Refreshed Ford Ecosport – First Drive

Refreshed Ford Ecosport – First Drive

Not so long ago I was flown to Durban for an experience like no other, I have a soft spot for the Zulu nation, it may stem from my love of the quality local content they produce for TV and radio. I was just pleasd to head down that’s way for their launch.

The Ecosport has been one of Ford’s best sellers for quite some time, it has found favour with South Africans since its introduction in 2013.

Facelifts are vital to keep a product fresh and relevant, the Ecosport benefits from a number of improvements that set tongues wagging positively. First up the front end is revised with enhanced headlights with LED daytime running lights and improved indicator housings, the front bumper benefits from a new grille that is finished in chrome. The hood is also revised with some minute lines to enhance masculinity. The side profile now has chrome inserts at the bottom of the door line, a new set of 17” alloys for the Titanium derivative also enhance the side profile. The blacked out 16s in the Trend aint bad either . The rear benefits from revised taillights, parking sensors, repositioned antenna and a reworked bumper. It has to be mentioned, the tailgate mounted spare wheel and its colour coded cover is quite stylish. My peeps just love it ,affectionately known as “Ibelekile” Xhosa ,meaning like a mother with a baby on her back.

The Interior is refreshed to the max, from the good looking detailed seat materials and dash and several new controls. The cluster is totally new, partially similar to the new Fiesta, the touch screen centre console is a welcome sight(Titanium), the climate control has been revised for ease of use. The Ecosports now boasts a push start button positioned on the dash to the left of the instrument cluster. A tad awkward if you ask me, it’s cool regardless. As expected with most new Ford products is it awash with the latest connectivity features and spec level is quite generous.

The drive to our overnight stay in the KZN midlands was rather interesting as we took some visually pleasing detours; this afforded us media contingent ample time to sample the 1.0Ecoboost power plant over various terrains. On launch we only had the 6 time World Engine of the Year winning 3 cylinder engine, mated to a 6 speed torque converter driven auto box. The automatic box now has steering wheel mounted paddle shifters should one feel the need to change manually. The 92kw power plant breezed through all that we through its way as we ventured deep into rural Zululand. The route also meant all safety features were in full use as the gravel stretches tested Electronic stability control and roll stability control.  I was very impressed with the front wheel drive Ecosport as most of the terrain we drove would be driven by mostly all-wheel drive cars normally . Kwazulu Natal is just beautiful, nothing worse than driving a boring route, this route just made the experience that much better.

We cleared the off road stint  eventually and met some tar stretches, the Ecosport proved its metal in how surefooted it was as we drove through sugar cane fields of the midlands , it handles quite well for its ride height. I didn’t play around much with the gearbox, I left it in Drive as it did what I needed it to do on all the surfaces, on test I will sample a lot more of its capabilities.  The feel of the drive and cabin oozed improvement. On launch only 2  trim derivatives were availed to us, The Trend and range topping Titanium, both have impressive specification level with the Titanium take the win with nicer goodies.

The overall feel of the Ecosport justifies the success it has had in our market; it has been refreshed with just the right amount of zest to keep it relevant.

Priced from R264 400 for the entry level diesel Ambiente 5 speed manual , to R339 900 for the 6 speed  automated Titanium, all Ecosports are backed by a 4yr/60 000 service plan, an unlimited kilometer 3 year Roadside Assistance, 5 year Unlimited kilometer Anti Corrossion warranty and a comprehensive 4year/120 000km warranty for absolute peace of mind.

Thanks to the entire Ford team for an epic experience during the launch.

Yours in motoring

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

 

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