Ford EcoSport: A Middle-sized Bear

Not too big; not too small; just right. If you’ve ever heard the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you’ll know precisely what that means. The so-called ‘dialactical three’ comes to mind when I consider the Ford EcoSport in the vast population of cars on our roads today.

Into the great, wide open...
Into the great, wide open…

I got to really like this vehicle when I took it to the northern Berg late last year. Solid in the city and smooth on the highway, it was also surprisingly capable on rocky mountain trails. My recent expedition, to run the Wildlands Three Cranes Challenge in Karkloof, was a difference obstacle for this handsome SUV.

The lush midlands gave us runners lashings of rain. The result was oodles of globby mud in our shoes and, within minutes of the start each morning, caking on elbows, knees and bottoms. In fact, the planned 42km route for the second day had to be cut by some 5km after flooding.

Now, the EcoSport is not a 4×4. It isn’t going to get you through the real thick stuff. The idea is that it’ll take care of just about anything you encounter when you head off the tar for a trail run, a spot of fly fishing or some camping in a game reserve. I’m glad to say it does.

A happy camper at Bushwillow, just off Karkloof Road.
A happy camper at Bushwillow, just off Karkloof Road.

In fact, I have a complaint about this vehicle’s comfort. I had started the run in the last batch, batch D, on the Friday morning. Scooting along fantastically that day, I was promoted to B batch on the Saturday. Another solid outing elevated me to the rarefied air of the A batch. It would be my first time ever, in any sport, competing with the top contenders. Well, it should have been.

On the Saturday night I could handle the little foam mattress in my tent no longer. The Ford’s back seat would be my home for the night. However, despite setting three alarms – watch, phone and iPad – I awoke to the awful noise of the announcement that A batch was 7 minutes from starting.

Despite the fastest dash I could muster, I was forced to start with B batch. All because of the EcoSport!

The noble but sporty looks - why this car initially appealed to me - were put to the test at the utterly pretty Granny Mouse Country House. I think the EcoSport fitted in with aplomb.
The noble but sporty looks – why this car initially appealed to me – were put to the test at the utterly pretty Granny Mouse Country House. I think the EcoSport fitted in with aplomb.

Back to my metaphor. This urban SUV fits neatly between your typical town car and the big SUVs. Priced at between about R210 000 and R260 000, it feels like really good value, too. If a sedan is too little for you, and a 4×4 far too much for you, the EcoSport might well be just right.

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