Ford has launched an updated version of its EcoSport, boasting a host of revisions with which it hopes to woo buyers in the compact SUV class.

For the first time, from mid-2018, drivers will be able to back up the EcoSport’s rugged off-road looks with four-wheel drive, via Ford’s Intelligent All Wheel Drive system allied to a new 1.5-litre, 123hp EcoBlue diesel engine.

Those looks have been given a refresh, with new options including extended contrasting roof colours, and there’s an upgraded interior offering a floating 8in touchscreen, heated steering wheel, and storage features such as an adjustable boot floor, which allows up to 334 litres of luggage space.

From launch, Ford is offering its 1.5-litre TDCI diesel engine, with 99hp, with front-wheel drive and a new six-speed manual gearbox, or a 1.0-litre petrol engine, in 138hp and 123hp versions, with the latter also offered from launch as a six-speed automatic. A 1.0-litre petrol with 99hp is also coming in mid-2018.

The new EcoSport features Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and offers a B&O PLAY sound system, with ten speakers.

On the move, the EcoSport now offers cruise control with adjustable speed limiter, and a rear-view parking camera.

For the first time, Ford is also offering the EcoSport in its performance-inspired ST-Line trim, which includes racier bumpers and side skirts, special 17-inch alloy wheels, and sporty interior fittings including partial leather seats.  

It all adds up to a package Ford hopes will tempt user choosers away from the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, with the SUV market continuing to boom, and more than 40,000 previous generation EcoSports having been shifted in the UK since 2013.

“We’ve enhanced the quality, technology and versatility of the new Ford EcoSport to deliver more of the confidence and control that compact SUV customers want,” said Gary Boes, Ford’s global B-car vehicle line director.

He added: “Drivers will feel more comfortable and self-assured than ever at the wheel.”

By Sean Keywood