REVIEW: Ford EcoSport

The Ford EcoSport ST-Line. (Picture: Charlie Magee Photography)

by Seán Creedon

Writing about new cars can be a bit like reviewing a new play or a film. If it gets a bad review initially then it’s difficult to win over the public’s confidence.

And that’s what I think happened with the Ford EcoSport. The first edition was panned by the critics and the price was much too high.

That first edition was designed in Brazil and built in India. Now the car is built in various other Ford plants and the version we have in Ireland is built in Romania.

Apart from the price, some people seemed to have been put off because as the rear door in the EcoSport opens out rather than the conventional boot door which opens up.

I have heard complaints from people, who had garages attached to their house, saying that space was tight in their garage and it was difficult to open the boot.

The first version of the EcoSport had a spare wheel attached to the outside of that infamous fifth door, which gave it that rugged look. Now the spare is gone and has been replaced by a repair kit in the boot.

The Ford EcoSport ST-Line. (Picture: Charlie Magee Photography)

I drove the new version of the EcoSport car in Portugal two years ago. Back then I didn’t have any reason to put anything in the boot. The only purchases we made in Estoril and Lisbon were Pastéis de Nata, the famous Portuguese custard tarts.

This time round I had some real shopping to carry and if I hadn’t driven the first edition of the EcoSport I might have been wondering where the boot release was.

The button to release the rear door is built into the right tail light cluster. If you were not told about it I reckon you might spend some time trying to find a button in the cabin to release the boot.

Looked at from the front, the car certainly looks very neat and tidy. I drove a Lightening Blue version with a black roof and I thought it looked ‘cool.’ My 1.0-litre six-speed manual test car had 125 brake horse power, which was powerful enough for what is a very light motor.

Inside the dash is typical Ford, with the controls well laid out and all so easy to use. The Apple CarPlay worked well and I never have any problem with the Ford controls.

The Ford EcoSport ST-Line- interior. (Picture: Charlie Magee Photography)

There is room for five adults. The main interior colour was black with a white roof, but there was a touch of red stitching on the seats.

Prices have dropped for the EcoSport with a starting price now of €23,525. My ST-Line model started at €24,776. Ford has added their ST-Line package, which includes a plethora of extras, in all their new cars now.

Recently a salesman told me that there has been a small uptake for the EcoSport and that he has sold a few new versions.

So despite all those negative reviews, it looks like the EcoSport is making an impression, albeit a small one on Irish motorists, in what is a very crowded market for small SUVs.

There is a fair bit of road noise and it’s probably still too expensive. But I enjoyed the high driving position. But then I have always been a big Ford fan going back to my first car in the seventies, which was an Escort.