Ford EcoSport 1.0

ST-Line

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

IF Ford's Fiesta is a car which appeals but you really want to keep up with the current trend of owning an SUV then the Ford EcoSport may well be the answer.

It's a model which is based on the Fiesta, as is plain to see, but has all the attributes which make small SUVs so popular - like a taller stance for easier access/exit and good all round vision.

In the case of the ST-Line version it also has a very stylish interior with a lot of creature comforts which at this time of year when temperatures often dip below zero make you warm to it both literally and figuratively.

These include heated front seats with three temperature settings, a heated steering wheel and - probably most important - Ford's brilliant and long established heated windscreen. On an icy morning there is nothing better - or quicker.

On-board features don't stop there. There are a host of nice touches including an easy-to-use i-Pad style touch-screen for both the satellite navigation system and a view of what's behind you as you reverse - courtesy of a boot mounted camera.

There's even a multiple choice of colours for ambient lighting which can be changed with one touch on the screen.

As the sporting model in the EcoSport line up the ST-Line comes with sports suspension, a large rear spoiler, ST-Line bodystyling kit and grille as well as 17-inch Dark Tarnish alloy wheels.

And on the inside the suede-look seating adds to the car's upmarket image.

Unlike a lot of SUV models the EcoSport has a side-hinged rear door rather than a tailgate, and while it offers 355-litres of luggage space it's not for everyone as you have to be careful where you park in order to ensure you have enough space to open the door.

On the road the EcoSport with its relatively tiny engine has a nice buzzy feel to it and if you work the gearbox it's lively and never really lacking.

It will hit 62 miles per hour in a respectable 11 seconds and has an impressively slick six-speed manual gearbox.

There is some body roll but the firmer suspension of the ST-Line model keeps it reasonably well in check to ensure a comfortable ride.

I was a little disappointed with the fuel consumption for a less than 1.0-litre engine, however. Ford claims an average of 53.3 but I struggled to average 40mpg without trying really hard.

Everything on board is intuitive, however, easy to see in a glance and easy to operate, although I was surprised to find there was no automatic mode on the headlights switch to turn them on as dusk falls.

FAST FACTS

Ford EcoSport 1.0 ST-Line

Price: £21,545

Mechanical: 125bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 111mph

0-62mph: 11 seconds

Combined MPG: 53.3

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 119g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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