Ford EcoSport Compact Crossover: Forbidden Fruit First Drive Page 3

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Ford EcoSport subcompact crossover first drive review

Ford EcoSport subcompact crossover first drive review

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Other observations

Thankfully, it isn't all bad news for the EcoSport.

Like all Fords these days, ride and handling is very good indeed--there's good weight and feel to the steering, decent grip for a relatively tall vehicle and a composed ride--though smooth Spanish roads rarely throw up too many ride issues.

It's also a comfortable cruiser, not always the case in small cars. Wind noise is relatively low--though the windshield wipers did whistle at speed, another trait you rarely find in cars developed in Europe or the U.S. these days.

The seats are well-shaped (if a little lacking in support when cornering), the gearbox and clutch light and slick, the brakes responsive and while the cabin does feel a little nasty, there's a lot of space--the extra height over the Fiesta has allowed for plenty of occupant and luggage space.

But overall, the EcoSport feels like a compromised product.

The chunky body makes one of Ford's best engines--the three-cylinder Ecoboost--feel undernourished and uneconomical, and the diesel is well off the pace. The interior lags behind that of the Fiesta and ultimately it isn't as good to drive either.

In Europe, pricing will be a little more than that of the Nissan Juke, and similar to its Renault and Peugeot equivalents.

It's certain to sell at that price, and to Ford's credit it'll cost little more than the equivalent Fiesta. But customers who have sampled its rivals may be a little underwhelmed--and put off by anachronisms like the side-hinged tailgate and externally-mounted spare.

Will Ford offer it in North America? It doesn't look likely for the time being--and the car's low performance and so-so economy certainly wouldn't endear it to American drivers.

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