The Ford Fiesta-based crossover will replace the ageing EcoSport, and our exclusive image previews how it could look
Ford has been caught testing a very early version of its all-new Fiesta-based small SUV. This heavily-disguised test mule will evolve into a replacement for the firm’s EcoSport crossover, and our exclusive image previews how the car could look when it arrives at some point next year.
The as-yet-unamed SUV will join the Fiesta Active in the company’s compact crossover range and the manufacturer will hope the new model can rectify the shortcomings of the current EcoSport by offering extra interior and boot space, plus a more premium cabin.
• Best small SUVs and crossovers
Our spy photographs also show Ford’s new compact SUV will at last ditch the EcoSport’s side-opening bootlid in favour of a conventional top-hinged hatch.
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Image 4 of 14
We expect the new SUV to offer a taller ride height than the current Fiesta Active. It will take an evolutionary approach to design, with a recognisable nose and similar headlamps to the Fiesta, with built-in daytime running lights.
Black cladding will give the car a rugged look, while bulging wheelarches and roof rails bring it in line with rivals. The new model is all but certain to feature Ford’s latest range of 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost turbo petrol engines, along with the familiar 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel.
There’s a chance the maker may even offer the car with the naturally aspirated 1.1-litre petrol for the base models in an effort to lower the starting price. A choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearboxes will also be available.
It is possible four-wheel drive could also be offered as an option, borrowing tech from the EcoSport. This will mainly be to give superior all-weather traction, rather than genuine off-roading capability. We’d expect the 4WD transmission to only be offered in conjunction with Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox.
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Image 12 of 14
The EcoSport’s three-tier trim range is likely to be carried over, separated into Zetec, Titanium and ST-Line specs. Zetec models would be the core of the range, while Titanium and ST-Line would offer greater focus on luxury and sporting styling respectively, for similar prices.
There’s a good chance a plush Vignale version could be offered, too, given that the luxurious trim is said to have hit its internal targets on the current Fiesta.
This early glimpse of the SUV means we’re unlikely to see it in dealers until the first half of 2020 at the earliest. When it arrives, expect it to carry a price premium over the Fiesta Active, which currently starts from £18,845. A standard Zetec could cost from just under £20,000, with the Vignale at around £23,500.
Ford Fiesta SUV rivals
The Fiesta SUV will face a host of rivals when it arrives. Our exclusive images preview some of these models.
The car that started the baby SUV boom will be replaced before the end of 2019. The new Juke moves to Renault-Nissan’s CMF-B platform. It will retain its characterful but oddball looks, although the cabin will get a makeover.
Second generation of Renault’s crossover will sit on the same platform as the Juke. It’s likely to arrive before the end of this year, and should feature much-improved interior quality and space. Hybrid versions are expected.
Skoda ‘small SUV’
In theory, Skoda’s forthcoming baby SUV is a class above the Fiesta – but it’s likely to be a close rival on price. It’ll sit on the VW Group’s MQB A0 platform, creating a spiritual successor to the hit Yeti.
Vauxhall Mokka X
The big-selling Mokka X will be overhauled in 2020, but unlike these rivals, it will be offered as a full EV. That’s made possible by the fact it will sit on the same CMP platform as the next Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208.
Opinion: European flavour to boost new SUV
By Richard Ingram, Reviews and features editor
The all-new Fiesta SUV can’t come soon enough for Ford. For years the company has been hamstrung by the ageing EcoSport, which was originally designed for the South American market. It was poorly packaged and underwhelming to drive.
By taking a more conventional approach to styling, the brand will hope to replicate the success of rivals such as the Nissan Juke. Simple SUV design cues will give it a fresher appearance, while the raised ride height should ensure the car is easy to drive.
Ditching the EcoSport’s bulky side-hinged tailgate will boost practicality, too, while basing the new model on the latest Fiesta will herald a suite of frugal, up-to-date engine and trim options.
Hurry up, Ford! You’ve got a surefire hit on your hands.
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