Ford has put its bestselling EcoSport crossover under the knife for 2018 and with it comes not only a new visage, but also updated technological items.

Launched in 2013, the model took the South African market by storm as it offered the sought-after commanding seating position while remaining relatively affordable and built on the solid underpinnings of the outgoing Fiesta.

The model has sold over 45,000 units locally, equating to about 9,000 units a year. "It has been a major player in its segment, thanks to its great looks, impressive space and versatility, superb all-round performance and exceptional value for money," says Tracey Delate, GM marketing at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

Now the updated version has arrived sporting a fresh face, thanks to a new grille, lower front valance and new headlights, while the rear lights have also been given the once-over.

The cabin has been lifted wholesale from the latest Fiesta, which includes a more ergonomically designed steering wheel and a floating Sync 3 infotainment screen (6.5-inch on Trend and eight-inch on Titanium variants) with Bluetooth and voice-control features.

Overall, it is a minimalist design that looks far less complex and much more contemporary than the previous model.

The interior gets more kit including a larger touchscreen infotainment system. Picture: QUICKPIC
The interior gets more kit including a larger touchscreen infotainment system. Picture: QUICKPIC

As before, three trim levels will be offered in the form of the entry-level Ambiente, mid-spec Trend and the flagship Titanium. The Ambiente comes with 16-inch steel wheels, while the Trend features gunmetal 16-inch alloys and the Titanium comes with 17-inch items.

Engines will come in the form of the 1.5l turbodiesel with 74kW and 205Nm only on the Trend five-speed manual model, while the 1.0l EcoBoost engine will be available right across the rest of the range and is good for 92kW and 170Nm. Petrol models get either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.


Interestingly, the EcoSport gets slightly more power than most of the equivalent Fiesta models, in spite of them both using the same engines. According to a Ford SA spokesperson, there is no logical explanation for it, which is quite bizarre.

Practicality has been the forte of the model and its 334l of boot space is an example of that. The boot floor itself has been strengthened to carry up to 300kg of weight.

Safety has further enhanced in most respects. For starters, there are six airbags fitted as standard on the Ambiente, comprising dual front, side and curtain airbags, while the Trend and Titanium models are also equipped with a driver’s knee airbag. The side airbags have been redesigned to provide extra thorax protection and direct the occupant away from an impact and new curtain airbags provide increased side-impact coverage.

Active driving safety has been stepped up markedly across the range with standard fitment of electronic stability control (ESC) with traction control (TC), as well as Roll Stability Control (RSC) in the EcoBoost range, which adjusts engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control.

You can now have a more dynamic-looking Ecosport but sadly Ford SA has no plans to bring the ST-line models. Picture: QUICKPIC
You can now have a more dynamic-looking Ecosport but sadly Ford SA has no plans to bring the ST-line models. Picture: QUICKPIC

Additionally, the 1.0l EcoBoost powered models gain Hill Launch Assist (HLA) that makes pulling off on steep inclines easier, along with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

For the first time in the EcoSport range, the Titanium variants come with cruise control as standard, while all models come as standard with reverse parking sensors for added piece of mind. While the previous generation EcoSport was for the most part a great package, its styling seemed meek compared to that of competitors, however, this latest model has addressed that anomaly.

As previously, the model is relatively well priced with the 1.5l Trend diesel starting at R264,500 rising to R339,900 for the 1.0l Titanium automatic.

Whether the model will continue to lead the segment remains to be seen as there have been a great number of competent entrants come into the segment in recent years, including the Renault Captur for instance, which remains a great package. Later in 2018 Hyundai will throw its hat into the ring in the form of the Kona crossover.

It’s safe to say that things are definitely heating up in this hotly contested segment.