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EcoSport Active gets the rugged treatment

Ford Ecosport for active lifestyles.
Ford Ecosport for active lifestyles.

We’ve all endured a strange year and more, where our lives were turned upside down and it could be a long time before we ever return to what we considered “normal”.

So it’s good to be active once again and being able to do most of the things we once took for granted, like going to the pub or venturing into the country and enjoying the wonderful outdoors. And Ford are helping us get up off our backsides with their range of Active variants.

The EcoSport has been given a rugged edge.

The mini-SUV the EcoSport is the latest to be given the rugged Active treatment, following on from the Fiesta and Focus, each of them aimed at helping, in Ford’s words “adventure-loving customers get the most from their active lifestyles”.

It’s largely a piece of clever marketing because the only real differences between this version and the standard model is some sturdy black plastic wheel arches and side skirts, although the slight increase in ride height from the raised tougher suspension does allow for greater ground clearance so off-road travel is less hazardous.

The chassis has been improved and there’s been other tweaking under the surface to make it feel a touch stronger.

An increase in ride height from the raised tougher suspension.

It looks good too, riding on exclusive 17-inch five-spoke alloys and can be identified by the black accents on the outside, blacked-out headlamp bezels, a contrasting black roof and rear privacy glass. That’s part of the £600 X-Pack option which adds a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system with 360 degree sound, electric folding door mirrors and keyless entry and start.

 

It shares most of its standard equipment with the EcoSport Titanium – so you get silver roof rails, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, rear parking sensors, a rear view camera, electric windows all round and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s pretty good throughout the inside. The faux leather seats are supportive and comfortable with special blue stitching and Active badging in the backrest, just in case you forget you’re driving something a wee bit different.

Spacious for a compact car.

In a world where the technology inside a car is becoming more and more complex I enjoyed the EcoSport’s package for its clarity and ease of operation. Everything is in the right place and simple to access without having to scroll through a vast menu just to lower the temperature on the climate control.

It’s also remarkably spacious for what seems like a pretty compact car. On one short trip I managed to squeeze in four bar stools and a large wooden storage chest – and there was still room to spare.

Engine option is a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol.

The test car came with more than £2,000 of extras including a winter pack of heated seats and steering wheel – and the standard Ford heated windscreen which is brilliant – along with high-intensity headlamps with auto high beam thanks to the £600 Driver Assistance Pack which also brings front parking sensors and a blind-spot monitoring system.

Completing the package there’s a choice five strong body colours, including Desert Island Blue, Luxe Yellow and Frozen White.

There’s just one engine option, a very capable turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol which produces only 123bhp and 170Nm of torque, but is quite adequate for most of the demands that will be put upon it.

Faux leather seats are supportive with  “Active” badging in the backrest.

I managed to clock up almost 900 miles in my time behind the wheel and it felt lively in a wide range of conditions and surfaces from long motorway runs to twisting uphill tracks. Overall I managed around 43mpg, which was just short of the claimed figure.

It’s been designed and engineered primarily for the European market and is built at Ford’s plant in Romania alongside the standard models and the impressive Puma crossover.

The EcoSport doesn’t just have to fight for its position in a crowded marketplace; it’s also got to compete against the other Active versions in the comprehensive Ford range, but Ford believe they have a winner on their hands – and with this spacious and lively EcoSport Active, they could be right.

The Facts

Model: Ford EcoSport Active

Price: £21,645

0-60mph: 10.6 seconds

Top speed: 111mph

Economy: 47mpg

CO2: 137 g/km

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