Ford EcoSport - review

Ford EcoSport – Trend/Titanium : To Melaka and back

So out of-the-blue one busy day, I was asked if I would be interested to head to Melaka with a bunch of lifestyle journalists for a drive with Ford.

My immediate reaction was “Media drive? Those guys drive like madmen” to “Good lord, I don’t have time“, followed by “Melaka…gula melaka…kuih…food..Pak Putra.. ” and then of course, “Oh, what Ford car is it?“.
In that order.

Rebecca SAw - Ford Ecosport review - melaka

I was duly informed that it is the new Ford EcoSport, a SUV.
An image of a boxy vehicle came to mind, followed by another of me “reigning superior” over other vehicles on the road due to its higher seating position.

BELOW: No, this is NOT what I meant by higher seating postion, but yes, sitting on the spare wheel was just something I just had to do. 🙂
NOTE: The EcoSport has exterior-mount spare tire so there are space for the boot & rear seats.

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Being a fitness enthusiast the word “sport” resonate somewhat and since I can’t claim to have driven many SUVs in my life, I thought it would be a good experience.
The PR assured me that it is a lifestyle journo-centric drive and soothed my ego  apprehension after I whined about being left inhaling dust whenever I’m part of a media drive since I’m always the last vehicle throughout the event.
Don’t worry, a lot of women. They won’t drive so fast one.”

And so it was a YES, and I found myself trying to juggle my work even as the briefing went on for the EcoSport.

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I was very fortunate to be paired with Clarissa, an enthusiastic 17 year old journalist from (sorry, can’t remember which) a magazine.
She drives like a pro, swears just as well I do and boy, that girl can talk.

Entertainment sorted (by her chirpy voice), I took the first drive.

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Backing out of the carpark in Jaya One, I took time to sort out my seat and height of the wheel (I’m short petite and thus would automatically appreciate any vehicles that allows me to adjust my seat easily, which the Ford EcoSport does), figured out the controls (it is an auto and I drive a manual) and then, of course, the entertainment – specifically the audio system.

BELOW: Keyless entry and a start button.

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We learnt that there are an array of smart features; one of which is the Ford SYNC, the voice activated in-car connectivity system which allows drivers to keep their attention on the road while choosing their favourite music or making calls via voice commands.

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Syncing here also means the ability to pair your phone (Android and iOS) to the system and thus being able to play your Spotify playlist (as an example) and your downloaded podcasts.

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Other “make-my-life-easier” features includes:
1. Rain-sensing wipers (automatically starts when there’s rain)
2. Automatic headlamps
3. Power slide roof (yay!)

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For a non-automotive inclined person the Ford EcoSport was easy enough to manoeuvre.

I got a hang of it soon enough except for the hard-braking habit. It took a while for me to stop myself from braking too sudden and hard.
A slight step on the brakes was sufficient to stop the vehicle but somehow my braking was jerky.

The height of the vehicle was also something else that took me to “re-learn/re-estimate” the stopping distance from the vehicles in front of me.
Clarissa thought I’m too close most of the time, and could have hit the front vehicle.
Frankly I couldn’t really see the front of the EcoSport to estimate the space.

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Anyhow, thankfully I didn’t rear-end any vehicle for that 2 days so Ford Malaysia didn’t have to exercise their insurance policies.
And, as expected of a SUV, it does offer a high driving position.

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If you happened to be working around the Wisma OUA in KL, you could park your EcoSport in assurance that it is still operational after one of KL’s famous flash floods.
The EcoSport is reported to have an exceptional ability to wade through 550 milimetres of water. I reckon that if the water levels are any higher than that height you should be in a boat anyways.

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As with all vehicles nowadays, fuel economy is a desirable attribute and thus prominently highlighted in all reviews. Frankly we couldn’t tell, as we weren’t paying attention.
The press release said it delivers fuel efficiency of 15.4km/l and it is quite a supporter of Mother Earth as it only emits 154g/km of CO2.

We could however, attest to its aesthetics and functionality in the short drive we had.

I bought along my 27″ Barry Smith luggage and everyone laughed at me since it was only a 1 night trip.
Guess who had the last laugh when even the official photographer requested my bag for the boot shot? 🙂
In fact there is amplre space (without having to recline the back seat) for TWO big luggage bags!

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But if there’s a need, the cargo space at the back is versatile and can be reclined for greater comfort or folded down for additional cargo space, extending its capacity to about 705 litres.
By prudent estimate it should be able to fit in a washing machine.
The rear seats can be split 60:40 to transport long objects (handy for trips to IKEA I bet) while still carrying passengers at the back.

BELOW: Band members take note. Your sound system and gears could fit into an EcoSport! 🙂

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Or for the sports junkies. Golf clubs are not a problem for sure.

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The cabin is also impressively quiet at high speeds, as I could hear Clarissa’s cheerful chatter very clearly.
I was told too that the articulation index (wow, sounds so cool) – which measures how easily passengers can converse in the cabin – is the highest in its segment.

Again, we concur, because both of us were bitching away happily while pushing the EcoSport to 180-200km/hr on the highway. LOL.

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The EcoSport also has a high ground clearance of 200 milimetres which translates to being a better drive for bumpy roads.
I’m not one that slows down for bumps anyways, and quite gleefully drove over all the bumps we encounter along our drive.
Yup, pretty solid. *Thumbs up*

To take the stress out of driving, this SUV comes with a host of driver assist systems and safety features.
My way of not stressing myself out while driving is to be driven, just so I occupy myself on my phone during the entire journey.

But heck, if you have to drive, having a vehicle that comes with all sorts of “features” (short of self-driving itself) does make life a little easier.

1. Electric power-assisted steering wheel with EPAS system with Pull-Drift Compensation to tackle stress of parking in small spaces, manoeuvring in heavy traffic or making tight u-turns
2. Passenger comfort – air-con system that can cool the cabin from 65 Celsius (estimate temperature of the car that has been sitting in the sun) to a cool (literally) 30 Celsius in just 10 minutes.

3. Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Traction Control System (TCS) to help driver remain in control at all times; especially more so on slippery roads.
How it works: The EPS can detect when the EcoSport (or rather, the driver) is losing control and will automatically reduces engine power and selectively brakes individual wheels to stabilise the vehicle and keep it traveling on track.
Sounds good eh?
I’ll like to test this feature! 

4. Hill Launch Assist – helps to make a perfect hill start whether the EcoSport is uphill or downhill, by holding it stationary for uo to 3 seconds. This prevents the vehicle from rolling backward or forward while moving off a slope.
NOTE: This is one feature I love, especially on the Sprint – Bangsar stretch going to BSC, a route I take almost daily.
It’s perpetually jammed and my car tend to roll backwards a bit whenever I need to inch up/down that slope.

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Having spent a good 4-5 hours driving to and fro from Melaka, we hunted for the “20 intelligent spaces” within the EcoSport; a few of which are the:

1. Cooled glove box that can keep up tp 6 beverage cans cool (apparently there is an air con vent there that blows cool air directly into this compartment)
2. A sunnies holder in an overhead console
3. a drawer under the front passenger seat that fits a laptop (perfect place for the handbag, that extra pair of heels, maybe even the )
4. front door bins that can hold 1.5l bottles and 600l bottles
5. rear door bins that hold 600ml bottles

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There’s a lot more to the EcoSport but I won’t try to explain all of them here. These images below would explain the rest sufficiently enough.
All Ford dealers in Peninsular Malaysia should have a unit or 2 for test drive so I’ll say go for it if you would like interested to experience it yourself!

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So, what do u guys/girls think? Good yes? 🙂

There were 2 models for the test drive – Titanium (RM103,888 OTR with insurance) & the Trend (RM92,888 OTR with insurance).

Obviously the Titanium was nicer to drive.
Additional touches of lux include leather seats, smart keyless entry with Push Start Button, power slide sunroof, auto rain sensor wipers and electronic automatic temperature control.

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Much gratitude to Ford again for the opportunity and great hospitality. 🙂

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