Forget the local fading of the Blue Oval. If the EcoSport is anything to go by, Ford has a bright future in the automotive new world, for the compact sport utility vehicle bearing that name does what it promises gobsmackingly well.

Ford says the EcoSport mates the manoeuvrability and fuel economy of a compact car with the practicality and toughness of an SUV, the latter with 200 mm ground clearance making it possible to wade in water up to 550 mm deep.

However, above all, the vehicle is being used to introduce Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine to Australia, featuring the company’s EcoBoost patented technology already found in engines of varying capacities in the global Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Mondeo and even the home-grown Falcon.

The tiny-tot turbocharged power plant – small enough to fit on a sheet of A4 size paper – gives the EcoSport 92 kW of power and peak torque of 170 Nm sound. A traditional 1.6-litre petrol engine would do well to match that.

With 25 per cent fewer moving parts, Ford says 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, thanks to advanced direct fuel injection, turbocharging and variable valve timing, achieves a combined urban / highway fuel consumption figure of 5.7 litres/100km, while breathing out 131g of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The engine, like all EcoBoosts, is Euro V emission rated.

Typically in three-cylinder engines there is a whole lot of shakin’ going on because of their being off-balance and out of sync. Ford’s solution was to deliberately unbalance the pulley and flywheel with weights placed to counteract the natural shaking forces of the engine and drive the energy in a less sensitive direction.

Among other things that play a part are engine mounts designed to decouple as well as absorb the engine’s shaking forces. The result is a smooth and relatively quiet cabin which can be filled with quality sound from an above-average audio system.


Ford EcoSport is sold in Ambiente, Trend and Titanium format with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, the Titanium 1.0-litre EcoBoost is mated to a five-speed manual while the 1.5 comes with a six-speed PowerShift auto.

Trend buyers also have the choice of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost or 1.5-litre Duratec Ti-VCT, while the Ambiente is available with the 1.5-litre Ti-VCT engine, mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed PowerShift automatic. A manual Titanium EcoBoost came my way for test.

The EcoBoost uses Ford’s SYNC, a Microsoft-sourced voice-activated connectivity system for choosing music and making phone calls using audible commands. The SYNC button, major radio and phone controls are all on the steering wheel, putting information, via a 3.5-inch display screen, at the driver’s fingertips. The smart set-up will automatically match the audio volume with the speed of the vehicle – softer on slowing down; louder at higher speeds.

What of the vehicle engine note? Low down there is a hint of leaf blower rasp when accelerating, while high up in the rev register, the turbocharger chimes in, whistling a happy tune.

A bonus for the SYNC user is Emergency Assistance which sends a voice message directly to triple-zero indicating the vehicle has been involved in a crash in which the airbags have been deployed and enables hands-free communication.

Before initiating the emergency call, SYNC provides a 10-second window to allow the driver or passenger to decide whether to manually cancel the call. Should an occupant not be able to communicate with the 000 operator, a message indicates an accident has occurred and the system can provide GPS co-ordinates in the voice message.

Built on the Fiesta platform, the EcoSport has double-decker radiator grilles that would be recognisable to those familiar with the latest Fiesta and Focus models. Behind that the EcoSport is on its own with somewhat quirky looks.

Above the Trend model the Titanium spec model incorporates cruise control, driver’s seat lumbar support, glovebox cooler, front fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels and series unique badging.

On top of that are silver roof rails, Torino leather seat trim with contrasting Cabernet Red stitching, leather-trimmed steering wheel, leather gear shifter (manual only), electro-chromic rear view mirror, automatic climate control, Smart Key with push button start, rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and automatic headlights.

The command driving position allows the taller driver to have the seat forward enough to leave generous leg room for the passenger behind. The rear luggage area can take up to 705 litres of cargo with the rear seats folded and tumbled forward.

The latter is only made possible by hanging the full-size spare wheel, with colour co-ordinated cover, off the outside of the side-hinged rear door, which makes easy access for loading and unloading.

Some short-wheelbase vehicles are susceptible to a choppy ride on uneven road surfaces, but the EcoSports’ suspension is well sorted.

A Smart Key enables the driver to unlock the doors by tugging on the handle. Once inside, a press of the Ford Power Start button gets the engine up and running. No bunch of keys here dangling irritatingly from the ignition onto the driver’s knee.

While the compact EcoSport should hold few fears while parking, Titanium owners have the added advantage of four ultrasonic rear parking sensors that beep on reversing when close to obstacles. The multi-function display indicates their position in relation to the vehicle.

The EcoSport Titanium can be had for $25,790, plus on road costs, and is covered by myFord capped price servicing charges.


EcoSport 1.5 Ambiente 2WD: $20,790
EcoSport 1.0 Trend 2WD: $22,290
EcoSport 1.0 Titanium 2WD: $25,790
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Ford dealer for driveaway prices.

ABS Brakes: Standard in both models
Cruise Control: Standard
Dual Front Airbags: Standard
Front Side Airbags: Standard
Driver’s Knee Airbag: Standard
Curtain Airbags, Front and Rear: Standard
Electronic Stability Program: Standard
Rear Parking Sensors: Titanium
Bluetooth: Standard
Roof racks: Titanium
Spare wheel cover: Titanium
Voice operated Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance: Titanium
6-speaker Audio System (3.5-in multi-function display): Titanium
Ford smart key with keyless entry and start (Ford Power button): Titanium
Automatic headlamp control with HomeSafe feature: Titanium

SPECIFICATIONS (Ford EcoSport 1.0 GTDi EcoBoost / Ford EcoSport 1.5 Duratec T–VCT)

Capacity: 999 cc / 1500 cc
Configuration: Fixed geometry, single turbocharger, direct injection with six-hole injectors and Ti-VCT with 4 valves per cylinder / Twin independent variable camshaft timing with 4 valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.1:1 / 11.0:1
Bore/Stroke: 71.9 mm x 82.0 mm / 79.0 mm x 81.4 mm
Maximum Power: 92 kW @ 6000 rpm / 82 kW @ 6300 rpm
Maximum Torque: 170 Nm @ 1400-4500 rpm / 140 Nm @ 4400 rpm

Driven Wheels: Front
Manual Transmission: Five-speed
Automatic Transmission: Six-speed

Length: 4245 mm (Including spare wheel)
Wheelbase: 2521 mm
Width: 2057 mm (Including mirrors)
Height: 1708 mm (Including roof rails)
Track: 1519 mm (front), 1518 mm (rear)
Overhang: 812 mm (front); 677 mm (rear)
Approach angle: 25 degrees
Departure angle: 35 degrees
Ramp break over angle: 25 degrees
Ground clearance: 200 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 m
Kerb weight: 1280 kg (5sp manual), 1289 kg (6sp automatic)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 52 litres
Towing Ability: 700 kg (1.0 man); 700 kg (1.5 man); 500 kg (1.5 auto)
Boot Capacity: 705 litres with rear seats folded and tumbled forward

Front Suspension: Independent McPherson strut with coil spring and anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Semi-independent twist beam with twin gas and oil filled shock absorbers
Brakes: Dual circuit, hydraulically operated vented front disc and rear drum brakes. Electronic four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) DSC and Hill Launch Assist

0-100km/h: N/A

Type: Unleaded petrol (98 RON recommended)
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 1.0 GTDi 5.7 L/100km, 131 g/km (manual); 1.5 Ti-VCT 6.5 L/100km, 154g/km (manual); 1.5 Ti-VCT 6.5 L/100km, 154g/km (auto)

15 x 6 steel wheel with cover (Ambiente), 16 x 7-inch alloy (Trend / Titanium)
Goodyear 195/65 R15 (Ambiente) Low rolling resistance, Goodyear 205/60 R16 (Trend, Titanium). 16-inch full-size spare (Alloy Trend and Titanium)

Greenhouse Rating: 8/10
Air Pollution Rating: 7.5/10

Three years / 100,000 kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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