Are you eccentric and adventurous? This compact SUV may be perfect for you.
With SUVs dominating the market, it can be tough to choose the one that’s right for you. But I have a feeling anyone test driving the Ford EcoSport would know instantly if this was “their car.” With a sporty look and several eccentric features, this car might be for you if you like to do things just a little differently in life.
Who This Car is For
- Singles, couples and growing families
- Buyers who want a compact SUV at an affordable price
- Adventurous couples who don’t want to give up their lifestyle when baby makes three
- People who need flexible space in their vehicle
- Drivers who need to stay connected with technology in their cars
- People who want a capable, yet quirky, compact SUV
What it Costs
The 2018 Ford EcoSport comes in four trim levels and you can choose from a front-wheel drive, turbo-3, and all-wheel-drive versions. For this review, I drove the 2018 EcoSport SES 4WD with an MSRP of $26,740.
- The EcoSport S starts at $19,995.
- SE trim starts at $23,000 and adds a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel, moonroof, reverse sensing system and more.
- Titanium trim starts at $25,880. You’ll get silver-painted roof rack side rails, cross-traffic alert, and a HARMAN speaker system, as well as many features in the SES trim.
- The SES trim starts at $26,880, adding features such as heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and an 8-inch color LCD touchscreen.
Surprise! The cargo door swings out.
The Ford EcoSport is an eccentric little SUV that kept surprising me. First, let’s talk about this cargo door.
Yes, it swings out and not up. I opened the cargo door every time I parked the car so I could test if this is a significant difference. And it is. There’s the obvious issue of not being able to open it if another car is parked close behind you. That’s a problem.
Then there’s the fact that you have to walk around it to unload cargo if you need to unload to the left. When this car was parked in my (tight) garage and the cargo door was open, I literally could not get around the door and into my garage. So I had to unload my groceries onto the driveway just outside my garage, then close the cargo door and bring all the groceries into the garage and into the house.
But again, if you like to shake things up and live life on the wild side, that side-swing cargo door is unique.
The lone wiper and more surprises
Other quirky features of this car include:
- a single, large windshield wiper. It worked perfectly, but was surprising to see in action!
- a cooling glove box. There is a rotary control deep inside the glove box that allows you to direct air from the air conditioning into the box. It won’t keep anything super cold, but it’s a neat little feature and might save your M&Ms from melting on a hot day.
- adjustable cargo floor. This unique cargo management feature lets you set the height of the cargo floor so you can hide things underneath! I loved this feature.
- choice of colors for ambient lighting. I loved playing with this feature and changing the color to fit my mood.
Basic, but with many simple pleasures
While the EcoSport lacks some high-end options such as adaptive cruise and auto high beams, it packs a lot into its mid-$20K price. The cabin is very comfortable and the backseat space is quite good for a compact car. My daughter thought the seats were super comfortable. And the tilting/telescoping steering wheel makes it easy to get just the right position for your driving pleasure.
The styling is also unique, from the interesting lines of the dashboard to the cool little triangular window cut-outs.
Using the 5-way control on the steering wheel, you can easily and intuitively customize the display on the instrument panel in front of you. You can also control volume and advance MP3 tracks from the steering wheel if you have your phone synced.
The 8-inch color LCD touchscreen is responsive and the rest of the dash controls are minimalist and intuitive. There are no backseat USB’s but there are two in the front that are extremely accessible. I love a car with easy-to-reach USB ports.
You’ll stay safe with features like the rear view camera, rear sensor, blind spot sensor, and cross-traffic alert.
The EcoSport is also equipped with Auto Stop, a feature that shuts down the engine when you are stopped at a light or in traffic. As soon as you lift your foot from the brake, the engine starts up with virtually no lag. This feature is designed to cut down on emissions. But if the subtle feeling of stopping and starting bothers you, it’s easily turned off with the touch of a button.
I also loved the keyless entry which just worked. Touch to unlock, touch again to lock. Some cars make this feature unnecessarily complicated.
My first bluetooth phone call experience!
One thing Ford does well is tech. I never had a problem getting my phone synced or figuring out the infotainment system. In a lot of cars, I’m not sure the tech is going to work like I expect it to. But Ford makes me confident. So confident, that I answered my phone in the car for the first time in the Ford EcoSport.
Yes, I know it’s not a big deal for many of you who are used to tech and bluetooth and taking calls on the road. But I don’t have any of that technology in the car I normally drive. So when I have a car on loan to review, I’ve been reluctant to try it. This time, when my phone rang and I saw the simple notification pop up, I decided to go for it. I clicked “answer.”
“Hello?” To my delight, it worked! I sat there in the driver’s seat and had a quick discussion with my doctor’s assistant. We could hear each other clearly and I wasn’t distracted at all. When the call was done, I did nothing. The other party hung up and that was that.
What We Loved
- Sporty look of the vehicle
- Clever cargo management system that lets you configure the cargo space
- Easy access to USB ports
- Ambient lighting color options
- Ease of connectivity for smartphones
What You Should Know
- The tailgate swings out instead of up.
- Fuel economy is 23 MPG city / 29 MPG highway
- Cargo space is 20.9 cubic feet, 50 cubic feet with seats down
- Comes with a 3 yr/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5 yr/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Disclosure: The Ford EcoSport was loaned to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.