Ford has announced a substantially restyled and re-engineered EcoSport – with new diesel engine and optional four wheel drive – now built for Europe in Craiova, Romania, instead of India, where it effectively replaces the B-Max MPV which the automaker has now dropped from its range.
The revamped second generation EcoSport was unveiled earlier this year in Brazil where the model was originally developed. First generation versions (from 2003) were sold mainly in South America and never offered in Europe.
The updated line will include a new EcoSport ST-Line variant while available driver assistance technology includies SYNC 3 connectivity, cruise contro with adjustable speed limiter and a rear view camera.
The change of manufacturing plant brings 12 new colours and more personalisation options – including contrasting painted roof colour options that extend to the window pillars, upper door frames, rear roof spoiler and door mirrors.
The completely revamped interior (the current model’s is based on the previous generation Fiesta) includes a new ‘floating’ central eight-inch touchscreen, heated steering wheel and stowage areas including an adjustable boot floor.
“Ford has sold 150,000 EcoSport compact SUVs in Europe since we first introduced the model to the region in 2014 and, last year, sales grew 40%,” said Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president, Europe Middle East and Africa, at Ford.
Build at Craiova required a EUR200m spend. Ford will also introduce an “SUV-inspired” Active crossover variant of its newly launched redesigned Fiesta line in Europe next year.
The automaker said the SUV segment is the fastest growing in Europe. Registrations grew 21% year on year to account for 25% of all new passenger car registrations in 2016. Ford’s SUV sales – the range also includes the US built Edge and German made Kuga – in Europe grew by 30%.
New engine and 4WD
Intelligent All Wheel Drive will be offered in combination with the new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox, delivering 125PS and 300Nm of torque, with claimed 4.5 l/100km fuel efficiency and 119g/km CO2 emissions.
The AWD system measures how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface and can adjust torque delivery up to 50/50 between the front and rear wheels in under 20 milliseconds. The system transitions torque between all four wheels.
The new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine has low pressure exhaust gas recirculation combined with water air charge cooling for more efficient combustion and reduced emissions; an integrated intake manifold for optimised engine breathing; low inertia turbocharging for faster, more controllable turbo response, featuring rocket engine materials designed for high temperature applications; and a high-pressure fuel injection system that is more responsive, quieter, and offers more precise fuel delivery.
Ford will add a 2WD 1.5-litre EcoBlue variant with a new, low friction six speed manual gearbox in mid-2018. It will also offer its 100PS 1.5 litre TDCi diesel with front wheel drive and six speeds from launch.
The engine line largely parallels that of the new Fiesta so the one litre EcoBoost petrol I3 is available in 140PS, 125PS and – from mid-2018 – 100PS tune with six-speed manual gearbox while the 125PS will also come with a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox with steering column mounted paddle shifters.
Ford said ride and handling have bee tuned specifically for Europe with optimised springs, dampers, spring aids, steering gear, rear axle twist beam, Electronic Stability Programme settings and steering assistance profiles.
The new EcoSport ST-Line trim level will include “unique Ford Performance inspired” bumpers and side skirts, black finish roof rails and headlight bezels, 17-inch Dark Tarnish alloy wheels, ST-Line badging and extended painted roof and door mirrors as standard. The interior had a unique leather trimmed, flat bottomed steering wheel; unique partial leather seats featuring Miko-Dinamica inserts (an ecological suede made from recycled polyester) and red stitching; leather handbrake lever and gear knob; ST-Line branded scuff plates; and stainless steel sports pedals.
European EcoSports include SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SYNC 3 is supported by EcoSport’s floating, 8-inch colour touchscreen, which can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures. Also offered with SYNC 3 is a floating 6.5-inch colour touchscreen. A 4.2-inch colour screen is offered in combination with Bluetooth connectivity and two USB inputs.
A B&O PLAY sound system with 10 speakers, including boot-mounted subwoofer will be an option.
The line now offers Cruise Control with Adjustable Speed Limiter and a Rear View Camera.
Automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers are available as is a heated steering wheel and Electronic Automatic Temperature Control.
Blind Spot Information System is optional and Roll Stability Control that adjusts engine torque and braking is standard.
Improved occupant protection now includes driver and passenger front airbags; a driver knee airbag; new side airbags that provide extra thorax protection and are designed to direct the occupant away from an impact; and new curtain airbags that provide maximum side-impact coverage. A perimeter alarm is also now standard.
“We’ve enhanced the quality, technology and versatility of the new EcoSport to deliver more of the confidence and control that compact SUV customers want,” said Gary Boes, global B-car vehicle line director, Ford.
“Drivers will feel more comfortable and self-assured than ever at the wheel.”
Ford Brazil again led this EcoSport’s development and it was launched in China last month and goes on sale in India in October.
This time around, the US will also get the EcoSport, with sales also starting in the first quarter of 2018 of vehicles built in India.