REVIEW: Ford EcoSport Active is a stylish addition

Published Jan 2, 2023


Johannesburg – First introduced in 2013 and comprehensively updated in 2018, the Ford EcoSport has remained a popular choice in the compact SUV market throughout its life cycle in spite of increased competition in recent years.

But while it was one of the early pioneers in the segment, it seems that its time will soon come to an end, with reports that production at the Romanian plant where it’s built will cease at the end of 2022.

Ford hasn’t stated exactly what will replace it (the Puma has been mooted but could be more expensive), so if you’re looking for a relatively affordable Ford SUV, now might be the time to strike.

We recently spent some time with the most recent addition to the EcoSport line-up, the Active. Priced at R393 700, and sold in automatic guise only, the EcoSport 1.0T Active slots neatly between the 1.0T Trend auto (R375 300) and Titanium auto (R416 900).

Although the EcoSport has always been an SUV, the Active has an even more ‘SUV-like’ exterior design execution. You can tell it apart by its large black wheel arch mouldings, unique 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels, as well as black treatment for the roof, front grille, side skirts and mirror caps and “Active” badging on the fenders.

Dark-tinted privacy glass for the rear windows is also part of the deal when you buy an Active.

Four exterior colours are available, with the stand-out option being the Luxe Yellow that you see in the pictures, and the other options are Frozen White, Solar Silver and Magnetic Dark Grey.

The cabin is decked out in black leather upholstery, and you’ll also find “A” badging on the seats to denote its special edition status.

A Sync 2.5 eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers and built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is fitted as standard, and other amenities include a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, rear parking sensors and manual air conditioning.

Safety kit comes in the form of seven airbags, ESC stability control and Ford’s Collision Mitigation System, which can help warn the driver of an impending collision and apply additional braking force.

It’s a good thing that Ford redesigned the interior with the 2018 facelift as it still looks fairly modern and the perceived quality is decent, while the Sync infotainment system is easy to operate. Unfortunately there is no reverse camera, something that many motorists have become accustomed to having.

Another downside is that rear legroom is a bit on the cramped side. Boot space is on par with expectation, with 333 litres available through a side-hinged tailgate, and it’s a very deep boot, which could make it easier to load bulky items.

The EcoSport Active is powered by the familiar 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder turbopetrol engine, which produces 92kW and 170Nm. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. It’s not the smoothest gearbox and can get a little flustered if you floor the accelerator pedal, but in calmer driving instances it does its job with minimal fuss.

The EcoSport cruises rather effortlessly in everyday city and highway traffic. However, overtaking manoeuvres require the little engine to work rather hard and in such instances it can be a bit on the noisy side.

Consumption amounted to around 6.4 litres per 100km on the highway and around 10.0 l/100km in the urban confines.

The ride quality is impressive, however, and we love how composed it feels on twisty roads, despite the vehicle’s high centre of gravity, which results in some notable body roll. The Ford Fiesta chassis beneath it really does wonders for its on-road manners and the steering has a direct and communicative feel to it.


There is a lot more competition than there was when it was first introduced, so the Ford EcoSport is no longer the obvious choice, but by SUV standards it’s still quite rewarding to drive and the cabin is well appointed. Worth a test drive, but hurry if you want one…

FACTS: Ford EcoSport 1.0T Active auto

Price: R393 700

Engine: 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder, turbopetrol

Gearbox: 6-speed automatic

Drive: Front-wheel drive

Power: 92kW at 6 000rpm

Torque: 170Nm from 1 400rpm

0-100km/h: 12.7 seconds (claimed)

Top speed: 181km/h (claimed)

Fuel use, highway: 6.4 l/100km (tested)

Fuel use, urban: 10.0 l/100km (tested)

Ground clearance: 206mm

Fuel tank capacity: 52 litres

Boot volume: 333 litres

Warranty: 4-year/120 000km

Service plan: Optional

IOL Motoring

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