SMALL cars have to make a big noise it would seem, hot of the heels of the introduction of an ear shattering Bose sound system in Nissan’s new Micra, Haman’s 670W B&O system can now be found in Ford’s latest EcoSport as well as the Fiesta.
The B&O PLAY sound system, we are told, offers an elevated audio experience; featuring 10 speakers, including boot-mounted subwoofer and a mid-range speaker in the centre of the dash, the system has been specifically calibrated for EcoSport, and is controlled by a Digital Signal Processing Amplifier that allows for precise equalisation and audio mixing, including a Surround Sound setting.
The system comes at a cost, of course, a £300 optional extra – £200 cheaper that the Micra’s Bose – and all part of strategy to attract business users into smaller models as well as maintaining the retail customer base. This also includes Ford’s sophisticated SYNC3 communications and entertainment system which compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
The latest version of the EcoSport is an important part of Ford’s push into the burgeoning SUV market which these days covers all segments from budget compact to high-end sports.
The brand’s UK SUV offering of EcoSport, Kuga and Edge will be joined by Fiesta Active and “another” model by the end of this year said Chris Rushton, small car product manager at Ford UK.
He added that he expects one in five Fords sold in the UK this year to be an SUV while the global market will grow to one in three by 2020.
EcoSport for the UK is now assembled at Ford’s Craiova plant in Romania which significantly cuts the supply line from the original plant in India.
Rushton said: “This will mean we are not restricted in terms of supply of vehicles and parts. While the updates have not been radical they involve 2,300 new parts and some key investment in the chassis which will add all-wheel drive in the middle of the year.”
Intelligent All Wheel Drive measures how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface and can adjust torque delivery up to 50/50 between the front and rear wheels in under 20 milliseconds. The system seamlessly transitions torque between all four wheels and provides a more secure footing on the road especially in slippery conditions.
The AWD model will be powered by Ford’s new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine is designed to deliver higher power for improved performance, alongside reduced CO2 emissions.
A 125 PS 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel model with front-wheel drive and all-new, low-friction six-speed manual gearbox will offer even lower CO2 and greater fuel efficiency from mid-2018. Ford’s 100 PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine combined with front-wheel drive and all-new six-speed manual gearbox is available from launch, offering 4.1 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 107g/km CO2 emissions.
Also available are 140 PS and 125 PS versions of Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine delivering 5.2 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 119 g/km CO2 emissions. From mid-2018, a 100 PS 1.0-litre EcoBoost model will be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 125PS 1.0-litre EcoBoost is also offered from launch with a six-speed automatic gearbox featuring steering-column mounted paddle-shifters for convenient gear-shifting, and delivering 5.8 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 134g/km CO2 emissions.
Most important, there has been a significant uplift in interior quality over the former India-built EcoSport, plastics have a more robust look and feel while Ford has done a pretty good job on suppressing road and engine noise.
Rushton expects to sell 20,000 EcoSports in the UK this year. There are three levels of trim starting with Zetec (25% of sales) at £17,495, Titanium (40%) at £19,495 and sportier ST at £20,295 which includes body styling kit, rear spoiler and tweaked suspension.