► Ford's baby SUV facelifted for 2018
► Interior update inches upmarket
► Tweaks capitalise on B-SUV boom
The Ford EcoSport may not have taken the world by storm like the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur or Vauxhall Mokka, but with 150,000 sold in Europe since its 2014 launch and sales on the up it’s an important car in what the industry calls the B-SUV segment.
Ford is aiming to capitalise on the move away from traditional hatchbacks and into SUV-themed crossovers with its updated EcoSport, adding an overhauled interior and subtle – but effective – tweaks to the exterior. In addition it’s receiving a raft of new tech on board in order to bring it into line with its closest opposition.
The biggest update to the Ecosport is the fresh interior. It’s a step-change here – thankfully - lifting plenty of kit and tech from the latest Fiesta. It’s not class-leading by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly an improvement. Anyone who steps out of a Fiesta won’t feel short changed.
The new dashboard receives a big and bright colour touchscreen, which takes centre stage on higher-spec models and helps achieve a more grown-up look throughout.
The seats, fixtures and dashboard are much better than before. The new ST-Line models get the customary red stitching, chunky leather sports steering wheel and sports seats, but regular models still come with all the latest additions.
There’s a lot more kit on offer now, too, with SYNC 3 infotainment system on some models, the option of the B&O Play sound system first seen in the Fiesta, cruise control and a rear-view camera, as well as more safety kit including blind-spot recognition.
The updated styling makes all the difference
Yes, the changes are small, but they give this car an appreciable lift. Thanks to redesigned bumpers, larger wheels and a two-tone paint option, the Ecosport has a more cohesive look. The new bumpers, lights and grille give it a more mini-Kuga feel than before.
The range-topping ST-Line adds some desirable design features with a more aggressive body kit and bad boy alloys, and you can even opt for a bi-colour look with a black roof, pillars and mirrors.
What’s under the bonnet?
A suite of Ecoboost petrols and diesels, but not all are available at launch. Early on there’s the familiar 138bhp and 123bhp iterations of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost three-pot, with a 99bhp version joining the range mid-2018.
Diesel fans can choose the existing 1.5-litre TDCi with 99bhp, front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual ‘box, with a new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel with 123bhp and 221lb/ft to follow, available with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
Small changes, but do they add up?
Based on looks alone, Ford is already onto something better than the previous EcoSport, with a thoroughly overhauled interior to match the new exterior. That gives it half a chance in what is rapidly becoming Europe’s toughest market sector.
Check out our Ford Edge long-term test review