By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The new 2019 Ford sub-compact Ecosport slots in under the popular Escape SUV. It’s tiny, but still offers five doors. Style wise, the Ecosport offers neat, inoffensive cute looks, with its tall greenhouse and bigger ground clearance. There is a strong Ford DNA running through the EcoSport with its confident grille and front fascia treatment. A tall and wide cabin does offer versatility and it’s available with a choice of either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and with either a 1.0-litre or 2.0-litre engine. The 2019 Ford EcoSport is offered in four trim lines: S, SE, SES and the top loaded Titanium The larger engine comes standard with four-wheel drive The 2.0-litre GDI four-cylinder offers 166 hp, and 149 lbs.-ft. Transmission is via a six-speed automatic to either FWD or 4WD. The Ecosport range starts at $21,213 for the base model going up to $28,776 for the top version Titanium.  Features on the Diamond white SES 4WD model as tested ,included: 17 inch painted machined wheels, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, automatic climate control, sunroof, navigation, and Fordpass Connect 4G LTE Wifi Hotpot. Other options added was the Black Appearance Package ($450), Interior protection package, ($150), Exterior keypad ($200) and remote start ($520).

Ford’s current Sync 3 connectivity. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and there is the cool new Waze application which allows navigation software to show on the car’s display screen. Full Bluetooth and USB connectivity is also present. The larger touchscreen also offers excellent graphics and usability.

The driver’s seat is positioned high up for a good view of the road, while the rest of  the interior of the Ecosport is neat and attractive looking, you will find plenty of hard black plastic trim as too be expected at this price point, but it all looks of decent quality and is well-fitted. Storage is good, with a cool sleeve for viewing rear tablets on the back of the front passenger seat. There are also side receptacles for smartphones the front cloth and leather seats are well cushioned and comfortable,   the rear seats fold for extra versatility. It is little tight in the rear back there, but ample headroom and adequate legroom mitigate this. For such a diminutive vehicle, the rear cabin offers an impressive 592 litres of luggage space behind the rear seats and 1,416 litres when you fold them flat. The rear door is a swing door that opens rightwards toward the curb – handy for shorter person or those with limited upward arm mobility.

On the road, the Escape with the 2.0L engine offers a tad more lively acceleration than the smaller engine. But don’t expect sports car acceleration. The unit is smooth, refined and an excellent match for the 6-speed automatic transmission. The EcoSport is a pleasant city and urban vehicle with its short wheelbase and small footprint making it easy to maneuver and park around tight city streets. Downsides are few, the firm suspension makes it prone to some harshness and a rough rides on less than perfect roads. Handling is good with firm predictable reflexes. The four wheel drive offer some extra traction and will be a boon in winter. Safety is comprehensive with an airbags. An optional blind-spot and cross-traffic alert-warning system is available. The Ecosport is an enjoyable to drive and live every day. However if you need more space and greater rear accommodation, perhaps stepping up to the Ford Escape would be more suitable. Fuel economy for the 2.0-litre GDI unit is rated at L100/km10.2 city, 8.0 highway. In closing the Ecosport is an attractive option if you need all-wheel drive in one of the smallest crossover packages in the market. A fitting replacement for the Fiesta and a great start to Fords new line up of affordable, value for money family vehicle. Should do very well! Highly recommended.

2019 Ford Ecosport: Base price: $22,099. 2.0 SES 4WD Model price as tested $31,219 plus $1,790 destination and delivery charge.