2018 Ford EcoSport Subcompact Ute Review By Larry Nutson
2018 Ford EcoSport
Subcompact Ute Review
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
In mid-March Ford said that it estimates that by 2020 SUV sales could account for 50 percent of U.S. industry retail sales. Here in 2018, Ford recently introduced two all-new models at each end of the SUV spectrum – the subcompact EcoSport and full-size Expedition.
I recently drove the smallest of Ford’s SUVs. The 2018 Ford EcoSport US version is built in India making it the first "Made in India" US import and reached North American showrooms earlier this year as the newest entry in the field, and is now one of nine vehicles competing in the fast-growing subcompact SUV space.
U.S. sales of subcompact SUVs among 18- to 24-year-olds are projected to surpass sales of subcompact cars as early as 2019. And today due to favorable pricing many Gen Z buyers now buy a new subcompact SUV instead of taking the used-car route.
The EcoSport is available in S, SE, SES, and Titanium trims with prices starting at $19,995. Front-drive and all-wheel drive models are offered in all trims, except the SES is AWD only. I drove the top line Titanium with FWD priced at $25,740.
A 123-horsepower 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic powers the front-drive models. All-wheel drive models get a 166-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that also is mated to a 6-speed automatic.
EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 28 mpg combined with 27 city mpg and 29 highway mpg for the front-drive models. AWD models are rated 25 mpg combined with 23 city mpg and 29 highway mpg. Both are equipped with an idle stop/start feature that reduces both emissions and fuel consumption.
My time driving the EcoSport with its 123-horsepower was most often just me on board with my wife joining from time to time. In other words, even though there are seats for five, the EcoSport wasn’t too heavily loaded. Acceleration with this engine is not knock-you-back-in-the-seat. But, it does get the job done. From stop the engine revs a bit which appears to be to get the EcoBoost engine’s turbo spooled up to create some torque.
Being that the price step to AWD is only $1,500 the best thought might be to go for that so you get the larger engine, especially if you live in hilly terrain or load up a lot. The larger 2.0-L engine has marginally lower EPA city rating, but with a careful foot it just might be as efficient as the 1.0-liter.
With more and more Gen Z-ers living in big cities, a really strong point of the EcoSport is its compact 161 inch length. It’s quite easy to maneuver in the city and a snap to get into a parking spot. Inside the rear hatch there is a modest 21 cu.ft. of space but that opens up to 50 cu.ft. with the 60/40-split rear seat folded.
Take note that the EcoSport’s rear hatch is a side-hinged swing gate rear door with the release lever neatly hidden in the right side taillight. So, you can’t hide under the hatch if it is raining and when parallel parked at the curb any vehicle close behind you may limit the ability to fully open it.
Up front the cabin space was fairly comfortable for my medium build. Things can be a bit tight in the rear seat, but the young ones probably won’t care. Outward visibility is pretty good although you have to peak through the small front triangle windows around the side mirrors to make sure a pedestrian hasn’t stepped off the curb.
The 8-inch touch screen is mounted high in line with the instrument cluster and is easily viewed. Knobs make for easy audio volume control and tuning.
Safety tech that’s available includes a rear view camera, blind-spot monitor and rear-cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams are not offered.
Available niceties like a moonroof, heated seats, B&O premium audio, navigation, and so on make for lots of comfort. Sync 3 infotainment system includes satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
More information, specifications and details on the 2018 EcoSport can be found at www.ford.com.
My daily big-city living routine includes being in and out of various parking garages often with a parking attendant. Many times drivers of all ages commented about the nice compact size of the EcoSport. I was often asked if it made for easy big city living. And, it does.
Actually, the EcoSport is well suited for urban-living folks of any age.
The subcompact Ecosport will continue to hold its place at the bottom of the lineup until Ford develops a new vehicle to compete with the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and Nissan Rogue Sport.
© 2018 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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2018 Ford EcoSport Details
Mini Utilities Class
Series: S, SE, SES, Titanium
Fun, capable and connected, the all-new Ford EcoSport can be customized with 10 available colors, six interior choices and ambient lighting options. EcoSport's five-passenger interior features available SYNC 3 features available SYNC® 3 with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility, plus there’s an available eight-inch voice activated touch screen. A rearview camera comes standard. Drivers can start, unlock and locate their vehicle from anywhere using available SYNC Connect with FordPass™. Audiophiles will appreciate the available B&O PLAY™ Premium Audio System by HARMAN. Award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost® three-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop is standard with six-speed automatic transmission; available 2.0-liter Ti-VCT four-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop is packaged with all-wheel drive. Standard safety features for the all-new EcoSport include AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control, Safety Canopy® side-air curtain technology for first and second rows, side thorax airbags for rear passengers and SOS Post-Crash Alert System.
- 12-volt powerpoints (two)
- Audio – AM/FM stereo with MP3 capability (S, SE, SES)
- Audio – B&O PLAY™ Premium Audio System by HARMAN (Titanium)
- Audio – SiriusXM® Radio (SE, SES, Titanium)
- Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler
- Engine – 1.0L EcoBoost® I-4 (S, SE, Titanium)
- Engine – 2.0L Ti-VCT direct-injection I-4 (SES)
- Front-wheel drive (S, SE, Titanium)
- Intelligent 4WD (SES)
- Intelligent Access with push-button start (SE, SES, Titanium)
- Mirrors – Power sideview
- Power windows and door locks
- Remote keyless entry system with two integrated keyhead transmitter remotes (S)
- Seats – Front buckets
- Seat – Rear 60/40 split fold-flat bench
- Steering wheel-mounted cruise control
- SYNC® with 4.2" color LCD screen in center stack and smart-charging USB ports (two) (S)
- SYNC 3 with LCD capacitive touch screen with AppLink,® 911 Assist® and two smart-charging USB ports (SE, SES, Titanium)
- Tilt/telescoping steering column
- Transmission – Six-speed SelectShift® automatic
- Wipers – Intermittent front and rear
STANDARD SAFETY AND SECURITY
- AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™
- Airbags – Driver and front-passenger knee, front-/rear-seat side and Safety Canopy® System with side-curtain airbags and rollover sensor
- Battery saver
- Brakes – Four-wheel disc with Anti-Lock
- Brake System
- Child-safety rear door locks
- Head restraints and three-point safety belts on all five seating positions
- Illuminated entry system
- LATCH – Lower Anchors and Tether Anchors for Children
- Personal Safety System™ for driver and front passenger with dual-stage front airbags
- Rearview camera
- SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft System (S)
- SOS Post-Crash Alert System™
- Tire pressure monitoring system (excludes spare)
- Traction control
- Cargo mat
- Engine – 2.0L Ti-VCT direct-injection I-4 with Intelligent 4WD
- Floor liners (front and rear)
- Fog lamps
- Keyless-entry keypad
- Intelligent 4WD
- Power moonroof with shade
- Projector headlamps with LED daytime running lamps
- Remote start system
- Reverse sensing system
- Roof-rack side rails
- Roof-rail crossbars
- Voice-activated navigation system
- Wheels – 17" Premium dark-painted stainless machined aluminum
- Cargo Management Package
- Interior Protection Package
- SE/SES/Titanium Cold Weather Package
- SE Convenience Package