Ford EcoSport subcompact SUV
playing catch-up with the 2018 EcoSport subcompact SUV, but itís a
long way behind. The EcoSport just went on sale in the United
States, but itís a face-lifted version of an SUV Fordís been
selling in other parts of the world since 2012. Most of the
competition is newer, with equipment that reflects it.
Adding to the
challenge, the EcoSport competes with established subcompacts like
Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Subaru
Crosstrek. A couple of new competitors, the Hyundai Kona and Nissan
Kicks, go on sale shortly.
subcompact SUVs were not Job 1 at Ford Motor Co. Thatís somewhat
understandable. Theyíre popular in other parts of the world, but
sell in relatively small numbers in the U.S., where customer tastes
lean toward compact and midsize SUVs like the Ford Escape and
Explorer, respectively. Ford sold 308,296 Escapes in 2017, and
271,131 Explorers in the U.S. last year.
subcompact SUVs, the Subaru Crosstrek sold 110,138 in 2017, the Jeep
Renegade notched 103,434 sales, and the Chevy Trax, which may be the
EcoSportís most attainable competitor, notched 79,289.
modest numbers, subcompact SUVs are a meaningful class of vehicles.
arrival so late to the party in its home market is indicative of the
indecisive leadership that led to the companyís recent management
EcoSport Titanium FWD
five-passenger subcompact SUV
tested: $26,080 (excluding destination charge)
out of four stars)
buy: Price; easy to park; smartphone compatibility
Lack of common features; noisy interior; side-hinged tailgate
below the compact Escape, the EcoSport is Fordís entry-level SUV.
Prices start at $19,995 for front-drive and $21,495 for all-wheel
drive. A 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces
123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque is standard. A 2.0L
four-cylinder that produces 166 hp and 149 lb-ft of torque is
standard on AWD models and the sporty SES trim level. A six-speed
automatic transmission is standard.
I tested a
nicely equipped Titanium with the 1.0L with features that included
power driver seat, locks and windows; push button start; blind spot
alert; 8-inch touch screen; 675-watt 10-speaker B&O Play audio;
Apple CarPlay; Android Auto; two USB ports; voice recognition; 4G
LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, leather upholstery, heated front seats and
steering wheel; and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
at $26,080. All prices exclude destination charges.
prices are in the middle of its competitive set.
the EcoSport at seven plants around the world. U.S. models come from
transmission, front-wheel-drive models where available)
Titanium FWD: $25,740
Premier AWD: $27,300
Lounge FWD: $25,515
EX-L w/navi FWD: $25,140
Ultimate 1.6L DCT: $27,400
Limted FWD: $25,645
Crosstrek 2.0i Limited AWD: $26,295
is attractive. The model Fordís been selling around the world got
a nose job and other styling tweaks to make it look like the bigger,
better-selling Escape this year. The modern three-bar grille and LED
accent lights give it a substantial appearance. The overall look is
consistent with other Ford SUVs, though the EcoSportís small size
becomes apparent in profile. At 161.9 inches long, and with a
99.2-inch wheelbase, it measures smallest in the segment. Nearly a
foot shorter than a Ford Fiesta subcompact sedan, the EcoSport is
incredibly easy to park.
20.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat and 50 with the
seat folded flat are among the largest in the segment. Only the HR-V
beats the Ford on both counts, and the Crosstrek is the only other
to top 50 cubic feet with the seat down.
research said buyers wanted phone compatibility, so a lot of work
went into making the EcoSportís interface. Sync voice recognition
is standard, and all models but the base S have either a 6- or
8-inch touch screen to accommodate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Both of the touch screens have pinch and swipe functions.
greatest shortcoming probably lies in the safety features
competitors offer that it doesnít: Depending on the vehicle and
model, you can find the following in other subcompact SUVs:
alert and assist; front collision alert; pedestrian detection;
automatic emergency braking; adaptive cruise control; 360-degree
does offer antilock brakes, traction control, blind spot alert,
parking assist and 10 air bags, but it lacks the safety and driver
assist systems that more recently developed vehicles offer.
feels less refined than most of the competition. Interior noise is
quite noticeable, both from the tires and engine. The steering doesnít
provide much feedback.
is limited, and the side-hinged tailgate is less useful in tight
parking spaces than the roof-hinged tailgates all the competition
8-inch touchscreen in my EcoSport Titanium is a nice touch in this
class of vehicle, it did not respond as quickly as the best systems.
turbocharged 12-valve 4-cyl.
Power: 12 @
6,000 hp rpm; 125 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
assembled: Chennai, India
turbocharged four-cylinder engineís 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque
are the lowest output in the segment. Thereís noticeable engine
vibration at low engine rpm, and under hard acceleration for highway
merges. The stop-start system that shuts the engine off at
stoplights to save fuel felt a bit slower and more noticeable than
EPA fuel economy rating falls in the middle of the pack. It scored
27 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway and 28 in combined driving.
combined figure matches the Trax, but trails the HR-V, Kona and
Crosstrek. It beat the 500X and Renegade. Fuel economy ratings for
the Nissan Kicks, which will only offer FWD, arenít available yet.
EPA fuel economy ratings
transmission, front-wheel-drive models)
1.0L FWD: 27 mpg city/29 highway/28 combined. Regular gasoline
Premier AWD: 25/33/28. Regular
Lounge FWD: 22/30/25. Regular
EX-L w/navi FWD: 28/34/31. Regular
Ultimate 1.6L DCT FWD: 28/32/30. Regular
Limited FWD: 22/30/25. Regular
Crosstrek 2.0i Limited AWD: 27/33/29. Regular
could have established Ford as an early leader in the subcompact SUV
market if U.S. sales began when it was new. Back then, features like
a touch screen and Wi-Fi hotspot would have set the standard for the
market in 2018, the EcoSport feels like a placeholder, introduced to
give Ford dealers an alternative to popular vehicles from other
brands until the automaker introduces an all-new and fully
competitive subcompact SUV in two or three years.
on vehicle tested
equipment: Antilock brakes;, stability control; driver and passenger
knee air bags; front-seat side air bags; curtain air bags; fog
lights; halogen headlights; LED signature lights; rear vision
camera; grille shutters; capless fuel filler; power windows, locks
and side mirrors; push button start; voice recognition, Apple Car
Play; Android Auto; 8-in. touch screen; power sun roof; 4G LTE
Wi-Ffi hot spot; two USB ports; 110v and 12v outlets; 60/40 split
flip and folding rear seats; ambient lighting; automatic climate
control; power driver seat; manual tilt and telescope steering
wheel; cruise control; B&O Play audio; hill start assist; blind
spot alert; rearview camera; Sirius satellite radio;
17-inch aluminum wheels; heated steering wheel; windshield wiper de-icer;
front and rear floor liners.