarket 'cos you won't get it open.

Standard kit across the EcoSport range includes power windows all round, alloy wheels, air conditioning, remote central locking, heated windscreen and a DAB radio.

The Titanium trim test car adds cruise control, bigger alloys, sat nav, rear view camera and parking sensors, partial leather seat trim and auto lights and wipers.

Tempting options include (toasty) heated front seats and steering wheel (£225), a good B&Q sound upgrade (£300) and 18-inch alloy wheels (£400). Those prices would make an Audi salesman blush and look fine value for money.

I'd think hard about those bigger wheels, though. They turn an already firm ride towards jittery on poor roads and make you wonder what the still more firmly sprung ST-Line EcoSport might feel like.

You might also not go for the £1,300 it costs to add an automatic gearbox which is over eager to turn the engine buzzy at the push of your right foot and can't have helped an economy readout of 36.8mpg over 500 miles of testing.

FAST FACTS

Ford EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium

Price: £20,795

Mechanical: 123bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 111mph

0-62mph: 11.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 48.7

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 134g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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