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The “significantly enhanced” 2016 Ford EcoSport has launched in Europe, sporting an array of tweaks that should help it better compete with small SUV class leaders.

The re-jigged, Indian-made Fiesta-based Ford EcoSport crossover gets styling tweaks including the optional deletion of the old-school tailgate-mounted spare wheel in favour of a tyre repair kit. Additionally, the rear swing-gate design for those vehicles has been revised to allow easier access.

Humorously, Ford claims that “all models now feature a distinctive EcoSport badge on the rear, giving the compact SUV a more premium feel”. Must be a very nice badge…

High-end Titanium versions also get new leather seats, while all versions get a new steering wheel (the same one as on the updated Focus) and more chrome detailing. There is also a charcoal black lower instrument panel, centre console and door boards.

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EcoSport models equipped with Ford’s Sync voice-controlled connectivity system feature a 4.0‑inch colour display in the centre console. The handbrake lever positioning for all enhanced EcoSport models has been optimised to make it easier to reach and use.

Finally, both satellite-navigation and a rear-view camera are also being made available.

Noise, vibration and harshness levels have also apparently been reduced with thicker sound-deadening materials in the doors and dashboard, as well as via tighter seals around the pedals.

The EcoSport driving dynamics have also apparently been improved with revisions to the springs, dampers, rear torsion beam (still no fully independent setup, but it’s now stiffer), stability control and electronic power steering.

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“Significant” improvements to the EcoSport’s driving dynamics are delivered following development work at the Ford Lommel Proving Ground, where 80km of test tracks include exact replicas of real road surfaces across Europe.

Engine and gearbox matching has been revised to offer more low speed torque and better drivability. The 1.5-litre TDCi also now offers 70kW, a 4kW improvement, and delivers 4.4L/100km. The 92kW/170Nm 1.0-litre EcoBoost triple sold here is unchanged.

What is not yet known is whether this range of updates will come to Australia, where the EcoSport has struggled to have an impact on the sales charts compared to numerous rivals. Ford sold 769 units between January and May, enough for 2.5 per cent market share.

We have contacted Ford Australia for comment and are awaiting confirmation of if/when these updates will come here.




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