The MH Motoring Minute: Ford Ecosport

The predecessor was good – this is even better.

Arthur Jones |

Review: 5 day test

Engine: 1.0litre Trend Ecoboost 3 cylinder Turbopetrol Automatic

Power: 92kW, 170Nm

Price: R306 900

Let’s be real – most smaller SUVs aren’t terribly masculine. Yes, they can be practical, and yes, they sell in huge numbers here, but does that mean you should get one? The short answer – it depends. This market is now crowded, and you need to be VERY particular about what you want. The good news? The Ecosport has plenty of selling points.

Related: The MH Motoring Minute: VW Polo GTi

When it comes to looks, this new Ecosport is a helluva lot more attractive than previous models, and the new grille and headlamp design is a big part of that. This feeling of improvement spills over into the interior, too – the build quality and inside appearance is much better, more streamlined and with better materials – less hard plastic, and more soft touch – and the touchscreen and Sync3 system are big plusses (unfortunately not available in the entry-level spec). The chassis is also based on the Fiesta, which is a great little car with excellent dynamics – which is echoed in the Ecosport.

There are plenty of options in the range (5 models, starting from R267 500 and ending at R334 500), and you get plenty of car for what you’re paying. However, there are plenty of other well-priced options besides the Ecosport. For example, the Honda BRV offers more space and arguably more versatility, and the Mazda CX3 is also a very competent car, and arguably the best-looking of the bunch.

However, our favourite is an outlier, and offers more ruggedness and a better handling of farm roads and the rougher stuff: the new Renault Duster. Bottom line: if you’re looking for safety and practicality, the Ecosport should be your choice.

PROS: Seven airbags and high level of safety (including ESC); Agile and nimble; Excellent, award-winning little engine.

CONS: Not as spacious as some rivals; Auto transmission sluggish; Side-opening boot door can be a hassle to open in tight spaces.

WHAT WE LOVE: A safe, versatile, cheap little family car with plenty of promise, a great drive and feel, and a proven track record. The predecessor was good – this is even better.

RATING: 7/10

COMPETITORS: Renault Duster (from R249 900), Honda Br-V (From R253 700), Mazda CX3 (R299 400)

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