MOTORS: Ford EcoSport

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The Ford EcoSport uses tried and tested Fiesta mechanicals to offer UK buyers a front-wheel drive car with added ride height and chunky good looks.

The Ford EcoSport uses tried and tested Fiesta mechanicals to offer UK buyers a front-wheel drive car with added ride height and chunky good looks.

It sounds like a simple recipe but sometimes simple works just fine.

The EcoSport is offered with Ford’s innovative 125 PS 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, claimant of the 2012 International Engine of the Year award. Plus there’s a 110 PS 1.5-litre petrol unit.

For those that prefer to go diesel, there’s a 90 PS 1.5-litre diesel powerplant.

It also offers a comprehensive package of driver assistance technologies, including Electronic Stability Programme and Hill Launch Assist.

The chunky looks and high ground clearance suggest a small 4x4 but wriggle under the EcoSport and you’ll find a singular lack of rear driveshafts.

It is, in effect, a Fiesta on stilts but many drivers find the raised driving position more desirable than the requirement for any actual all-wheel drive capability.

Once you’ve got over quite how bluff-fronted the EcoSport is, it’s actually quite an accomplished piece of design work.

The almost Aston Martin-style front grille that debuted on the Fiesta makes its way over to the EcoSport and although the side profile looks a bit pinched, Ford have been very clever with the way they’ve managed to make a short, tall vehicle look so interesting.

The glasshouse is elegant, the headlights and wheel arch treatment is very deft and the stance of the car is better than it has any right to be.

The side-hinged tailgate opens to allow access to a load space that Ford reckons is big enough to swallow a 560-litre washing machine – once the 60/40 split rear seats are folded, that is.

Keep an eye on the Ford EcoSport.

This one’s going to be interesting, if nothing else.