We just drove the all-new Ford EcoSport in Hua Hin, Thailand--so yes, we drove a right-hand-drive unit--and we'd like to share with you our first impressions by listing down our seven favorite features of this small crossover SUV. Obviously, the EcoSport has way more features than what we'll mention here, but these are the ones we appreciated the most because we were actually able to utilize them during our one-day test drive.
1. Audio speakers beside the inner front door handles. We're music fans, so we pay attention to the placement of speakers inside a vehicle. We simply like the fact that Ford found use for that otherwise blank space around the door handle. Pleasant to both eyes and ears.
2. Door lock controls on the center dashboard. This is nothing new, for sure. BMWs have had this feature for a long time, and Ford's very own Fiesta has it, too. Still, we include it on this list because it's really convenient. No more groping around for the door locks especially in the dark.
3. Front underseat tray. Very useful for stowing away important items like your laptop computer or mobile devices. In the Thai unit that we drove, this tray was placed under the front passenger seat. Not sure if it's the same positioning on Philippine-market units.
4. Easily accessible connectivity ports. The EcoSport has these on the center console between the driver and the front passenger. It's a much better placement than in other vehicles where you really have to search for these ports the first time you use them.
5. Extra 12V power outlet for rear passengers. In this day and age of battery-draining mobile gadgets, more sources of iPhone and iPad juice will always be a plus.
6. Reconfigurable rear seats. They're not as cleverly designed as those of the Honda Jazz's, but the EcoSport's rear seats can be split 60:40 or tumbled against the front seat backs to accommodate 705L of cargo space. Perfect for individuals who engage in sporty or outdoorsy activities.
7. Rear door handle incorporated into the taillight. This is a really nice touch. Kudos to the EcoSport's exterior designers for coming up with this. One taillight has regular reflectors, while the other one features the grab handle for the rear door. Both practical and stylish.
Photos by Vernon B. Sarne