Auto

Ford EcoSport: An every day adventure

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 12, 2019

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NOT everyone wants a large sport utility vehicle (SUV). For those seeking the occasional escape, as well as meeting the needs of urban life, well the 2019 Ford EcoSport is the ideal option.

Size isn't everything, and the EcoSport delivers in spades. Its narrow frame makes little impact on interior space, as it can comfortably fit the average family and their cargo. The spare tyre has been moved to the hatch door, much like small off-roaders from the days of yore.

Seating position is high, which is how modern SUV buyers like it. The cabin is light and airy, allowing excellent viewing angles.

The backup camera is clear and easy to understand on the SYNC infotainment screen within reach on the dashboard an important factor as it's primarily a touchscreen. Thankfully, it's fast and easy to connect to via Bluetooth and the two USB ports in the centre console. Extra features include the option to have time shifting backgrounds, switching to black at night as not to disrupt the driver. Hard buttons under the display and on the steering wheel provide quick short-cut functions. Ford's voice recognition system, set for specific commands, works very well, as does the stereo-belting out good sound from whatever device is in operation.

Controls are laid out simply, logically and can be reached with little effort. Several are automated, like the headlights and wipers. Soft-touch materials are at the key contact points adding further to sense of comfort in the cabin. Practicality isn't amiss as storage solutions, hidden and open, are found all around. For maximum capacity, drop the 80/20 split rear seats and pile in cargo until roof high. Accessing the rear hatch is done by a handle cleverly integrated into one of the rear lights and it's nicely damped negating the expected weight of the spare tyre when being opened.

Blessed with the six-time international engine of the year, one would never question what's under the bonnet, as the one-litre, three-cylinder punches way above its weight. In urban use, the Ford never leaves the driver wanting, with a smooth linear power curve that works well with its six-speed automatic transmission. There are no drive modes, not that it needs it, as the EcoSport can sip petrol at rates over 30mpg. Step into the accelerator and the vehicle rides on wave of torque to triple digit speed. At no point does the engine ever feels strained or intrudes on cabin comfort with unwanted noise.

The chassis may have a raised ride height, but the suspension is firm enough for the EcoSport not to wallow when the road gets twisty. Grip is ultimately limited by the dual purpose tyres that must deal with rougher off-road conditions as well, where the extra ground clearance come further into play. Even though power is only to the front wheels, the significant low-end grunt means the Ford can crawl through or over rougher obstacles.

Helped by its compact shape, but sizeable interior, the 2019 Ford EcoSport is economical, comfortable, and able to slip into and out of traffic and the other realities of city life like parking. For longer journeys it wants for little, carrying plenty of cargo, human or otherwise to whatever destination is set, including the occasional light off-road excursion.


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