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Mighty Joe Black, we take the Ford EcoSport Black for a ride.

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By: Charles Molefe

The EcoSport is Ford’s smallest SUV, it aims to compete with the likes of the VW T-Cross, Hyundai Venue and the KIA Sonet, this success has been on our shores for 10 years, over that period the little Ford has managed to gain a commanding share of the market and has enabled Ford to introduce a plethora of iterations to the line-up. The latest EcoSport is codenamed Black, mainly due to the aesthetic upgrades that have a dominating black hue which I’ll dive into that a bit later.

Aesthetics and utility.

The EcoSport Black uses a bit of tech that is found in the slightly lower spec products they have on offer, however, Bluetooth, wireless telephony, and a powerful system stand as highlights of the interior. Once again, Ford has sparred no change in supplying a sound system that is a showstopper, it does very well in reproducing authentic sounds that easily soothe the eardrums whilst leaving the competitors in its wake.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay were not available in the test mule, it’s strange that Ford has not supplied such “luxuries”, nonetheless, the competition does manage to squeeze in those features, namely the KIA Sonet and I believe that the EcoSport Black deserves to have those features. 

The EcoSport has received a heavy dose of aesthetic upgrades, the front grille, roof, roof rails the attractive 16-inch alloy wheels, spare wheel cover and mirror caps are all blacked out, hence the name. It does help in grabbing the attention of fellow commuters and garnishing up a sense of exclusivity. 

The EcoSport does very well in how it uses its space, I managed to carry a significant amount of luggage and amenities during a short trip in Gauteng. You can seat 4 in relative comfort and manage to add an extra passenger in the rear.

Performance

Ford has employed a trusty 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine that produces 91kW and 151Nm, those figures may not be exciting at all, and in all honesty, they aren’t. The 6-speed automatic transmission is where the potentially great all-rounder fails to impress, and this is why. As soon as you introduce the EcoSport to a slight incline the gearbox rages in confusion and transposes the engine into a typical 3-cylinder tune as it roars to life but ends up suffering from what seems like a lack of power. This is not a great recipe for a fuel-efficient car at all, and I fear that it won’t deliver a sense of comfort on long-distance cruises, the engine is noisy and at times feels as though a different powerplant should have been employed.

0-100 km/h is claimed to be achieved in a sluggish 13.25 seconds and edge on to a top speed of 168km/h, this performance is fair, considering the price of petrol these days. On the economic front, Ford claims a consumption figure of 6.9l/100 km which is obviously within a controlled environment. During my test tenure, I managed to obtain a figure of a smidge over 7.8l/100 km.

Summary

Not all is bad with the EcoSport, it is a product that you should perhaps consider, however, the competition has lodged a strong assault in this segment, and they will continue to steal the share of the spoils in greater numbers if Ford does not offer higher value for money.

I think that Ford has missed the brief with this incarnation, the EcoSport allegedly accounts for 38% of the market share and I strongly believe Ford could have taken advantage of this position and added a couple of more exciting features and high-quality materials, this would have helped cement the products prowess and asserted its position as a segment favourite. 

Would I spend my hard-earned money on the EcoSport Black? It would be a difficult decision to make, however, the EcoSport does play a vital role in providing consumers with the opportunity to experience a raised ride height, hill descent control and ability to transport a plethora of items in the sizeable boot. So, for families who are looking for a new compact SUV, it would be very difficult not to consider the EcoSport Black.

Gottagged Rating

6.9 / 10

Pricing

R337,400

Features

  • Climate control automatic air conditioning
  • Traction control
  • Driver airbag
  • Front passenger airbag
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings
  • Onboard computer multi-information display

Park distance control PDC

Warranties and Maintenance

  • Four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty.
  • Three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance.
  • Five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty.
  • Four-year/60 000km service plan is included. 
  • 15 000km service intervals.

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