Geneva 2013: The Ford EcoSport
The EcoSport will be equipped with Ford SYNC voice-activated in-car connectivity system as well as SYNC Emergency Assistance. In addition, the compact 4x4 will be one of the first Ford vehicles in Europe to offer Ford SYNC AppLink, which enables customers to voice-control smartphone apps from the driver's seat.
"We are entering the age of the connected car and debuting EcoSport at Mobile World Congress underlines just how important advanced vehicle technology is to customers and to Ford," explained Paul Mascarenas, Ford's chief technical officer and vice president for Research and Innovation.
The EcoSport will be the second 4x4 to be launched in Ford's expanding European range when it goes on sale at the end of this year, following the recently-launched Ford Kuga. Ford also plans to bring to Europe the next generation Ford Edge, a larger and more premium utility vehicle popular in the United States and other markets.
Built on Ford's global small car platform, the compact EcoSport will deliver the agility and fuel efficiency of a small family car with the flexibility, spaciousness, high driving position, and â€˜go anywhere' appeal of a 4x4.
"The role of the car is evolving," said Paul Mascarenas. "Customers want to be able to safely enjoy the same level of connectivity in their cars as they would do at home, and SYNC AppLink enables them to do just that. By maximising the potential of apps, Ford can offer customers a class-leading range of smartphone app capabilities while on the move."
Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance directly connects the vehicle occupants to local emergency services operators after an accident, in the correct language for the region using information from the vehicle's on-board GPS unit, and mobile network to pinpoint accident location and choose the appropriate language in which to deliver an introductory message.
The all-new EcoSport will be offered with Ford's innovative 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, the 'International Engine of the Year', a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel engine expected to deliver class-leading fuel efficiency.
The SUV's distinctive front grille, short bonnet and raked front pillars, deliver a sporty and contemporary feel, and angular headlamps reinforce the modern look. It will also offer a comprehensive package of driver assistance technologies including Electronic Stability Program and Hill Launch Assist.
With the small 4x4 market dominated by Nissan, Ford could find it challenging to convince drivers this is the car for them. If they do, they'll be stepping into a very lucrative territory, as more Brits opt for such cars to transport their children safely to and from school.