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2018 Ford EcoSport Overview
Ford may be an American company, but there are plenty of cars with its blue oval badge sold worldwide that we just don’t get here in the United States. One of them had been the EcoSport, a subcompact crossover that came out of Ford’s operations in Brazil over a decade ago and has since expanded to numerous other markets. For 2018, it arrives in the U.S. to take on the growing competition in the increasingly popular compact-crossover market, which includes vehicles like the Chevrolet Trax, Mazda CX-3, and Jeep Renegade.
The EcoSport looks like a smaller version of the Ford Escape, sporting the familiar and attractive Aston Martin-esque grille that has made its way across the Ford model range. It comes in 4 trims—S, SE, SES, and Titanium—with a choice of two engines and front- (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), although it’s worth noting that this is not an off-roader. The EcoSport’s basic design goes back to 2012, although Ford promises that the 2018 model has been significantly updated.
The EcoSport’s base powertrain is a minuscule turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine. The other option, which is twice as big but still relatively small, is a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine. Both are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and feature auto start-stop technology for better fuel efficiency, and AWD is only available with the 2.0-liter engine.
The EcoSport is a relatively tall vehicle with a relatively small footprint, which isn’t a great recipe for handling, but the SES trim does come with its own steering and suspension settings and standard AWD. The fully automatic AWD system is not set up for rough terrain, and it’s designed to send power to just the front wheels the majority of the time for maximum efficiency, bringing in the rear wheels only in situations that call for it.
Considering that its exterior dimensions are reminiscent of a squashed Ford Escape, the EcoSport is surprisingly roomy on the inside, particularly for rear passengers. The back seats fold 60/40, and with some finagling of the adjustable floor, you can achieve a flat (though slightly angled) load floor in the back. The cargo area is accessed not by a traditional hatch that lifts upward but by a side-opening cargo door, which will be a welcome feature for shorter drivers or those with low-ceilinged garages. In other markets, the EcoSport comes with a rear-mounted spare wheel on the cargo door, but U.S. models will have to do without.
The EcoSport’s Sync 3 infotainment system centers around a touchscreen in the middle of the dash that measures up to 8 inches on the higher trims and features swipe and pinch-to-zoom capabilities, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Higher trims receive a 110-volt outlet and pair of USB ports, and occupants can choose from up to 30 storage bins to stow any of their belongings. While the base S trim is relatively sparse, the SES comes with unique copper trim on the door panels, seats, and dashboard, and the range-topping Titanium trim gets a standard 10-speaker B&O Play audio system. As a brand-new model in the U.S., the EcoSport hasn’t yet been crash-tested by the usual authorities and safety info is sparse, but it will feature an available blind-spot information system with cross-traffic alerts.
It may be named the EcoSport, but this new compact crossover clearly puts an emphasis on “Eco” rather than “Sport” functionality. Regardless of the name, however, Ford needs an entry into the increasingly popular U.S. compact crossover segment, and this is a model that has sold well in several other world markets. Expect the 2018 Ford EcoSport to make its way to dealerships in the latter part of 2017.
Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.
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