Ford lets users automatically SYNC to new SUV

The EcoSport Trend and Titanium models both feature a large-touch screen in the dashboard that syncs with the user's smartphone.
The EcoSport Trend and Titanium models both feature a large-touch screen in the dashboard that syncs with the user's smartphone.

The new Ford EcoSport, aimed at urbanites and young families who lead active lifestyles, integrates a number of new technologies to improve the driving experience.

The higher range models include the third iteration of Ford's infotainment system, SYNC 3. It is situated in a 6.5-inch or 8-inch (depending on the model) colour touch-screen in the middle of the car's dashboard.

SYNC 3 works with Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, which means it is compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones, and allows the dashboard to become an extension of the smart features, allowing drivers to use their favourite apps mostly hands-free.

Android Auto has not yet been licensed for release in SA, but Ford says it will be accessible as soon as these platforms become available in the market.

The Ford EcoSport has been a top-selling model in the compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment in SA for multiple years since its introduction to the market in 2013.

The entry point EcoSport, the 1.5 TDCi Ambiente, features six speakers, has Bluetooth, voice activation and steering wheel audio controls, as well as a trip computer. The Ambiente model does not feature SYNC 3 technology and does not have a centre touch-screen, but instead uses first-generation SYNC and a smaller screen.

Ford's new SYNC 3 infotainment system is for the first time available in its compact SUV, the EcoSport.
Ford's new SYNC 3 infotainment system is for the first time available in its compact SUV, the EcoSport.

The mid-range Trend model features a 1.0 EcoBoost engine, with the choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. It has all of the features of the Ambiente plus hill launch assist and roll stability control.

The Trend has the 6.5-inch touch-screen with SYNC 3 that allows for Bluetooth and voice control, as well as two USB ports with charging and multimedia functionality.

The top-of-the-range EcoSport Titanium features the larger 8-inch screen with a navigation system incorporated. It has all the features of the previous models plus a keyless push-button start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, electronic climate control and cruise control, as well as a seven-speaker setup.

In January, the motoring company said it would increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022, and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model line-up.

The EcoBoost engines in the Trend and Titanium models use air from exhaust fumes to give the car more power, while slightly lowering emissions.

The recommended price for the entry-level Ambiente is R264 500, and the most expense top-of-the-range Titanium will cost R339 900.

Safety first

The motoring company says it wanted to raise the bar with the EcoSport and incorporate more driving safety and high-tech features.

"Both active and passive safety technologies are becoming increasingly important for buyers across all segments, and the latest EcoSport introduces a raft of features as standard to keep the driver and passengers safe," says Ford in a statement.

"Along with the obligatory ABS brakes with emergency brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, all new EcoSport models are equipped with electronic stability control which incorporates traction control and roll stability control (EcoBoost models) that adjusts engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control.

"To assist the driver when pulling off on steep inclines, the 1.0 EcoBoost models include hill launch assist, which holds the vehicle briefly after the brakes are applied to facilitate smooth and trouble-free starts and prevent rolling back. The system works in forward and reverse gears.

"The Trend and Titanium models come standard with Ford's tyre pressure monitoring system that continuously monitors all four tyres and alerts the driver immediately should low pressures be detected."

The Ambiente model has six airbags, while the two other models incorporate an additional driver's knee airbag.

To aid parking manoeuvres, rear parking sensors are included across the range.

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