Ford’s new Fiesta-based Nissan Juke rival has been snapped on a frozen lake during its winter testing programme
Ford’s Fiesta-based small SUV has been caught on camera again, haring across an arctic testing ground. This heavily-disguised test mule will evolve into a replacement for the firm’s EcoSport crossover when it reaches the UK market next year.
The as-yet-unnamed SUV will join the Fiesta Active in the company’s compact crossover range. Ford hopes the new model will remedy the shortcomings of the current EcoSport by offering extra interior and boot space, as well as a more premium cabin. Ford’s will also ditch the EcoSport’s cumbersome side-opening boot-lid for a conventional top-hinged hatch.
• Best small SUVs and crossovers
We expect the new SUV will offer a taller ride than the current Fiesta Active. The finished product is previewed by our exclusive render, which details an evolutionary design approach. It will likely feature a familiar nose and similar headlamps to the Fiesta with integrated daytime running lights.
Black exterior plastics will give the car a rugged look, while a set of bulging wheel arches and roof rails bring it in line with rivals. Engine-wise, the new compact Ford SUV will almost certainly feature the brand’s latest range of 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engines, along with the familiar 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel.
There’s also the potential for Ford to offer the car with its naturally-aspirated 1.1-litre petrol in the base-model, in an effort to lower the entry-price. A choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox will also be available.
Four-wheel-drive could be a possible option, borrowing technology from the EcoSport. The system will mainly give improved all-weather traction, rather than genuine off-roading capability. We’d expect the 4WD variants to only be offered with Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox.
The EcoSport’s three-tier trim range will likely be carried over, separated into Zetec, Titanium and ST-Line specs. Zetec models would form the range’s core, while Titanium and ST-Line models would offer greater focus on luxury and sporty styling respectively, for similar prices.
There’s a good chance a plush Vignale version could be offered, too, given the success of the trim level on the current Fiesta.
This early glimpse of the SUV means we’re unlikely to see it in dealers until the first half of 2020 at the earliest. When it arrives, expect it to carry a price premium over the Fiesta Active, which currently starts from £18,845. A standard Zetec could cost from just under £20,000, with the Vignale at around £23,500.
Ford Fiesta SUV rivals
The Fiesta SUV will face a host of rivals when it arrives. Our exclusive images preview some of these models.
The car that started the baby SUV boom will be replaced before the end of 2019. The new Juke moves to Renault-Nissan’s CMF-B platform. It will retain its characterful but oddball looks, although the cabin will get a makeover.
Second generation of Renault’s crossover will sit on the same platform as the Juke. It’s likely to arrive before the end of this year, and should feature much-improved interior quality and space. Hybrid versions are expected.
Skoda ‘small SUV’
In theory, Skoda’s forthcoming baby SUV is a class above the Fiesta – but it’s likely to be a close rival on price. It’ll sit on the VW Group’s MQB A0 platform, creating a spiritual successor to the hit Yeti.
Vauxhall Mokka X
The big-selling Mokka X will be overhauled in 2020, but unlike these rivals, it will be offered as a full EV. That’s made possible by the fact it will sit on the same CMP platform as the next Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208.
Opinion: European flavour to boost new SUV
By Richard Ingram, Reviews and features editor
The all-new Fiesta SUV can’t come soon enough for Ford. For years the company has been hamstrung by the ageing EcoSport, which was originally designed for the South American market. It was poorly packaged and underwhelming to drive.
By taking a more conventional approach to styling, the brand will hope to replicate the success of rivals such as the Nissan Juke. Simple SUV design cues will give it a fresher appearance, while the raised ride height should ensure the car is easy to drive.
Ditching the EcoSport’s bulky side-hinged tailgate will boost practicality, too, while basing the new model on the latest Fiesta will herald a suite of frugal, up-to-date engine and trim options.
Hurry up, Ford! You’ve got a surefire hit on your hands.
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