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Car Reviews | Ford / 10-26-18

2019 Ford EcoSport GDI Titanium AWD

The little big heart


By Kevin C. Limjoco Photo by by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

 

Theoretically,the little overachieving Ford EcoSport should be a universally successful commercial hit, and it is in many territories where it is sold even in the Philippines. However, even in our market it isn’t selling as much as it should be. It is slightly larger than the Fiesta and offers significantly better visibility and the hardware to handle more road abuse, even light flood wading. A couple of months before the local launch of the facelifted new model you see here, we got to test the North American version which had to go through even more equipment upgrades to even begin selling in their domestic markets where the model is mostly seen still with fresh eyes.

Last month we finally received the multi-award winning 123 bhp 1-liter turbocharged dohc 12V 3-cylinder powerplant that was first developed with the EcoSport when it was first launched as the 2ndgeneration model back in 2012. The biggest other development for our market and everywhere else isthe critical switch from the old, perennially compromised 6-speed dual-clutch transmission to a more conventional 6-speed automatic which yields not just outright reliability and better drivability but also better fuel economy and smoother power delivery.

For the US market though, they get a more potent naturally aspirated direct injection 166 bhp 2.0-liter engine with auto start-stop to power the intelligent AWD version of the diminutive crossover that also comes with a more comprehensive additional list of safety measures. The US-model also gets three more standard features that we don’t:afully-independent multi-link rear suspension instead of a torsion-beam setup; the old-school trunk-mounted and heavy rear spare-tire has been removed and replaced with a lighter and equally appropriate mini-tire kit that is stored cleanly in the trunk without decreasing trunk capacity; and the premium audio is a fabulous Bang & Olufsen (B&O) 675-watt 10-speaker (Harman) system that supports the updated SYNC3 infotainment through a new tablet-type control touchscreen. Good news for Philippine buyer though, our version of the Titanium variant comes with a strong 7-speaker audio system which sounds infinitely better than its predecessor. Together with the much better-looking face are new halogen projector headlights with LED signature lighting (the Philippines gets HID for our top-range model), new updated acoustic windshield and active front grille shutters.

All that extra goodness comes with a weight penalty to the tune of close to 300 pounds which mostly negates the power increases of the larger displacement engine. The updated cabin is much quieter with better materials, textures, and general insulation; it’s a very big improvement from last year’s model. The ride is much plusher than before thanks in most part to the new rear suspension however the powerplant feels labored as it carries all the tall mass. The standard Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus 205/50R17 93H tires do their contributing job fairly well, no issues there. The rear brakes now have 10.7-inch solid discs instead of drums (we get the same units for our market) which is a huge upgrade combined with the 11.8-inch front vented discs. So, when you do flog the little EcoSport to get up to your desired pace, you have the right set of brakes and tires to manage it.

The GDI engine was underwhelming. If I had my way, I would have the EcoSport packaged with the 1.0-liter engine, sans the AWD system, but retain the independent rear suspension. The GDI is not much quicker nor not much faster than the more modestly powered 3-cylinder engine. The new Ford EcoSport is a good small car that is very appealing to youthful buyers with an active lifestyle.

Specifications

Engine

EngineInline-4
Displacement1999 cc
Cylinder HeadDOHC 16V
Fuel InjectorDirect Injection, Ti-VCT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm)166 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)149 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission6-Speed AT

Performance

Top Speed189 km/h (118 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph9.9 seconds

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l)23 mpg City / 29 mpg City

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP)US$ 25,485.00
What's GreatBang & Olufsen audio, updated equipment, fully independent rear suspension with rear disc brakes, comfortable and versatile, lost the mounted rear spare wheel
What's Not SoHalogen headlights, might be still too small for some buyers, I expected better dynamic results
C! Editors Rating9/10