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2014 Ford EcoSport Quick Review In Thailand: Fun-sized SUV

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2014 Ford EcoSport Quick Review In Thailand: Fun-sized SUV

Ford Malaysia is expected to introduce the 1.5-litre 2014 Ford EcoSport crossover within the first half of this year. Prices are yet to be announced, but it is expected to be around RM100,000.

Note that the following content is based on a Thailand market specifications model.

Buyer's Guide - What is it?

Engine: 1.5-litre Ti-VCT

Transmission: 6-speed dry type dual-clutch PowerShift (front wheel drive)

Power: 110 PS at 6,300 rpm

Torque: 142 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm

Safety: Seven-airbags, ESP, ABS, Hill Launch Assist (expected specifications for Malaysian market)

The EcoSport (not to be confused with EcoBoost, which is the name of an engine) is created to meet demands from customers who want a small, fuel-efficient car but at the same time are not willing to give up the convenience and confidence of driving a larger SUV.

It shares the same underpinnings, powertrain and interior parts with the Fiesta.


From the outside, the EcoSport looks like a bona-fide SUV. Never mind that it is only a front-wheel drive car (AWD model only available in Brazil). Initially, I had some concerns of the tailgate-mounted spare wheel obstructing rear-view vision but fortunately this was not the case.

Although the EcoSport is based on the B-segment Fiesta, its exterior dimensions are actually closer to a C-segment Ford Focus, so it is not that small. It measures 4,241 mm long, 1,765 mm wide and 1,658 mm tall. In other words, compared to the Fiesta the EcoSport is 259 mm longer, 43 mm wider and 169 mm taller.

Of course, much of this increase in length is also contributed by the spare wheel. Its 2,521 mm wheelbase is 32 mm longer than the Fiesta, so legroom is marginally better than a Fiesta. The taller roofline also gives it a more airy ambience.

One design highlight is the tailgate release button and grab handle, which is nicely hidden within the right-rear tail light cluster.


Ford's are not known for their interior packaging, but the EcoSport is surprisingly spacious inside. Not class-leading spacious, but it is one of Ford's better packaged interior.

The rear seats are 60:40 split-folding types and can be tumbled forward, they don't fold flat with the boot floor. It's a little disappointing, but unless you carry ladders on a regular basis, it is not a deal breaker.

On the upside, the EcoSport's cabin has many thoughtful features. The front door bin is surprisingly deep and is able to hold a 600-militre bottle as well as a 1.5-litre bottle!

The glove box also has a vent that directs cool air from the air-conditioning to keep snacks or beverages cool.

There's also a retractable tray below the front passenger seats that is big enough to hold a laptop computer, useful for keeping valuables away from prying eyes.

There are two 12V power outlets to charge your mobile devices - one each in front and behind. The rear power outlet is located near the right-side door, within a small recess.

Cargo hauling capacity is 362-litres with the seats up, but increases to 705 litres with the rear seats folded down.

Look up the roof and you will notice the grip handles are missing. Ford explains that packaging limitations within a sub-compact car means that there is not enough space to accommodate curtain airbags and a sunroof.

Like the pre-facelift Fiesta, the EcoSport's infotainment control panel and front-side air-conditioning vents are highlighted by rather reflective silver colour plastic. While it looks good in the showroom, I found the materials be very reflective when driving under the hot afternoon sun.

The front-side air-conditioning vents were also reflecting off the side mirrors.

Curiously, the facelifted Fiesta has already ditched these bright reflective plastics in favour of darker coloured trimmings.

The infotainment's controls are similar to the Fiesta, which is not a good thing. The controls are difficult to reach, with far too many buttons than necessary. On the upside, the voice-command feature and steering wheel buttons compensated for the cluttered user interface.


Although the EcoSport shares the same 1.5-litre Ti-VCT engine as the Fiesta, its engine has been re-tuned for more torque. Producing 110 PS at 6,300 rpm and 142 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm, that's 2 PS less than the Fiesta but 2 Nm more torque.

Paired to a six-speed dry-type dual-clutch PowerShift transmission, the EcoSport returns a claimed fuel economy of 15.4 km/litre. Based on my nearly 50 km drive along twisty country-side roads at reasonable speeds with two adults on-board, I managed to squeeze out 14.3 km/litre.

Driving performance is what you would expect from a 1.5-litre engine. Acceleration is brisk enough for overtaking but it won't impress the boy racers.

A more powerful 1.0-litre turbocharged 125 PS EcoBoost engine powered variant will be introduced later this year, but don't expect that to come cheap. EcoBoost is a highly sophisticated engine so expect to pay premium prices for it.

Ride and Handling

Being a Ford, its handling doesn't disappoint. Despite its raised ride height (200 mm ground clearance), the EcoSport still retains a good level of nimbleness. The steering remains taut and communicative, just like the Fiesta.

On the downside, the ride is noticeably harsher than the Fiesta, possibly because the taller ride height necessitated a stiffer suspension.

Going over small speed bumps and gaps along the road, the cabin judders and shakes quite a bit.

On our 205/60 R16 Goodyear Assurance Max-equipped test car, the cabin remains quiet even at speeds in excess of 130 km/h.

Its 550 mm water wading capacity should be sufficient to battle most flash floods, but as usual, please exercise extreme caution when crossing flooded areas.

Verdict: Should you consider one?

If you appreciate cars with a high seating position but don't want to drive around in a big, fuel-guzzling SUV, and love a good handling car, then the EcoSport is a good candidate.

Like all Fords, it comes with crucial electronic stability control safety feature or ESP as Ford calls it. So it is a recommended model.

We expect the Thailand-made EcoSport to make its local debut sometime within the first half of this year. Ford Malaysia has yet to announce the price but we expect it to be in the region of around RM100,000.

Other models in its class are the RM119,888 2014 Peugeot 2008 and the RM114,743 (without insurance) 2014 Mitsubishi ASX. The upcoming 2014 Honda Vezel is the one to watch out for if you are particular about interior space, which is a forte of Honda. 

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