Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is bolstering the Ford EcoSport’s leading position in the compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment with the addition of a six-speed automatic transmission for the popular and most affordable Ambiente petrol derivative. This is complemented by specification upgrades on the Trend and Titanium models that enhance driving safety and comfort.
“The compact SUV category grew substantially with the maiden launch of the EcoSport in South Africa in 2013, and the model has dominated this class ever since,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager Marketing at FMCSA. “The introduction of a six-speed automatic transmission for the EcoSport 1.5 Ambiente represents another trend-setting move for this successful model, which now also offers the best value for money automatic in the entry-level compact utility segment.
“Paired with the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox and the lively 91kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, the EcoSport Ambiente is a unique and compelling proposition that offers exceptional value for money,” Mashinini adds. “It is ideally suited to active individuals and families where the convenience of an automatic makes it perfect for busy city driving, while delivering comfortable and hassle-free open-road cruising.”
In addition to the new Ambiente model, the EcoSport Trend and Titanium derivatives benefitted from the inclusion of Ford’s Collision Mitigation System – a pre-collision assist feature that alerts the driver of a potential collision with the vehicle ahead, pre-charges the brakes and, if necessary, applies maximum braking pressure once the driver presses the brake pedal.
Cruise control with an adaptive speed limiter has now been added to the Trend models, while the Titanium gains front parking sensors to complement the rear sensors that are standard across the range. An underbody protection shield on Trend and Titanium models makes the EcoSport more robust for less-than-perfect roads in combination with its 206mm ground clearance.
“These attributes, combined with the EcoSport’s impressive list of safety, comfort and convenience features, plus a standard 4-year/60 000km service plan, ensure that the expanded range is more appealing and competitive than ever,” Mashinini states.
With the addition of the new model, a total of seven EcoSport derivatives are available, starting off with the 1.5 Ambiente in five-speed manual or the new six-speed automatic version. The charming three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine available in the Ambiente auto’ is renowned for its eager power delivery and sprightly performance, delivering 91kW and 151Nm of torque for impressive overall drivability and low fuel consumption. A 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel model is also available in Ambiente trim, producing 74kW and 205Nm, linked to a six-speed manual gearbox.
The multiple award-winning 1.0 EcoBoost engine, which produces 92kW and 170Nm, powers the Trend and Titanium models, which can be specified with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Another area where the EcoSport punches well above its weight is in the number of airbags fitted, as all Ambiente models feature no less than six airbags (dual front, side and curtain airbags), while the Trend and Titanium also incorporate a driver’s knee airbag.
Multimedia functionality remains a stand-out feature of the EcoSport, as the EcoSport Ambiente incorporates Ford’s SYNC® with Bluetooth and Voice Control, as well as two USB ports, six speakers and a 4.2-inch screen.
The Trend models boast a more sophisticated version of the SYNC® infotainment system with a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, while the Titanium’s SYNC®3 features an 8-inch display as well as embedded turn-by-turn navigation.
Active driving safety features across the board include ABS brakes, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control (TC), as well as Roll Stability Control (RSC) in the EcoBoost range, that adjusts engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control. The 1.0 EcoBoost-powered models are also equipped with Hill Launch Assist (HLA) that makes pulling off on steep inclines easier, along with Ford’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
All EcoSport models come standard with Ford Protect which includes a four-year/60 000km service plan, three-year unlimited distance roadside assistance and four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty. This is complemented by a five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000km.