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LA show: Ford uncovers US-spec EcoSport

Sport star: The heavily revised version of the Ford EcoSport gains a completely redesigned dash and includes a new 8.0-inch touchscreen

Facelifted Ford EcoSport SUV set to debut in Australia next year

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Ford logo15 Nov 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

FORD has ripped the covers off its updated EcoSport crossover ahead of its Los Angeles motor show debut, revealing a fresh design that brings it into line with its larger SUV stablemates.

The LA show debut marks the introduction of the EcoSport crossover to the massive United States market, with the Blue Oval not having a competitor for the Chevrolet Trax, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (ASX), Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V until now.

While it is the US-spec model on show, GoAuto understands that a version featuring essentially the same redesign and upgrades will hit Australian shores in the second half of next year to replace the current Indian-sourced model that has been on the market since late-2013.

Revealed on social media platform Snapchat – a first for a new model reveal, according to Ford – the revised EcoSport adopts a new front-end design that moves away from the Fiesta on which it is based and borrows cues from the larger Escape, which is also set to arrive in Australia in 2017 to replace the Kuga.

The new front end features the now familiar four-slat grille, more angled and modern headlights and prominent foglights incorporated into the new bumper.

One massive change for the US-market model is that the spare tyre that is housed on the tailgate on the Australian version is gone, with a cleaner look that still features a swing-gate-style tailgate.

It is not clear if this change will make the Australian update next year, but the EcoSport has received criticism for having the spare on the rear, as it is seen as decidedly old school and unflattering from a design perspective.

Ten exterior colours and seven interior ambient lighting options will be offered in the States, but it is unclear if the Australian-spec models will get similar choices.

Huge changes have been made in the cabin, with Ford ditching the clunky and confusing multi-button layout of the centre stack that has been regularly compared with a Nokia mobile phone from the 1990s, in favour of a much cleaner and more user-friendly design.

Ford has also included its Sync3 infotainment system as standard in the new EcoSport and it is connected to a new 8.0-inch touchscreen that sits atop the centre stack. Voice recognition and access to Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto is also included.

Stowage is a big focus for the updated crossover with up to 30 pockets, bins and hooks in the cabin, while the second row folds flat for a larger cargo area.

Ford will offer the EcoSport in the US with a choice of the 1.0-litre three-pot EcoBoost turbo-petrol unit or a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, both paired with a six-speed auto driving all four wheels.

Australian EcoBoosts are offered with either the turbo triple or an 82kW 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit and prices start at $20,790 plus on-road costs for the base Ambiente and top out at $27,790 for the Titanium.

A facelift for the European market EcoSport was revealed in March last year at the Geneva motor show, but this version was ruled out for Australia.

The EcoSport is a middling seller in the growing sub-$40,000 small-SUV segment, with 1530 units shifted to the end of October this year, a 26.3 per cent dip over the same period last year.

It is being comfortably beaten by the likes of the Nissan Juke (2013) and Suzuki Vitara (4844) and is thousands of units behind the segment leading Mazda CX-3 (15,493).

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