At just a millimetre under the four-metre mark, the EcoSport has taken full advantage of the ‘small car’ regulations, which give huge cost benefits to cars of sub-four-metre length. But as a result, it’s a small footprint, and the EcoSport needs all the help it can get to give it that all-important SUV look. It achieves this largely through the massive and completely oversized octagonal grille that contrasts with slim headlamps. Then there’s the high bonnet and beltline, the black plastic cladding that runs along the lower part of the body, and the tailgate-mounted spare wheel – all nods to the gods of SUVs. That said, the high waistline and tall sides do make the 16-inch wheels on the EcoSport look a tad undersized. The 15-inch ones that come on the lower trim variants would look even more puny.
The overall shape comes across as tightly skinned, futuristic and, when viewed from the front, very ‘in your face’. There are nice details, like the wraparound rear screen and the tailgate handle hidden in the tail-light.
The EcoSport is based on Ford’s B2E Fiesta platform. The suspension layout is straightforward, with independent MacPherson struts in the front and a non-independent torsion beam rear axle. The steering is electrically assisted and here’s the clever bit about it – it’s equipped with Pull-Drift Compensation and Active Nibble Control. The former adjusts the power steering to help compensate for the pulling and drifting that crowned roads, off-camber surfaces and crosswinds can cause. Ford says the latter senses and eliminates the shimmy felt at the steering wheel if a wheel is out of balance or if a brake rotor is warped.
Other interesting bits include the special attention paid to improving refinement – in addition to the sound-deadening materials in the doors, roof and body, there’s a double-sealing system for the doors, improved glass sealing and an acoustic headliner inside the cabin to help absorb ambient noise.
Ford is also keen to point out the EcoSport’s ‘off-roading’ abilities. As such, it has 200mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 25 degrees and a departure angle of 35 degrees. They also claim it can wade through 550mm of water.
All in all, the EcoSport with the EcoBoost engine weighs in at 1259kg – comparable to a large hatch.