Ford has announced plans to introduce a small SUV to rival the Vauxhall Mokka. It will be called the Ecosport and will be available towards the end of next year.

A model called Ecosport has been made and sold in Brazil since 2003 and has racked up more than 700,000 sales, but the version that is going global and coming to Europe is the second-generation car with sharper styling that has undertones of the new Kuga.

It is currently being developed in Brazil by an international team drawn from 20 countries, and will be based on the platform of the Fiesta.

Powertrains will include the 1.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection Ecoboost petrol engine and a new 1.5-litre diesel that Ford has developed from the current 1.6 TDCi unit.

There will be two- and four-wheel-drive versions, but Ford is not saying where the all-wheel-drive components are drawn from at this stage. It does claim the Ecoboost will be a competent off-road vehicle, however, with 200mm of ground clearance, 25- and 35-degree approach and departure angles and 550mm of wading depth.

Ford Sync, the company’s voice-activated connectivity system which includes an automatic emergency assistance call-up function, will be standard.

The Ecoboost will have a hidden tailgate handle integrated into the rear light cluster, a wrap-around rear screen similar to that on the original Mercedes A-Class and a tailgate-mounted spare wheel to avoid any negative impact on luggage space.

The car will be built in India, Brazil and China for all markets, but Ford has not yet decided where European cars will come from.


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