The ‘world car’ is not a novel concept. If you’re in the business of producing sports cars or luxury cars, making a single model and selling it in as many worldwide markets as possible is standard practice.

It’s only in the mass car market where things are different. And differences between cars of the same size across different regions, to reflect our differing tastes, would be an ever-continuing theme but for the inconvenience to car manufacturers of a near-£1 billion bill every time they develop an all-new car.

But attempting to turn a profit by developing and making three different models for three different regions, each of which costs less than, say, one Audi, has put the kibosh on it.

The ‘One Ford’ mission, then, has given us this: the Ecosport. It’s a ‘me, too’ entrant into the small SUV/crossover market, because no car maker should be without one, here or anywhere else.

Ford hasn’t had a baby crossover or SUV in Europe before, but it’s no stranger to importing 4x4s from outside of the Continent.

The Explorer, introduced in 1998 and at first with a 4.0-litre petrol engine only, showed how marked the differences were between European and US tastes.

Although there hasn’t been a European Ecosport before, this car is the second-generation one. The original, built from 2004 until 2012, is also based on a Fiesta and is one of Brazil’s best-selling Fords.

So, the original EcoSport and the facelifted UK models were designed on one continent and is built on another, and neither of those on mainland Europe. The Ecosport wasn't greeted to much positive press when it arrived in mainland Europe, despite them rolling off the dealership forecourts, but over the last three years Ford has been tweaking the small SUV improving it incremently - albeit on a small scale - which leads us to the facelifted model readying itself for an early 2018 launch.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Crossover hatchbacks

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroen Berlingo 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    19 June 2018
    Boxy, slightly quirky van-based car returns to top form in only third iteration in more than two decades
  • Porsche Cayenne 2018 UK first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    19 June 2018
    Performance doesn't come at the expense of comfort and composure in Porsche's mid-range Cayenne
  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    18 June 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs
  • Kia Ceed 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    18 June 2018
    Third-generation Korean hatchback can now compete for class honours
  • Lexus LS500h 2018 road test review hero front
    Car review
    15 June 2018
    Lexus aims to reset the luxury saloon benchmark with its bold new LS flagship