Introduced in 2018, the Ford EcoSport is a five-passenger subcompact SUV, available in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive. There are four trims available, with an affordable starting price of less than $20,000. "US News and World Report" magazine ranks the EcoSport #14 among subcompact SUVs. They particularly like the vehicle's tall driving position and easy-to-use Sync information/entertainment system. However, they were disappointed in the EcoSport's low-performance FWD engine and found it less fun to drive than other vehicles in its class.
What does it look like?
Styling isn’t the EcoSport’s trump card, but really only rivals like the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X score points for looks. The EcoSport’s beltline recalls the same line on a Chevy Trax, but its front end reads more delicate. From the side, the EcoSport seems to end abruptly at the rear. Inside, Ford undermines an otherwise simply formatted cockpit with inexpensive trim and lots of cut lines.
What’s on the inside?
The dashboard is based on the latest Fiesta’s, and most of the major controls are easy to use on the move. A 6.5in color touchscreen is standard, while Titanium and ST-Line models get an 8.0in version. Both respond quickly and come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, although the Seat Arona's on-screen graphics are slightly sharper. Ford has worked hard to improve the Ecosport's interior quality from the previous model.
What’s under the hood?
Most versions of the EcoSport come standard with a turbocharged 1.0-liter inline-three that musters 123 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 125 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. It drives the front wheels; if you want all-wheel drive, you’re upgraded to a non-turbo 2.0-liter inline-four that’s good for 166 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 149 lb-ft at 4500. Both engines use a six-speed automatic.
How is it to drive?
A whole lot better than it was in the past. Clearly embarrassed by its initial efforts, Ford’s engineers have knuckled down and really tried to squeeze everything they can from a car that didn’t get the best start in life. It now does a passable impression of a Fiesta at town speeds, which is where it’s likely to spend most of its time, but in the corners, it tends to topple over and feels considerably more top heavy. Not surprising really because it is, but other rivals like the Seat Arona are more closely aligned to the superminis they’re spawned from. More sound insulation plus suspension and steering tuned especially for Europe means it doesn’t feel as flimsy as it once did. It doesn’t ride too badly either, but the soft springs mean you’re bobbled around on patchy road surfaces.
How much does it cost?
It’s sold in S, SE, SES, and Titanium trims, with a choice between front-drive, turbo-3 models and all-wheel-drive versions with an inline-4 engine. Prices start from just above $20,000 and approach $30,000 in all-wheel-drive SES editions.