The old adage goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Good thing then the Ford EcoSport is a car and not a canine.
Having been around for about a decade, there is no denying the Blue Oval’s little SUV is getting long in the tooth.
But being such a solid product, Ford has managed to keep it fresh over the years with some minor little updates here and there.
The latest party trick in all new Ford EcoSport Trend and Titanium models is the addition of the FordPass Connect system.
This clever system, also available on the Ranger and Everest, enables the EcoSport to keep up with the times and gives it firepower in a segment that has become densely populated.
And the best part about the FordPass Connect system is that you don’t need a degree in rocket science to operate it.
The vehicle comes factory-fitted with an embedded modem, which allows customers to control vehicle functions and access information remotely from their smartphones.
All you need to do is download the FordPass app for free from either the App Store for iOS devices or Google Play Store if you have an Android phone.
Once you have paired your phone with your Ford EcoSport, you can do some seriously cool things with it, including trick you friends and family.
The FordPass Connect’s command and control functionality allows remote locking and unlocking the doors and starting the engine.
The running engine will ensure that the cabin is heated or cooled based on the last-used climate control settings.
This will come in very handy on cold or warm days.
To ensure that homeless people don’t beat you to the cabin on chilly winter mornings, the system locks the car’s doors automatically when the engine is started via the app.
The Ford EcoSport will also not be able to drive with a key present, will the alarm will sound and the engine will shut down in case of attempted theft.
Vehicle information that can be accessed through the app includes the current odometer reading, fuel level and distance to empty. In addition, the vehicle’s maintenance records can be viewed on the app and service can be scheduled at a preferred Ford dealer.
And very importantly for a woman driving on her own, the app allows instant dialling of Ford’s 24-hour Roadside Assistance.
The great news is that while the owner must carry the mobile data cost for the app, there is no hidden data cost for the modem for the entire life of the car. This includes the seamless periodic over-the-air software updates.
While the FordPass Connect system is a new edition to the Ford EcoSport, the rest of this lovable little SUV is as solid as it has always been.
It is comfortable and easy to operate, with bigger SUV traits like a healthy 206mm ground clearance and barn door tailgate to which the spare wheel is attached.
Rear legroom is enough to keep teenagers comfortable o the school run, while the 333-litre boot will swallow their school and sports bags.
In top-spec Titanium guise, which will set you back R408 700, power comes from a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. The punchy mill sends 92 kW of power and 170 Nm of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
We achieved fuel consumption of 8.1 L/100 km during our week which did include a lot of stop-start traffic during load-shedding and is sure this number will drop quite a bit with more open road driving.
The Ford EcoSport was a top local seller in its segment for a long time until all and sundry decided to enter the fray. The addition of the FordPass Connect system should ensure increase its shelf life even further.
For more information on the Ford EcoSport, click here.