2019 Ford EcoSport
The arrival of the Ford EcoSport last year was a welcomed entry in an emerging segment. With more people looking at urban enclaves as their home, these potential customers are looking for a vehicle that fits in tight parking spaces and can scoot around town with ease.
Originally intended for emerging markets outside of North America, the EcoSport is seen as a solution for small car owners to step up into a SUV without sacrificing space and economy. It also helps that it looks and acts like a Ford. And, Ford’s customers have responded – even those who live in the suburbs and small towns out on the countryside.
Will all of this be enough for customers to keep flocking to this small SUV? We drove a 2019 Ford EcoSport SES with all-wheel-drive to find out.
The EcoSport shares a common platform with the Ford Fiesta, but that’s where the similarities stop. With a raised ground clearance and taller profile, the EcoSport has its own distinctive look. It’s more of a reduced size Escape than a raised Fiesta variant, which makes the EcoSport stand out in its class. It is also a very short vehicle—161.3 inches long with a 99.2-inch wheelbase. These measurements are about an inch or two longer than the Fiesta hatchback.
The front end fits within Ford’s design language, including its large headlamp and fog lamp units. The rear end is crowned with a wraparound rear quarter glass that also frames the tailgate. Actually, the “tailgate” hinges on the driver’s side. It is because that most markets offer the EcoSport with an external spare tire.
Another thing about the tailgate is the location of the release. We found that when people unfamiliar with the EcoSport tried to open it from the area above the license plate—located where you find it on most SUVs. If you look toward the passenger side and find the chrome piece that is a part of the taillamp unit, put your hand underneath there and click on the button. That is how you open up the tailgate.
Behind that tailgate door, there are 20.9 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats. Fold down those seats, and you have 50 cubic feet to play with. Cabin-wise is a designed for four passengers, five people in a pinch. If everyone is of average-sized, you could seat four of them easily. If one of us would be of a larger size, perhaps some combination of two adults, one pre-teen child and an infant in a child seat.
Front seats offer some support and comfort. Our SES tester offers a mix of cloth with leatherette bolsters. Our view outward was wide open, due to a huge frontal glass area and a low cowl. A taller driver would look down on a pretty good instrument binnacle, including clear to read dials and a nice information screen in-between the speedometer and tachometer. A tablet-like infotainment screen crowns the center stack to finish the instrument panel’s look.
There are two powertrain options on the EcoSport. Front-wheel drive models come with a 123-horsepower 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive models get a 166-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. Our tester came with the latter and we found it to be just fine for this small SUV. In terms of fuel economy, we averaged 23.2 MPG.
The ride appears to be on the firm side, with some feedback from the road. It tends to bounce a bit on some sections of highway and side streets. Handling is on the soft side, showing a subtle degree of roll and lean through the turns. The steering offers a pretty tight turning radius, due to its size. Steering wheel response is good, but devoid of road feel. On-center feel is quite decent. The brakes are actually very good with superb stops in normal and panic situations.
Pricing for the EcoSport starts at $19,995 for an S model with front-wheel drive. Our SES tester came with a sticker price of $28,380.
For small, urban-ready SUVs, there are plenty of choices. The EcoSport matches up well against the Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, Toyota C-HR, Nissan Kicks, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Mazda CX-3, Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Soul.
If it is a Ford that you want, the EcoSport looks like a good starting point. It serves well as an urban runabout or a short hop shopper. Give a look and see if it fits your small vehicle needs.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors