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Facelifted Ford EcoSport for late 2017 launch


Ford’s EcoSport crossover will soon receive a major model refresh that could include a new, more powerful and more economical engine, as well as enhanced connectivity and an exterior makeover.

The 2017 EcoSport, which is due to touch down in Australia from Ford’s Indian factory late this year, was revealed in Europe last night.

Ford is hoping the new model will lift the EcoSport’s declining Australian sales which are down 22.5 per cent to the end of August this year compared with the same period last year.

The Fiesta-based EcoSport was launched in Australia in November 2013 and competes against the likes of the Mitsubishi ASX, Subaru XV, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Holden Trax and the new model represents the first significant upgrade since then.

An exterior and interior design revamp is certain but Ford is yet to confirm details of any other changes for this market.

The refresh of the EcoSport's styling will harmonise it with others in the Ford family including the recently updated Escape mid-sized SUV and upcoming Edge large SUV. The latter is scheduled to replace the locally made Territory in Australia early in 2018.

External changes include a new-look trapezoidal grille, revamped headlights in a cluster that includes LED daytime running lights and deletion of the exposed rear-mounted spare wheel in favour of an internal unit.

There is also a revised rear bumper and re-designed tail-lights.

The new model will also feature the latest 8.0-inch touchscreen with Ford’s SYNC3 connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A digital display is also included in the instrument binnacle of the dash with the old Fiesta-based unit having been scrapped for an all-new arrangement.

The new model will also feature the latest 8.0-inch touchscreen with Ford’s SYNC3 connectivity. The new model will also feature the latest 8.0-inch touchscreen with Ford’s SYNC3 connectivity.

The European version boasts a rearview camera, automatic headlights and rain-sensitive wipers in some specifications.

Blind spot warning and new side airbags are the most significant safety enhancements.

The European-spec EcoSport is equipped with Ford’s new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine driving through an advanced all-wheel-drive system, however, the Australian version will probably stick with front-wheel drive and the existing pair of petrol engines.

It is possible that the Australian version will receive the much anticipated 'Dragon' 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that has replaced the venerable Duratech 82kW/140Nm 1.5-litre petrol engine in India.

If it gets the go ahead, it will likely be paired with a choice of a manual or automatic transmission.

The 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost, which would be the other petrol engine choice, is offered only with a five-speed manual gearbox at the moment. But an auto transmission is now available overseas for the 92kW/170Nm EcoBoost engine and could be added to the local line-up to widen its appeal.

A 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine is being offered as an alternative to the three-pot turbo engine in the United States where the EcoSport is going on sale for the first time this later year.

Ford currently sells about 100 units a month leaving it in 10th place behind segment leaders such as the Mitsubishi ASX and Mazda CX-3.

The 2.0-litre unit may also come to Australia, but whichever new engine is selected will almost certainly replace the Duratech is some versions.

Ford Europe has a new ST-Line EcoSport variant that adds a bodykit, black trim on items such as the roof, grille and mirrors, and 17-inch dark-finished alloy wheels, but this is far less likely for Australia.

Ford currently sells about 100 units a month leaving it in 10th place behind segment leaders such as the Mitsubishi ASX and Mazda CX-3 which so far have sold 12,259 and 11,931 units respectively this year.

The Ambiente, at $20,790 plus-on-road costs, leads sales in the current three-specification range, but you will find Ford dealers offering it at $19,990 driveaway.

The top-of-the-range 1.5-litre Titanium automatic list as $27,790 plus on-roads but can be had for $26,490 driveaway.

Refreshed styling, more equipment, improved safety and a better engine; has Ford done enough with the new model EcoSport to lift its sales? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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