As a car enthusiast, I spend a lot of time looking at cars. That being said, It’s rare that I see something that stops me dead in my tracks. That happened to me the other day, at a Ford dealer. While browsing for a new truck, I stumbled upon a 2018 Ford EcoSport. What caught my eye was the fifth tire bolted to the back like a Jeep. My first thought was that someone had modified a Ford Escape, but as I approached it I noticed it had completely different badges and it was smaller than the escapes. Baffled and confused about how a vehicle like this could be released without anyone noticing, I went online to find out more.
I was so intrigued by the EcoSport, that I went back to the dealer and I asked for a test drive. The car I drove had a 2.0L inline 4, as opposed to the 1.0L turbo three cylinder offered in other EcoSports. I drove a base model, where the only added options were 4-wheel drive and the larger engine (4-wheel drive is packaged with the 2.0L. You can’t get a 4×4 EcoSport with the 1.0L). Here are my thoughts after my drive:
Let’s start with the down sides. Right away I wasn’t a fan of the seating position. The seats were rigid and I could see them causing discomfort on long trips. Another disappointment was the transmission. The transmission was slow and clunky, making blocky shifts and holding onto gears way after you’ve taken your foot off the gas. Lastly, the entertainment system was rather lack luster, although an improved unit is available on higher trim levels.
These are the things I have no opinion on: The engine was fine, slow but it did the job for being such a cheap car. The back seats worked well as seats, they don’t have an exit row’s amount of leg room but they’re not cramped. The 4-wheel drive was rather un-noticeable, although I did drive it in dry conditions.
What I did like was the visibility. Looking out of the EcoSport is a breeze with very small blind spots. The small size of the car also gives the car an amazing turning circle. I had to park the car in between a Mustang and an Explorer which were slanted in the opposite direction of the way I came in, and I did it with ease. The spare tire on the back is a part of the base model, where the higher trims have road side assistance as well as a fix-a-flat kit in the trunk. I liked the 5th wheel, it gave the EcoSport a fresh look for Ford, who haven’t put a wheel on the back of a car since the old Ford Bronco in the 90s. The cargo room was surprising, given the smaller size of the EcoSport as compared to the Escape, but according to the dealership I visited, the EcoSport retains 92% of the cargo room as it’s sibling the Escape. Last but not least, I loved the styling. For an economy car, the EcoSport looks fantastic. It looks modern and aggressive, while being in the low $20k range.
The EcoSport is a micro SUV from Ford, that is selling in impressive numbers. According to the dealership I test drove the Eco Sport at, they sell more EcoSports than the new and improved Lincoln Navigator. The micro SUV category is growing in today’s market, with the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V rivaling the Ford. I’m a big fan of the Ford, and I can’t wait to see where these little SUVs go.