The popularity of compact-size SUVs continues to increase every year, and that has meant that almost every major manufacturer now has at least one entry into the segment. With so many other rivals to contend with, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. However, one manufacturer that has done an excellent job of establishing itself as a leader in the segment is Ford, with its popular EcoSport CSUV.
Part of the reason that buyers keep coming back to the EcoSport is its value for money, as it undercuts other rivals on price but sort of beats them on build quality and finish.
For the 2022 model year, Ford hasn’t changed much about the car, save for adding enhancements to the looks and some extra tech features. But then, it didn’t need to. Cause, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Capable Trend 1.0 EcoBoost Automatic Engine
There’s only one engine option available for the EcoSport Active, and it’s carried over from the previous model year. Every trim comes equipped with Ford’s Trend 1.0 EcoBoost Automatic Engine pumping out 92kW of power and 170Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission as standard.
The EcoSport Active isn’t the fastest SUV in its class. However, it comes with front-wheel drive as standard.
Stylish, yet familiar exterior
The EcoSport Active features lightly refreshed looks, with a blackened grille, headlamp surround and foglamp bezels, as well as sporty black front and rear skirts. The athletic demeanour is further emphasized with black wheel arch mouldings and the adoption of 17-inch Active design black alloy wheels for a more “muscular stance”, Ford says. But, that’s pretty much it in terms of styling updates, and from a distance, it’s tricky to spot the difference between an Active model car and a normal model year.
That’s no bad thing, as the EcoSport has been one of the best-looking cars in the segment since its launch. It’s certainly distinctive, and it’s also available in a variety of colors, with three new options available. Frozen White and three distinctive metallic options comprising eye-catching Luxe Yellow, Solar Silver and Magnetic dark grey.
Surprisingly well fitted interior
Considering the low starting price of the EcoSport, even base-spec versions feel surprisingly premium to sit in. This Active trim is even more upmarket and offer a level of fit and finish that’s most comparable to luxury rivals. The EcoSport Active comes packed with features including cruise control, electric windows all-round, air-conditioning and an eight-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The main purpose of any SUV of this size is to be a family hauler, and the EcoSport can seat up to five passengers in comfort. The second row is a bit cramped, but that’s not unusual for the segment, and anyway, there’s still plenty of room back there for children or smaller adults.
The second-row seats can also be folded to create room for large or oddly shaped cargo. Child seat anchors are also in plentiful supply.
Impressive cargo capacity
As well as passengers, a family SUV needs to be capable of hauling plenty of cargo, and the EcoSport Active doesn’t disappoint in this respect either. A total of 334 litres space is available with the second row up, and the concealed storage is loaded.
The EcoSport Active is chock full of the latest infotainment and connectivity features, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also features a 8″ touchscreen. Carried over from the previous year are the EcoSport USB ports and power outlets, which are handy for keeping phones and other mobile devices fully charged on longer journeys. There are enough ports for every passenger.
Another innovative feature included as standard on this model is the FordPass Connect system, which includes an embedded modem that allows you to connect with the car and control a number of vehicle functions from your smartphone via the FordPass app. You could also view useful information such as fuel level and vehicle health alerts, the owner can also remotely lock, unlock and even remotely start the car (automatic models only) to cool or heat the cabin.
Plenty of driver-assistance technology
Safety is always paramount in a family hauler, and the EcoSport Active has a full suite of driver-assistance features to help keep its occupants safe at all times. Standard features include seven airbags (dual front, side, curtain and a driver’s knee airbag), along with ABS brakes with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Hill Launch Assist (HLA). Rear parking sensors are fitted, and the vehicle is equipped with a high-grade Thatcham alarm with immobiliser.
Competitive fuel economy
Given that petrol prices only seem to be on a one-way trend upwards in recent months, it’s becoming more important than ever to consider a car’s efficiency when deciding what to buy. The EcoSport Active isn’t the most efficient SUV in the segment, but its ratings remain competitive, putting it in the middle of the pack. Ford rates it at 5.8l per 100km.
Ford’s warranty is among the most generous on the market right now. It’s certainly not the kind you get from Hyundai or Chery, but it is decent. A bumper-to-bumper warranty covers the first four years or 60,000 miles, and the powertrain is covered for ten years or 120 000km. A four-year unlimited km roadside assistance plan is also available. As is the five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. The recommended service interval is 15 000km or annually, whichever occurs first.
Low starting price
As mentioned previously, the Ford EcoSport Active is remarkably good value for the number of features that buyers get. The car is priced at R393 700.
The key selling point of the EcoSport Active is that it provides more features and better build quality than most of its competitors, all while undercutting them on price. It’s by no means perfect.
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