Sometimes the idea of a fancy dinner for two at one of the city’s popular restaurants is a stretch, especially with a busy schedule and somewhat limited budget. I’d honestly jump at the opportunity to drive a new model of a popular nameplate from a car or motorcycle manufacturer than spend a few hours at a restaurant with my significant other. Okay, so maybe I’m partly lying. Not because I’m trying to save myself from being skinned alive by my significant other, but if we could kill two birds with one stone, we would, and Ford Philippines made it happen with their 2019 EcoSport.
I was handed the keys to the newest member of the EcoSport family, featuring the award-winning 1.0L turbocharged EcoBoost gasoline engine, a visual restyling, updated interior, and a conventional six-speed automatic. We were then supposed to grab dinner for two at Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie on a weekend night of our choosing. It would prove to be a good test for the capabilities of the new EcoSport; unpredictable city traffic, stoplights, a trip down SLEX to get to Metro Manila, and two people in the car – exactly the kind of drive that 99% of car owners would do to cap off a productive work week.
In terms of being a daily driver, the 2019 Ford EcoSport with the Titanium trim level delivers the goods. The amount of pockets and small compartments for storage is more than enough, providing a myriad of places for us to store our phones, loose change, parking tickets, and so on. Oh, and the way Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system delivers a seamless experience is a huge plus for me. Plug in your phone and you're good to go for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with Waze and Spotify integration; literally as easy as one-two-three. You’ve also got the advantage of being higher up from the road, providing a good vantage point to scan for changes in traffic and road conditions. You’ve also got the technological advantage of speed-sensing door locks, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry with push-button start/stop, hill-start and hill-descent control, rear parking sensors with a camera, rain-sensing wipers, and auto start/stop to save some fuel. Kitted out pretty darn well for any night out on the town.
A last minute change in venue had us reroute to Chef Jessie at the Rockwell Club. To be honest, we’d miss out on a fantastic city view, but the more relaxed and homey vibe that the other restaurant gives off will be better suited to my taste. Plus, a little more driving in more congested and tighter roads would be another challenge. We set off early from Laguna to beat the expressway traffic, the 1.0L turbocharged engine providing a good surge of power to get up to speed. It’s a peppy drive, and much more responsive than the previous EcoSport. A relaxed drive at dusk proved the worth of the much improved HID headlights that lit the road ahead of us. It’s little touches like nice headlights that can add that spice to an otherwise standard vehicle.
Once we got into the city, the stories of the issues of the older dual clutch Powershift transmissions suddenly became a distant memory. The six-speed automatic shifts nicely and smoothly enough, and it feels just like it should when accelerating and slowing down as it shifts through the gears. The tall windows and wider field of view of the redesigned wing mirrors help visibility greatly, and parking in the tighter Power Plant car slots was an easy feat. My partner in crime and I were talking about how much of an improvement the new EcoSport was, having driven the older model just a few days ago. We took our reserved seats at the restaurant and stared longingly at the menu choices. In the end we settled for Filet Mignon for the madam and grilled lemongrass chicken for myself. Excellent flavor and nice plating; simple yet tasty. We capped off the dinner with great ice cream from Carmen’s Best, filling us up nicely after a sumptuous meal.
We got back into the EcoSport and started the drive home, with my favorite spotify playlist in the background and the city lights fading as we got onto Skyway and SLEX. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the fuel consumption, on the highway I was able to get 19 km/l, and 9 km/l in bad traffic. The 2019 Ford EcoSport does a lot to remove the negativity of its previous generation. To be frank, this is exactly what it should have been from the very beginning, and to those who are about to pick one up or already driving one on a daily basis – good on you. You made a good choice. Because for all the issues and questions that the older EcoSport generated, the 2019 model manages to also kill two birds with one stone; it changed my notions about the model and reward me with a very good drive all at the same time.