Ford EcoSport I, Ford’s mini SUV, was built in Romania to kick Dacia Duster in the nuts. Is it? The battle begins in Craiova, which will leave many euros won for them and almost satisfaction for you.

We’ve talked about Ford’s adventures in Europe before. So it was with the Ford EcoSport I, their first attempt at a crossover. First, it was experimental with the 1.0 EcoBoost that ate their days. Then they came up with the Ford Kuga which wasn’t as successful as Come Fly with Me. And then came the story of the Ford EcoSport I.


What story?

The Ford people came up with their “One Ford” and wanted to launch global cars that would be for the American, the Indian, the Russian, the Filipino, and the European. Basically, Ford is a kind of reverse Detroit.

That’s what happened with the Ford EcoSport I. The history of the Ecosport in Europe, which is actually the EcoSport II, starts in 2003 when the first EcoSport was launched in Brazil, which was based on our Ford Fusion platform (the American Ford Fusion is our Mondeo). And it was an instant hit in Brazil, the car was bought more than semi-autos and that prompted Ford to switch to Europe.

Except its initial production was in Chennai, India and that showed in microscopic sales in Europe. Basically, Ford wanted in 2014 when they brought the EcoSport to Europe to sell 100,000 units. And they only managed 11,000 units, because we Europeans are pickier about the quality of interior materials but also because the engines at the time couldn’t meet the pollution standards imposed by the EU.

So in 2016 the Ford EcoSport I is relaunched, with new technology and mainly because production has been moved from Chennai to Craiova, Romania. This makes the Ford EcoSport I the most direct competitor to the Dacia Duster. Except that an entry-level Duster costs 50% less and still comes with a 1.0 turbocharged engine, but only 100 horsepower unlike the EcoSport’s 125. It’s like comparing Vinnie Jones to Graham Norton. It’s like comparing Kevin Hart to Ricky Gervais. Doesn’t stand a chance.


Ford EcoSport I Engines


1.0 Turbo of 125 horsepower – The famous 1.0 EcoBoost brought over from the Ford Focus III does its job with dignity here, because we’re talking about a body that weighs about 2 grams. As for reliability, there are no remarkable issues because the wounds of the past have already been dealt with.



1.5 TDCi of 100 horsepower – I don’t understand why you’d put diesel on cars in this class, but it’s good to know you can have it. As for reliability, it looks like the direct successor to the 1.4 TDCi has said: “second time’s the charm” and shows no specific issues. In some rare cases, there are issues with the water pump and injectors.



Ford EcoSport I General Issues

  • The famous PowerShift automatic transmission remains relevant in 2020 as an example of “not good”. Issues are in the cold starts when it’s reluctant to shift into gears 1 and 2, more reluctant even than an irish person when it comes to paying.
  • You don’t get a spare wheel anymore, just a repair kit you can stick where the sun doesn’t shine.
  • The infotainment system goes by Gennaro Ivan Gattuso logic and says “Sometimes maybe good sometimes maybe sht”



Ford EcoSport I Verdict

A car that should take on the likes of the Dacia Duster, Suzuki Vitara, Renault Kadjar, or Mitsubishi ASX. Unfortunately, it costs more than all 4 put together and that puts the EcoSport in a more complicated situation than when the teacher catches you cheating in an exam. However, before we kick it, we have to admit that the EcoSport comes in Europe directly in Titanium trim (Salma Hayek trim), unlike the Duster where the seats are optional. As a car, it remains just another city crossover, but at least it’s one that looks good and is reliable.


What engines do you recommend? You’ll never guess. Still, being a city car I recommend the decent 125 horsepower 1.0 EcoBoost.