The review of the Ford Eco Sport Titanium kicked off in a way that left me rather conflicted. When I took delivery of the car – I was more than impressed with its overall aesthetics, even more so because it was a significant improvement from its predecessor despite being unmistakably an EcoSport. I jumped inside with anticipation of seeing the fresh look continue inside and I was not disappointed. I was greeted by the 8-inch touch screen display that comes with Fords latest Ford Sync 3 multimedia system that supports android auto and apple car play.
Eager to drive the car that’s carrying the award winning 1.0 Ecoboost (engine of the year award for 6 years running), I hit the start button and hit the road. Not long into what was a very comfortable and spirited drive I noticed that the fuel consumption was sitting on 10.6L/100km. This realization had me momentarily forget my positive initial impressions of the car. This was made worse by recalling that not so long ago we had a Honda Civic Type-R that never exceeded 9.7l/100km during the time we had it – and that is an engine tuned for hyper hatch territory. So, in trying to turn my conflicted state of mind to a positive one – I decided to see if I can get close to the manufacturer’s claim of 6.3l/100km.
So I rest all settings on the trip odometer, including my doubts on whether or not I can get to lower the consumption through some economical driving and set about to enjoy the EcoSport. And as it turned out there is plenty to enjoy in this Titanium trim. The interior is a very comfortable space to be in. It is feature packed with niceties like heated leather seats, navigation (a plus for this segment), auto-fold mirrors, 17-inch mags, automatic gear box, all round electric windows and Bluetooth to name but a few. The dash is covered in more soft touch materials than its predecessor. I liked how the 8-inch touch screen faces straight into the cabin and is not angled towards the ceiling of the car as this tends to create the mid-day glare that affects angled screens. I am, however, still not decided on whether the screen looks like an afterthought from a design point of view.
Ergonomically, everything is where it should be and nothing feels out of place. Space for the front and rear passengers was adequate if you have a young family, but it is worth noting that it still lags behind cars like the Hyundai Creta. Boot practicality is also a descent size and saw us EcoSporting through the parks carrying a 20-inch bicycle with just a seat dropped. As you would have noted on the images, like the previous EcoSport, the spare wheel is mounted on the boot – and this means there are a few things to note. This increases boot capacity – but it means the door of the boot swings open – sideways, and doesn’t go up. When parked facing down on an incline – the single shock-boot doesn’t cope well with the weight of the boot plus spare wheel. The boot will be heavy to pull towards you while carrying other luggage or baby with your other hand.
I liked how the Ford SYNC-3 system is intuitive and responsive. Things didn’t quite maintain the same pace when I switched over to testing the Android auto feature. The feature basically mirrors what is on your device onto the cars touch-screen. So you can control your phone using the touch screen in the car. It also had pre-configured quick response messages for when you’re driving for both text and WhatsApp messages. And whilst this was a functionally brilliant feature – it was very slow. I decided to try a newer phone than mine that had the latest android auto software and this did not improve things either. This was not bothersome as the SYNC-3 itself was very good to use.
What did improve was the fuel consumption as the days went on. By the time the car went back, the best average I could get was 7.3l/100km. To get to this level of consumption required a significantly more focused way of piloting the car conservatively. I had to keep an easy pull off when accelerating to return good fuel consumption. If however, you’re need a mood to be conservative – the car is a lot of fun to drive. Whilst low on torque, the power delivery when in boost – is more than adequate.
Overall, the Ford EcoSport Titanium is a serious contender in its segment and a car that has improved in many arrears relatively to its predecessor. As mentioned earlier, space is not good as something like a Hyundai Creta – But a Creta with this level of specification will see you add approx. R70k more than this Titanium trim, which is priced at R339,900 and comes with a 4 year/120 000km warranty, a 4 year/60 000km service plan at 15 000 service intervals.
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