Our experiences with auto boxes starts with a Mitsibushi Colt, bought as my Wife found it easier than a manual box. Then it was Citroen ZX Volcane, rather quick but again only a 3 speed auto. That was replaced with my Wife's favourite a Rover 45 V6 with auto box, that went due to the box playing up ( it now seems was the fault of a dodgy fluid change by a garage) and was replaced by a Honda Jazz EX with I shift ( manual box with electronic clutch and gear change) My Wife hated it. Last year as we needed something taller to get into we plumped for the Ecosport Titanium last May.
I like the Ford auto box, gear changes are in the main smooth.This is a proper auto box not the dual clutch powershift that has caused Ford and others headaches. I have only used the sport mode a couple of times and the flappy paddles ( which the Jazz had) I think once. The sport mode certainly gives a longer change between gears and to be honest just leaving it to get on with it in D gives all that I need. I think I have commented on the fact that the set up with the software gives engine braking down steep hills by changing down. The only downside is the fuel consumption BUT with an auto box and torque converter there is always a loss in economy.
I hope this helps. I have driven an awful lot of cars in my driving years and whilst the motoring press are still in love with the VAG people and still rubbish the Ecosport, I think the Ecosport ticks many boxes to our liking.If HM Government allows me another licence ( the old three year jobby) at the age of 79 and Motability's insurers allow it then this one will probably be replaced by another Ecosport. I don't think its replacement is due until 2022.