Published on April 28th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Ford EcoSport Titanium: Utility In Style
The EcoSport is Ford’s way of reaching out to the young urban-dwelling crowd and asking it to spend more time outdoors in some place a little more exciting. Originally from Brazil, the first EcoSport, like this one, was built up from the Fiesta and repurposed for something with a more rugged character, though that model never made it to Malaysia.
This new EcoSport falls under Ford’s plan to bring as many of its offerings anywhere it sells cars. It still shares a lot of important parts with the Fiesta, but that just means important spare parts will be easily available. It does raise the question though – can the same drivetrain that powers the tiny Fiesta be enough to push this compact crossover?
The answer is yes, but don’t expect to get similar performance off the line. Because the EcoSport is taller and heavier, it’s a bit sluggish to get up to speed. The 1.5L Ti-VCT has a lot more room to breathe once you get up to speed and the 6-speed dual clutch automatic makes it an easy car to drive on highways. It does protest a bit when you push it beyond what’s expected and it certainly isn’t geared for as sporty a ride as its name suggests, but is very composed and comfortable. There is a manual gear selector on the gearknob itself, but it feels a bit strange to shift up and down with just a thumb, and leaving it on Sport mode does a good enough job of keeping gear changes aggressive.
Despite missing the mark on sportiness, it still is a really cool car to drive. At RM103,862, the EcoSport Titanium is not exceptionally expensive, but it’s still got a very premium feel to it. The leather seats and trim used throughout give it a very comfortable feel and the sunroof makes it a really cosy cabin to be in, especially when it starts to rain. Speaking of rain, the auto-wipers and headlights are very welcome additions that really elevate the driving experience. Not something you see often at this price point.
The aforementioned sunroof is heavily tinted and can be tilted slightly or opened up completely. That aids the digitally controlled A/C to remove heat. Realistically speaking, sunroofs in Malaysia won’t see extensive use, but it’s one of those things one wants to have just for the sake of having and misses the moment it’s taken away. With regards to infotainment, Ford Sync is still one of the most straightforward, user-friendly interfaces to work with and the media unit looks really tasteful in glossy black. The lack of a colour screen does mean you’ll still have to consult your phone for navigation.
Regarding its drivability, the high seating position is actually very comfortable. The short overhangs and exceptional ground clearance allowed it to confidently plough through very deep pools of stagnant rainwater and navigate some of the most poorly-maintained Malaysian roads. The EcoSport isn’t a full-fledged off-roader, obviously, but that works in its favour. It’s as narrow and easy to manoeuvre as the smaller Fiesta it’s built on, but has much better visibility and road presence. People actually move out of the way when you drive this thing because of how big it appears in rear view mirrors. And that’s the beauty of it – from the outside, the EcoSport looks bigger than it is, but it’s still easy to squeeze through alleyways.
There is a downside though. In terms of passenger space, there’s space here for 5 adults, but legroom isn’t as generous as one would hope at the rear. Expect B-segment roominess, but with more flexible storage options. I’m not kidding, this car is packed with storage compartments. Even after days of using it, there were still hidden places, like the drawer under the front seat, that only came to my attention after browsing the brochure. Ford really held nothing back in this regard. Even the glove compartment, for example, has a small vent to keep chilled drinks cool for longer.
Utility is where the EcoSport really shows the SUV part of its DNA. Besides the creative storage spaces, there’s also a whole slew of power outlets. There’s even one by the rear door which provides easy access for rear passengers to charge their phones or to power camping equipment from the outside. In addition, the boot has a few configurations that are painless to set up. Starting in its original position, you can remove the tonneau cover to increase room for stacking bags. And if it’s something a bit bigger that you’re hauling, like an appliance or a small piece of furniture, the rear seats can be safely folded forwards.
Some people may find the EcoSport’s looks to be a bit difficult to swallow, and that’s fair given how new crossovers are as a body style and it may take some getting used to. Personally, I think Ford pulled it off pretty well, and judging from the number of heads this car turned, I don’t think I’m alone. Or it could just be the very eye-catching Mars Red finish, which is exclusive to the Titanium trim. The external spare tire does free up a bit of room on the inside, but the boot door swings open really wide, so you might want to rethink reverse-parking before going shopping with the EcoSport.
All-in-all, the EcoSport proved to be a very fun and versatile vehicle – great to drive, easy on the eyes and packed with the usual Ford goodies, like the follow-me-home lighting feature and the free Extended Service Plan. So if you’re thinking of buying a pick-up truck, but don’t want to upset the missus with something Spartan, the EcoSport offers style and comfort with enough flexibility to be of practical use. If you’re not sure about how it rides, I’d recommend arranging for a test drive before making a decision.
Ford EcoSport Titanium Specifications
Engine Ti-VCT, 4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, DOHC
Transmission 6-Speed Dual Dry Clutch Automatic
Max Power 110PS @ 6300 RPM
Max Torque 142Nm @ 4400 RPM
Fuel Tank Capacity 52L