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The slow-selling Ford EcoSport small crossover SUV has finally received a much-need mid-life update to make it more competitive against the Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona and co.

The MY18 upgrade brings revised drivetrains, a drastically made-over cabin, more equipment and new styling headlined by a more upmarket grille design. However, that polarising spare wheel on the tailgate remains – a nod to the car’s Indian ‘heritage’ (it’s made there).

That button-heavy instrument cluster made to resemble a Nokia phone is gone, replaced by touchscreens – 6.5-inch on the base Ambiente and 8.0-inch on the Trend/Titanium. Both have SYNC 3 Emergency 000 Assistance, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a rear camera display.

Ford has also upped the quality – much needed – and added some more soft plastics for the tactile-minded. There are also new seats, two relocated USB ports, more cabin storage, easy-flip/folding back seats and a new multi-height boot floor

The exterior design upgrade resembles that of the bigger Escape, which is also battling on the sales charts despite being quite good. There’s that new nose, revised rear bumper and tail light looks, and some new colours. Ground clearance is a large (for the class) 209mm.

There’s a new base engine: a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated unit with 90kW/150Nm (up 8kW/10Nm over the old Ambiente) mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox with torque converter. The Trend/Titanium get the familiar 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit, making 92kW/170Nm and matched now with a 6AT rather than a manual.

Ford isn’t announcing pricing until December 14, though the current pricing (RRP) ranges between $20,790 and $27,790 before on-roads. Despite the sharp pricing, its market share this year is a meagre 1.3 per cent, matching the Nissan Juke, but miles behind the CX-3 (17.1%).

Ford EcoSport Ambiente

  • 1.5 engine 90kW/150Nm
  • Six-speed auto
  • 6.9L/100km (combined)
  • 16-inch steel wheels with covers
  • Full-size spare wheel with cover
  • Cloth seats
  • ISOFIX
  • 2 x 12V and USB portd
  • SYNC 3 connectivity system
  • 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen
  • Instrumentation cluster with 4.2-inch screen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • DAB+
  • Seven airbags
  • Cruise control with Adjustable Speed Limiting Device
  • Rear view camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Ford MyKey

Ford EcoSport Trend extras

  • 1.0 engine 92kW/170Nm
  • 6.7L/100km (combined)
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Black finish roof rails
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Rear armrest with twin cupholders
  • SYNC 3 with 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen
  • Satellite-navigation system with Traffic Message Channel
  • Seven speaker audio

Ford EcoSport Titanium extras

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Chrome finish grille
  • High Intensity Discharge (HID) auto headlights
  • Power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps
  • Front and rear bumper inserts
  • Silver finish roof rails
  • Power sunroof
  • Leather accented seat trim
  • Keyless entry with push-button start
  • Climate control
  • Electrochromatic rear-view mirror
  • Centre console with sliding armrest
  • Front parking sensors
  • Blind Spot Information System
  • Rear Cross Traffic
  • Auto headlamps on/off
  • Rain-sensing wipers

Click through to our gallery for more images of the 2018 EcoSport.

MORE: EcoSport news, reviews, comparisons and videos
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