Ford EcoSport 1.0

EcoBoost Titanium

Ford EcoSport, side
Ford EcoSport, front
Ford EcoSport, rear
Ford EcoSport, rear
Ford EcoSport, boot
Ford EcoSport, interior
Ford EcoSport, front
Ford EcoSport, front
Ford EcoSport, front

FORD'S smallest SUV failed to impress when it arrived four years ago with poor build quality and too many quirks.

A number of improvements over the past couple of years made it look and drive better but it was still outclassed by most of its rivals.

Now theEcoSportis about to try and grab a bigger share of the lucrative market with a heavily updated version which is now built in Europe and engineered better to our tastes and roads.

With new sharper sportier looks that are more akin to the rest of the Ford range theEcoSporthas also been given a brand new interior which is heavily based on the one in the new Fiesta.

In addition there is more tech, customisation choices and even a couple of new versions.

All-wheel-drive is now available and you can also get a new 1.5-litre diesel engine.

I have been sampling the Titanium model powered by Ford's tried and tested 1.0-litreEcoBoost turbo three-cylnderpetrol engine which is priced at £19,945.

TheEcoSportnow feels better to drive and the gear change is slick and the steering is nicely weighted. The suspension changes mean that it is now suited better to our roads but there is still plenty body roll and the ride remains busy.

The engine in this version produces 123bhp but it still takes theEcoSporta leisurely 12.7 seconds to tackle the 0-62mph sprint.

Official figures put the combined mpg at 54.3 but I could not get anywhere near that in normal driving conditions so expect to get between 40-45mpg if you don't push too hard.

Overall it is the redesigned interior that is the most impressive part of the newEcosportwith decent switchgear plucked from the Fiesta and a similar tablet-style infotainment screen on top of the centreconsule.

It is easy to use and coupled with a better instrument panel and some improved plastics the cabin is now much nicer to sit in. The Titanium also offers a generous amount of standard equipment and all the latest safety features.

This car also came with rear privacy glass at £250, front parking sensors at £150, keyless entry and start for an additional £300 and a premium sound system for a further £300. Larger alloys and premium lightning blue paint took the final cost of the EcoSport to a hefty £21,940.

The cabin will take four adults with ease but rear legroom is still quite tight. The boot offers 355-litres of luggage space but the tailgate is still an annoying side-opening affair and that is still a pain.

FAST FACTS

Ford EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium

Price: £19,945

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

Max Speed: 111mph

0-62mph: 12.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 119g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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