By Ella Patterson
• Above-average cargo space for the class
• All-wheel drive can be ordered at every trim level
• Widespread availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
• Base engine might struggle while carrying passengers and cargo
• Below-average fuel economy scores
• Aside from blind-spot monitoring, advanced safety aids aren’t available
A great new crossover SUV in Ford’s lineup. Eyeing the burgeoning success of subcompacts such as the Chevrolet Trax and the Honda HR-V, Ford has dipped into its global cache to bring you the 2018 EcoSport.
Already on sale in other countries, the EcoSport is a small utility vehicle — it’s nearly a foot-and-a-half shorter than the Escape. Inside, the Escape boasts 34 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, while the EcoSport makes do with just 20.9 cubic feet (about 2 cubes fewer than a Focus hatchback). Among pint-size crossovers, though, the EcoSport’s cargo area is actually one of the largest in its class.
Ford has the latest entertainment technology. Almost all EcoSport trim levels are equipped with a large central touchscreen powered by the excellent Sync 3 infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Unfortunately, there’s not as much a priority on advanced safety equipment — a standard rearview camera and optional blind-spot monitor are the only modern-day driver aids you’ll find.
Another possible downside is the EcoSport’s available engines. A turbocharged three-cylinder with front-wheel drive is standard, while a slightly more powerful four-cylinder is paired with all-wheel drive. We’ve tested the three-cylinder in a Fiesta and Focus in the past and, to be frank, it’s slow. A Focus powered by this engine took a lethargic 10.6 seconds to accelerate from a stop to 60 mph. It’s going to be even pokier in the larger, heavier EcoSport, especially if you have passengers in tow. Performance gains with the four-cylinder might be a wash considering the added weight of the AWD powertrain.
Overall, though, the EcoSport looks to be a viable pick for a subcompact crossover SUV in 2018.
The SE is the sweet spot of the EcoSport lineup, packing a bunch of features into this small crossover. It’s more expensive than the base-level S, but in return you get more features plus greater access to option packages. If you’re thinking of adding the Convenience package, you might as well step up to the Titanium or SES. It’s included on both trims. Just note that the price of a fully loaded EcoSport is going to be close to roomier small crossovers, such as Ford’s Escape. The EcoSport’s 2.0-liter engine is a must if you frequently carry passengers.