2015 Ford EcoSport S
First introduced in 2003, the EcoSport received a major overhaul for the 2013 model year, when Ford decided to turn the mini SUV into a global vehicle. One of the company’s best-selling models in markets such as Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, the EcoSport returned with fresh styling and a number of drivetrains for different demographics. It’s most important feature is by far the British-designed, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which returns outstanding fuel economy and enables the crossover to tow up to 700 kg (1,543 pounds).
Already in its third year on the European market, the EcoSport received a new family member at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Named the EcoSport S, the new trim level broadens the EcoSport’s presence in various European markets, where the mini SUV market is expanding at an incredibly fast rate. What makes the EcoSport S special, you ask? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ford EcoSport S.
2015 Ford EcoSport S
0-60 time:10 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:125 mph (Est.)
Helping the EcoSport stand out among its siblings is the Deep Impact Blue exterior color (also available on the Mondeo and Fiesta), the black roof without roof rails, black mirror caps and exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels, also finished in black. Customers will be able to add a sportier rear diffuser element and privacy glass by checking their respective boxes on the options list. Aside from these additions, the exterior of the Ford EcoSport remains unaltered.
The interior of the EcoSport S didn’t receive any special features. However, this new trim level benefits from the full list of enhancements Ford just rolled out for the EcoSport family.
New features include a color 4-inch display, a Charcoal Black lower instrument panel, center console and door boards, and partial leather seats, which come standard with the range-topping Titanium models. The instrument cluster now feature chrome surround rings, while the window-lifting switches have chrome tabs. The parking brake lever was relocated closer to the drivers’ seat to improve access. A new Winter Pack includes heated windscreen and seats, as well as rear seat ducting at floor level for improved comfort in cold conditions.
The EcoSport’s interior is now quieter too, as NVH levels have been reduced by means of an enhanced sound package with thicker materials and insulation.
Ford makes no mention as to which of the existing drivetrains motivate the EcoSport S, but it’s safe to assume the new trim level can be equipped with any of three available engines. European customers can choose between two gasoline powerplants. There’s the 1.5-liter Duratec with 110 horsepower and the 1.0-liter EcoBoost with 123, both mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The third option is a 1.5-liter turbodiesel that cranks out 94 horses for 2015, which is an increase of five over the previous model. The diesel is also connected to a five-speed manual.
The slightly more-powerful diesel isn’t the only update the EcoSport received in this department. The gearbox has been revised for reduced torque truncation in lower gears, which provides more available torque for both the 1.0-liter EcoBoost and the 1.5-liter TDCi units. Ford also made revisions to the springs, dampers, spring aids, steering gear, rear axle twist beam, Electronic Stability settings, and steering assistance system. As a result, the EcoSport should provide drivers with a more dynamic experience.
There’s no pricing information to go by as of March 2015, but if I were to take a guess, I’d say the EcoSport S will slot between the Zetec and Titanium models in the UK. That said, pricing should start from around £15,000 (about $22,850 as of 03/05/2015). The base EcoSport retails from £14,245 (around $21,700).
New for 2015, the 500X represents Fiat’s first venture into the mini SUV market. The Italian hauler shares both underpinnings and engines with the Jeep Renegade, with only the body work and the interior separating the two. Naturally, the 500X borrows most of its styling features from the iconic hatch and blends them with a wagon-like rear with a raked tailgate, slightly different headlamps, and plastic cladding all around.
The interior of the 500X is also new when compared to the regular 500s, although it shares a few bits with both the 500L and the Jeep Renegade. The dashboard features either a 5- or 6.5-inch Uconnect infotainment system with both Bluetooth and USB connectivity, operated by steering-wheel controls and voice command.
The crossover can be equipped with no fewer than seven drivetrains in Europe, with outputs ranging from 110 to 184 horsepower for gasoline units and from 95 to 140 for diesels. Transmissions include five-speed manual, six-speed manual, and six-speed automatic units on FWD models, and a brand-new nine-speed automatic on the AWD SUVs.
Naturally, the Ford EcoSport S will also compete against the Jeep Renegade in Europe. Although it shares the same platform with the 500X, the Renegade features an exterior design of its own, having a more rugged appearance that’s in line with Jeep’s design language.
The Euro-spec Renegade is available with most of the 500X’s mills, meaning customers can look forward to a wide array of gasoline and diesel four-bangers with as many as 184 and 140 ponies, respectively. Arguably the most off-road-capable crossover of the pack, the Renegade can be equipped with a range of features that can improve its abilities in the wild. The Renegade retails from £16,995, which converts to $25,900 as of 03/05/2015, in the UK.
Unlike the vast majority of Euro-spec Ford vehicles, the EcoSport is only available in two trim levels in most markets. This is probably why the Blue Oval created the S model, and also to answer a growing demand for sportier crossovers. Unfortunately, as is the case with most mini SUVs, the EcoSport S is sportier only by design. That’s not to say Ford should offer a more powerful EcoBoost engine exclusive to this trim, but it would be a good idea to confine it to the 123-horsepower engine and maybe throw in a stiffer, lowered suspension.