Test Drive Notes Library
- Today’s sub-compact. If you’re a person who, 10 years ago, would have bought a Ford Fiesta, but now have severe crossover envy, Ford comes to the rescue with the Fiesta of crossovers, the Ecosport. It’s taller and roomier than the Fiesta, but its today’s equivalent of the “sub-compact car.” While it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Fiesta, it’s priced lower than Ford's next largest crossover, the Escape. Expect to pay in the low to mid 20’s for a modestly equipped one, and mid to higher 20’s for a more loaded one.
- Packaging. It has all the advantages of a crossover. It’s taller, so it’s much easier to get in and out of, with better headroom. It's roomier and more versatile. And it has a useful cargo compartment in the back, as opposed to a trunk. The cargo compartment is modest, but it allows you to fold down the rear seats and expand it dramatically if you need to. It’s also available in all-wheel-drive for you snow people.
- Handling. It handles surprisingly well for a narrow, tall vehicle. It’s a little twitchy on the highway, but it steers accurately and corners confidently.
- You can load it halfway up. Our top-line Titanium model came with power everything, leather seats, Ford’s SYNC 3 entertainment system, an 8-inch touchscreen, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. It’s not a luxury car, but you can certainly make yourself comfortable in it.
Test Drive Notes Library
- A bit pokey. We drove an Ecosport with the larger of the two engines, a 2 liter, four cylinder. That’s the engine you get an all-wheel-drive Ecosport. With 166 horsepower, you won’t be breaking any land speed records. It’s fine around town, but feels a little wheezy when you need to jump on a highway or pass somebody. We imagine the smaller, 3-cylinder, 123 hp (the front-wheel-drive Ecosport engine) will be even wheezier. Mileage was also just OK. We got about 23 mpg overall. EPA says 25. For the 3-cylinder, EPA says 28. Trees might fold their arms and resist a bit when you try to hug them.
- Some noise. When you buy a relatively inexpensive car, one of the prices you often pay is the interior noise level. So while it’s par for the course, the Ecosport is somewhat noisy, specifically the engine noise under acceleration and road noise on the highway.
- Side opening rear gate. One of the great mysteries of the Ecosport was “how do you open the rear gate.” A latch under the license plate light? Nope. A button on the key fob? Nope. A swing of the foot under the rear bumper? Nope. A button or lever inside the car? Nope. Turns out the switch is extremely well hidden in the right tail light assembly. It’s comforting to know that if you accidentally leave your Ecosport unlocked, a thief will have to climb in through the back door to steal your golf clubs. The downside of the side-opening rear door is that if you’re parked close to a car behind you, you won’t be able to fully open it.
- Not enough safety. We recommend automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert to anybody who buys a new car these days. The Ecosport has only blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. The crucial automatic emergency braking is not available.
- Competition. It’s in the same price range as the Subaru Crosstrek, which is quieter, has a superior ride, and is available with all the important safety equipment.
- Visually, an acquired taste. We found it a little goofy looking. Your results may vary.
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