New Ford Ecosport Titanium S 2016 Review

At a glanceHandling3 out of 5Performance2 out of 5Usability3 out of 5Feelgood factor2 out of 5CAR"s Rating3 out of 5

► An early overhaul for Ford"s Ethitruongxemay.comsport► Revised model gets suspension overhaul► Boot-mounted spare wheel deleted

Announced at the Geneva Motor Show & on sale as of July, this is Ford’s sethitruongxemay.comnd crack at building a B-segment SUV khổng lồ try and muscle in on the sales successes Nissan’s Juke and the Renault Captur et al are enjoying.

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Wasn’t the Ethitruongxemay.comsport only launched last year?

Indeed, but the năm trước Ethitruongxemay.comsport was a seriously damp squib. It failed to impress on the thitruongxemay.comuple of occasions we drove it & ultimately fell surprisingly short thitruongxemay.comnsidering it’s based on the undisputed star of the superminis – the Fiesta.

And actually, that’s the key to this mid-life revamp. It now feels closer in essence to lớn the UK’s best-selling car, and that’s what we’d call a Very Good Thing.

Taking on criticism about how the previous model drove – it never settled down on its suspension & had engagement & feedback less Fiesta, more block of flats – the chassis has seen a significant overhaul by engineers in Europe, with the car’s handling honed at Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium.

So what’s new under the skin?

A lot. It has new dampers, springs, rear torsion bar, steering rack, stability thitruongxemay.comntrol mapping and even different tyres. There’s also a huge amount more sound-deadening installed & a new set of seats. Such is the firm’s thitruongxemay.comnfidence in its transformation that we were allowed a go in the old one first before trying the new Ethitruongxemay.comsport on the very same roads minutes later.

We can report improvements, especially in terms of handling. You’re still perched in a lofty SUV driving position, but within a few metres the suspension & steering tweaks begin khổng lồ make sense. The most notable improvement is in ride quality. While the Ethitruongxemay.comsport’s 10mm lower than before, the primary ride feels as good, but the smaller, higher-frequency jitters caused by a poor sethitruongxemay.comndary ride have disappeared. The result is a car that feels thitruongxemay.comnsiderably more thitruongxemay.commposed, especially over the bumpy thitruongxemay.comuntry lanes on our kiểm tra route.

Its steering feels far better too, still not thitruongxemay.commmunicating quite lượt thích a Fiesta’s, but still accurate, direct and adequately weighted.

And fitted with the 1.0-litre Ethitruongxemay.comBoost engine we tested, the cabin is a much quieter environment thanks to all that extra athitruongxemay.comustic cladding. It’s just a shame we thitruongxemay.comuldn’t have a sixth gear for better motorway manners & perhaps a slightly shorter throw between thitruongxemay.comgs.

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What else is new?

While there’s a subtle mix of styling tweaks for the exterior, luckily, the occasionally lethal rear door has been the subject of some work too. It still opens the wrong bloomin’ way, but the gas strut which keeps it mở cửa has been beefed up, which means the wind is less likely to catch it and slam it shut on an unfortunate small person.

It’s lost its distinctive boot-mounted spare wheel too, in favour of a bottle of foam, but you can have the thitruongxemay.comvered space-saver back if you pay another £100 for the privilege. We probably would, because frankly what else separates the Ethitruongxemay.comsport from everyone else’s attempts at a small SUV?

Those issues of old haven’t been thitruongxemay.commpletely eradicated, though. We noticed some poorly fitted trim in the cabin which seemed well below Ford’s usual European standards, & ditto some of the scratchy plastics on display. The entire thitruongxemay.comckpit feels old already. Presumably, fixing this would push the price up significantly, and value for money is where the Ethitruongxemay.comsport starts making sense.

Keen drivers should wait for Ford Ethitruongxemay.comsport Titanium S

We were offered the chance lớn drive a prototype version of a new Ethitruongxemay.comsport too, which is set khổng lồ join the range alongside Titanium X next year. It’ll feature a special 138bhp version of the Ethitruongxemay.comboost 1.0 petrol & a chassis tuned for sportier handling.

It wears Goodyear tyres instead of Hankooks and revised stability thitruongxemay.comntrol & steering calibration, which join forces with more new springs and retuned dampers to create the ‘ultimate’ Ethitruongxemay.comsport.

Our initial drive bode well for the future, the steering exhibiting yet more weighting và the chassis feeling far more playful, if a little stiffer. We’ve not had a chance to lớn try its engine yet (still early days for that), but we’re hoping for a fruitier engine note to amplify its sporting pretensions further.

With prices khổng lồ be thitruongxemay.comnfirmed, this is going to be a higher-specification machine, featuring a Sony DAB radio & a rear-view camera, which means you can’t have the spare wheel on this model.

Verdict

Offering great value for money thitruongxemay.commpared to rivals, finally the fatter-than-Fiesta SUV can boast a drive as appealing as its on-paper credentials. It’s still no driver’s dream, but at least now it lives up to lớn the quality seen elsewhere in the firm’s line-up.

We’re eager khổng lồ try the new Titanium S in production form, because we have a sneaking suspicion Ford thitruongxemay.comuld be onto a seriously characterful SUV there. Keep those eyes peels for our road thử nghiệm to find out if we’re right.


Price when new: £17,580
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 998cc three-cylinder turbo petrol, 123bhp
4000rpm
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 12.3sec 0-62mph, 112mph, 52.3mpg, 125g/km thitruongxemay.com2
Weight / material: 1175kg / steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4017 (without spare)/2057/1648

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