The facelift includes turning the dour double grille arrangement on its head, resulting in a more attractive face that resembles the Escape.
The gaping hexagonal top grille is flanked by new headlights with elegant tick-shaped LED daytime running lights. Other external changes include bolder bumpers, a more pronounced tailgate spoiler, blacked out window pillars, and roof and new body-coloured side sills which significantly modernises the EcoSport’s appearance.
While it appears that the bootlid-mounted spare wheel is no longer present on the updated model, Ford says it can be fitted as an option - those that didn’t opt for the bootlid fitted spare might have to make do with a space saver.
It’s unclear how many of these features are unique to the pictured ST-Line, which has the looks you’d expect in an ST variant without the extra performance.
The Ford EcoSport’s dated interior has also been transformed with the old gawky gauge cluster and busy central control panel being replaced with the new Fiesta’s clutter-free dashboard and centre console that features a floating screen.
The touchscreen will vary in size from 4.2- to 8.0-inches depending on variant and will display Ford’s latest SYNC 3 connectivity and infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.
Ford has announced a new powertrain for its European range in the form of a 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine mated to new six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel-drive. This will become available in Europe next year, though it’s unlikely to make its way into Australia-bound models.
The 2018 Ford EcoSport will be officially revealed at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show and will launch in Europe later this year.
The Australian launch is also scheduled for around the same time, however a Ford Australia spokesman told ufcnancy it is too soon to discuss local range details as our EcoSport models are built in India, so specifications may vary from the Romanian-built Euro models.
That said, he didn’t rule out an ST-Line variant for Australia, which going by these images could boost the EcoSport’s fortunes in the increasingly competitive small-SUV market here, especially if its sharp pricing can be maintained.