Ford’s newest entry into the SUV arena first appeared on our shores last year as the 2018 Ford EcoSport. It has been on sale in other global markets for a few years now. The 2019 model year will carry on with what is a very basic small SUV. Its Lilliputian proportions will appear as “cute” to some, and “stubby” to others. Despite its mini exterior image, the 5-passenger SUV is actually quite heavy considering its power sources.
The EcoSport comes with two engine choices: the standard engine is a 1.0-liter EcoBoost in-line 4-cylinder that produces a modest 123 horsepower at6, 000 rpm, along with 125 pound feet of torque at 3,500 rpm; optionally available (and recommended) is a 2.0-liter TI- VCT inline 4-cylinder engine with Gasoline Direct Injection that delivers 166 horses at 6,500 rpm and 149 pound feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. It is capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Both powerplants route their energy to the driving wheels through a 6-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Drive configurations consist of either FWD or Intelligent 4WD for roughly an extra $1,500. Which comes with Torque Vectoring and Traction Control.
The diminutive EcoSport is available in four progressive levels of trim: the base S, followed by an SE model; an upscale SES, and the flagship Titanium model, although tender may be a more appropriate term than flagship.
The Ford EcoSport provides basic feature content, but is lacking in some safety related technology. It dies have AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control and ABS, a backup camera and rear parking sensors as standard fare, but some important features such as automated emergency braking, Adaptive Cruise Control are not available, while Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are optionally available.
Visually, the EcoSport’s exterior form is not unlike that of many of its competitors. One might readily liken it to an unsanforized Ford Escape with its shrunken footprint. The question arises, “Is this where Ford is headed following their abolition of all sedan products”? The nose is rounded with the hood rising to a very sharply raked windshield that meets the top that travels back to an integrated spoiler lip. Front and rear overhangs are short and the wheelwells are pronounced over the small 17-inch, stylized alloy wheels and tires.
In profile, the a sharp character line runs from the front wheelwell to the taillamp on each side, with a lower rocker line above the composite clad lower rocker panel, matching the front and rear lower fascia protective cladding.
The rear of the EcoSport displays a low, wide stance even though the roof appears to be very tall when viewed from the side to the point of perhaps being top heavy. Rather than a lift gate, there is a hinged rear gate that is properly hinged on the left side and that opens to the left for the U.S market. No bumping heads here or having to walk around the gate when unloading at the curb.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Gen Z drivers (those born after 1995) not only want but expect in-vehicle Wi-Fi, multiple charging ports and smartphone app-compatible entertainment systems.
Entering the cabin, one notes that EcoSport is available with those and other features such as compatibility with popular tech products like Amazon’s Alexa®, Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto®. Available FordPass™ provides remote access through a smartphone app, along with an 8-inch capacitive touch screen offered. EcoSport is also available with a B&O Play® premium audio system and SiriusXM® satellite radio.
Ford EcoSport delivers 50 cubic feet behind the front row – nearly double the 25.4 cubic feet of a Fiesta hatchback, and EcoSport offers 20.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row – much greater than the 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space in a Focus sedan, the 12.8 cubic feet of trunk space in a Fiesta sedan and the 14.9 cubic feet of cargo space in a Fiesta hatchback. Just don’t plan on sitting comfortably behind tall front seat occupants as space is extremely limited. The back seat is also on the narrow side
My test 2018 Ford EcoSport was in SES trim and was a 4WD version, powered by the 2.0-liter engine. The exterior was finished is Canyon Ridge metallic – a shade of Bronze, while the interior came with cloth patterned seats with Canyon Ridge striping to match the dash and console trim accents. The base price was set at $23,990., which came to $26740 after factoring in the Destination and Delivery charge and the Preferred Equipment Group.
The 2018 Ford EcoSport could actually be a little more economical as far as fuel consumption goes with EPA estimates of 23-mpg city and 29-mpg hwy. It could also be a little sportier. The engine is certainly capable, but the vehicle’s total mass is on the hefty side, which explains the 0-60 mph time of 9.8 seconds. In spite of these seemingly negative issues, the EcoSport is both practical and versatile. It is also actually fun to drive, as the handling characteristics such as steering input are readily responsive.
The ride quality is generally comfortable except on really rough pavement and though this is a 4WD vehicle, it’s not made for rock crawling, but for simpler off-road jaunts. The Eco friendly tires are not particularly sticky, so autocrossing can also be crossed off the activities list.
In the bottom line analysis, the Ford EcoSport subcompact SUV seems to appeal particularly to the 18-24 set, I wouldn’t rule out its potential popularity with empty nesters. True, the cost might be a little high considering the basic feature content level, but the 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and 3-year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper, 5-year/60,000-mile safety restraint system, and 5-year unlimited corrosion warranties should add a little enticement.
The Ford EcoSport’s intended purpose was to combine the economical attributes of subcompacts with the sporty traits of crossovers. You’ll have to decide whether the mini-ute measures up or not. I personally liked it.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Ford EcoSport SES 4WD
Base Price: $23,090.
Price as Tested: $26,740.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve TI- VCT inline 4-cylinder with Gasoline Direct Injection and auto stop/start technology.
Horsepower (bhp): 166 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 149 @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed SelectShift® automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Intelligent 4WD
Suspension: em>Front -Independent MacPherson-strut type with stabilizer bar, twin-tube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks.
Rear – Fully independent multilink with stabilizer bar, progressive-rate springs, mono-tube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS.
Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia EP 422Plus 205/50 R17 93H mounted on 5-“geo”-Spoke- Tarnished Dark metallic painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 99.2 inches
Length Overall: 161.3 inches
Width: 81.0 inches – including mirrors – 69.5” w/o
Height: 65.1 inches
Curb Weight: 3,327 lbs.
Turning Circle: 35 ft. – +1.26-inches
Fuel Capacity: 13.6 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 23 mpg city / 29 mpg hwy
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: 9.8 seconds
<a href=”http://www.tflcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Arv_Voss.jpg”><img class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image 21472 alt=” src=”http://www.tflcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Arv_Voss.jpg” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”144″ /></a>Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.