Ford stunned the automotive world earlier this year by announcing they were no longer going to sell cars in the USA, only trucks, SUV’s, crossovers and the odd Mustang or two. Now along comes the EcoSport to show us what a car-free Ford will look like, and there’s nothing about the EcoSport that’s conventional, from its 1.0-Liter base engine to its clamshell rear hatch.
We’ve talked before about the popularity of crossovers and SUV’s being more a factor of the car manufacturer’s marketing and product offering than people’s real wants, and this EcoSport is the perfect example. People have convinced themselves that sitting up higher makes them safer, but as a highly trained driver I’m going to take a moment to rain on that parade. It actually makes you less safe in most cases.
The reason that it ‘feels’ safer is that most drivers (yes, you too) don’t look far enough ahead when on the road. You can see this most when you’re on the highway and a police officer has someone pulled over up ahead. You’ll notice that most people don’t slow down or move over until the very last second, because they weren’t looking far enough down the road. The number one thing you can do to be a safer driver is to always look as far toward the horizon as possible. Sitting up higher means you can see what’s around your car easier, not what’s ahead. It actually encourages and reinforces the bad driving behavior of looking right in front of your car instead of the horizon.
Somehow, this 13-foot long car (it is just a tall car after all) manages to weigh almost 3400lb, and because of that it’s not the most cost-efficient offering in the segment. Rated at just 23-city and 29-highway MPG, the 2.0-liter non-turbo that we tested also didn’t have quite enough power to get the EcoSport moving. Almost full ten seconds to get to sixty means that you’re always having to use a lot of throttle to get around, leading to the disappointing efficiency. The little 3-cylinder only makes 123hp, while the 2.0-liter is good for 166hp.
One thing the EcoSport offers that many of its competitors lack is an AWD option, a welcome addition for those of us who live in areas where there is a winter. Inside the EcoSport, there’s a real feeling of it being small. However, there is usable space thanks to the boxy exterior design. Too many small crossovers these days go for sloped roof lines that just end up cutting into the interior space. Of course, they look a little sleeker than the boxy, upright EcoSport, but the usable space is appreciated. In the tradeoff between looks and utility, Ford made the right choice here.
There’s plenty of tech on the inside as well, with Ford’s excellent Sync-3 system to control things. There’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but the base stereo system leaves a lot to be desired. Interior materials are funky, with a matte-orange Aluminum trim that definitely punches for that hip, urban vibe. Unfortunately, the general shape and type of vehicle aren’t quite as hip. Many times we look to Europe for what’s on trend, and over there – they would just drive a hatchback like the outgoing Ford Fiesta. Either way, cars like the EcoSport are here to stay, so we might as well learn to like it! Especially with the EcoSport being one of the most cost-efficient offerings in the segment, starting at just $19,995 MSRP, beating both 2018 Toyota C-HR and 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport at $22,500 and $21,640 MSRP respectively.
Special thanks to Ford Motor Company for providing the
2018 Ford Ecosport for review