By on September 15, 2017

2018 Ford Escape Titanium aWD - Image: FordFor the 2018 model year, your local Blue Oval dealer will sell you an India-built Ford EcoSport Titanium AWD, with a handful of options, for $29,960.

Yes, that’s an uncomfortable MSRP for the funny-looking, tippy-toe-styled EcoSport, which Ford likes to pronounce echo-sport as if it’s a particularly athletic Toyota subcompact sedan circa 2003. But the entry point for Ford’s new entry-level crossover is much, much lower. At $20,990 including delivery — a 16-percent discount compared with the Ford Escape S — a 2018 Ford EcoSport sends power from its 1.0-liter turbo triple to the front wheels through a standard six-speed automatic transmission. 

2018 Ford Ecosport S - Image: FordAll-wheel drive and a 166-horsepower 2.0-liter four-pot add only $1,500 to the sticker of the basic 2018 Ford EcoSport S, which comes standard with a 123-horsepower EcoBoost 1.0-liter producing 125 lb-ft of torque.

While that basic EcoSport tips the scales at just over 3,000 pounds, when fully weighted down with all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter Ford says the cute-ute weighs 3,327 pounds. Ford says the 1.0, which isn’t available with all-wheel drive, can tow 1,400 pounds. The 2.0-liter, which will be equipped exclusively with all-wheel drive, tows up to 2,000 pounds. Entry-level wheels are interesting low-gloss magnetic-painted machined-face aluminum 16-inchers that lend an air of ruggedness to the EcoSport. Hey, don’t be so quick to snicker.

The EcoSport was originally geared towards emerging markets where roads are often questionable and the terrain untenable. The EcoSport thus offers 7.8 inches of ground clearance, substantially more than the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, or Buick Encore.

But the EcoSport is tiny, stretching just 161.3 inches stem to stern and offering only 20.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats. Ford’s own Escape, no Expedition mind you, is 17 inches longer and provides nearly two-thirds more cargo capacity. Even the Honda HR-V is eight inches lengthier than the EcoSport.

With a dearth of dimensional dominance, how does the 2018 Ford EcoSport compete on price?

Vehicle Base MSRP: Automatic Transmission & AWD
Buick Encore Preferred AWD
$26,790
Chevrolet Trax LS AWD
$23,395
Fiat 500X Pop AWD
$24,885
Ford EcoSport S AWD
$22,490
Honda HR-V LX AWD
$22,610
Jeep Renegade Sport 4×4
$23,915
Mazda CX-3 Sport AWD
$22,300
Mini Countyman All4
$30,950
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES AWC
$23,435
Nissan Juke S AWD
$23,075
Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i
$23,710

Every EcoSport save for the $27,735 SES comes standard with the 1.0-liter and front-wheel drive. (Every SES is an AWD 2.0.) The $23,900 SE adds SYNC 3, a sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control to the S. The Titanium, which starts at $26,735, is equipped with navigation, premium audio, leather seating, and 17-inch alloys. In between the Titanium and Titanium AWD 2.0 sits the SES, with sport suspension, navigation, and blind spot monitoring. At the top of the heap, a $28,235 2018 Ford EcoSport Titanium AWD 2.0 can be optioned up with special alloys, Ford’s keyless entry keypad, a Cold Weather package with, for example, a heated steering wheel, and numerous small goodies. The grand total is $29,960.

Think that’s crazy? According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price for a subcompact crossover in August 2017 was $24,387, just $395 less than the ATP of an average midsize car.2018 Ford Escape Titanium Interior - Image: FordU.S. subcompact crossover sales are up 10 percent this year, forming 3.3 percent of the overall market. So far this year, the Jeep Renegade is the segment’s top seller, but General Motors (with the Encore and Trax) own the largest chunk of the segment: 29 percent. Honda’s HR-V, up 28 percent through 2017’s first two-thirds, is the fastest-growing subcompact crossover in America.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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46 Comments on “The 2018 Ford EcoSport Starts at $20,990, But How Much Could You Spend on a Loaded EcoSport?...”


  • avatar
    statikboy

    No fuel economy numbers and comparison chart?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Why refer to the discontinued (or soon to be) Juke and not the Qashqai?

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Mini Countyman All4 – $30,950

    damn, no wonder these are so rare. Not many consumers are going to step up the extra few grand $$ to drive a Countryman over a Juke.

  • avatar

    Why not just choose the Compass? It’s bigger, looks *much* nicer, costs the same or a bit less, and actually has four cylinders? It doesn’t look stupid like the Renegade.

    I mostly hate all these things, but still, the EcoSport must sink to the bottom of the list.

  • avatar

    Also keep in mind a MUCH larger base Outback with AWD is $25K.

    These subcompacts are such poor value.

    • 0 avatar
      Wunsch

      That’s a foolish argument. If I’m somebody who wants a small, manoeuvrable vehicle, then I would see the Outback as significantly less valuable. Why would I want to pay more for something that doesn’t fit my needs?

      • 0 avatar

        Okay, people don’t buy cars based on most car for money. :)

        “Why would I want to pay more for something that doesn’t fit my needs?”

        The Range Rover and Escalade would like a word.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          The word would be “we are luxury SUVs, not mainstream vehicles competing with Hondas and Nissans.”

          • 0 avatar

            Oh you know what I mean. People in the US buy far more car than they need, all the time. The number of people who need a standard Suburban is probably 8% of the number who buy one each year. Yes there’s a subset of buyers who intentionally pick a compact CUV because A) they want a CUV and B) they want a small one.

            I think most buyers though A) want a CUV and B) can’t swing payments on a larger one.

            So if given the opportunity for some of these, if they could have a larger CUV for the same money, they would. Otherwise they wouldn’t be shopping basic trim levels like this. That suggests wallet constraints to me.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        Its not a foolish argument, because its literally how most shoppers buy cars and how most dealers market and sell them.

        If the majority of people just bought what fit their needs, cars in the US (on average) would be smaller, offer less content, and possibly be cheaper.

        For instance, I COULD try to find a base model Ecosport which likely almost NO Ford dealers will actually stock, or I could get the still pretty small Subaru Forester 2.5i for only $23,470 MSRP (if I configured right on the website), which is LESS than the Crosstrek Listed above.

        Subaru still offers a manual transmission on this, and of course it has AWD. The 2.5i adds a sunroof, power seats, automatic climate control, and heated seats, and more cargo in the back.
        ,

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      They aren’t a poor value if you lease. My father’s Encore costs under $120/month and he only put the first month’s payment and taxes/plates down at signing.

    • 0 avatar
      JonBoy470

      The base Outback has steel wheels with wheel covers, doesn’t come with floor mats, and the stereo is a clock radio glued into the dash. The thing is a unicorn. Also keep in mind the Big 3 don’t make any sales at MSRP after the first month or so. Ford will put money on the hood to move the metal, much more so than Subaru ever does. It’s the JC Penney sales model. You’ll be able to get the base model EcoSport well under $20k out the door within 6 months after it comes out.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        @JonBoy470 – actually, no. The base Outback is equipped with 17″ alloy wheels, a 6.5″ touch-screen audio system with 4 speakers, and carpeted floor mats. The all-weather rubber mats are, indeed, optional. The current year is 2017 not 1992 and Subaru appears to be less of a unicorn than you may believe.

        • 0 avatar
          BobNelson

          bullnuke,

          “The current year is 2017 not 1992…”

          Bravo!

          This blog seems to be time-warped back several decades. Many posts sing praise to… dinosaurs. America’s junky-but-huge “luxury cars” died out because buyers realized just how awful they were, and stopped buying them.

          I fully understand the “LOOK AT ME!!!” appeal of an Escalade, and there is a niche market for buyers who wish to proclaim to the world, “I am happy to spend big bucks for a tarted-up truck!”

          … but I suspect that the population who wouldn’t be caught dead in an Escalade is considerably larger…

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    I really don’t understand who is supposed to comprise the market for this in developed countries like the US and Canada. As everyone has already pointed out, virtually everything else in the segment is roomier, more practical and likely a better driver, and I really see absolutely nothing worthwhile or rational in spending close to $30k on one of these things. I wonder if this is nothing more than a maneuver by Ford to pay penance for the CAFE sins perpetrated by the F-series, Mustang GT, etc?

    (Then again, I think all of these micro CUVs are an affront to the senses and I mostly detest them, so I’m probably a little biased.)

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “…I really see absolutely nothing worthwhile or rational in spending close to $30k on one of these things.”

      Unless you just want a small, but well equipped vehicle. Besides, its not as though it starts near $30k, in fact, it tops out there. I’m sure most sales will be S and SES models.

  • avatar
    denster2u

    The styling is goofy as hell – literally looks like someone stuck a Fiesta in a vise. Even more sad – this will likely be replacing the Fiesta in our market.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    That interior looks pretty miserable; if I were stuck in the segment I’d take a Renegade with the 1.4 Multiair and manual trans. Second choice would be the HR-V.

  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    Shame on Ford. It probably costs Ford less than $10k to build and ship a base model EcoSport to N. America from India. I understand people in India need jobs, but the wage discrepancy between N. American buyers and Indian (and Chinese, BTW) workers is just too great. Ford proposes a money grab on the backs of Indian workers at the expense of N. American workers.
    Google “jib jab big box mart” if you are unclear on how this turns out.

  • avatar
    ezs

    Bad car designed in (and for) a Bad country, Brazil! Which is the country I am from.

    No legroom in the back seat, no cargo space, narrow cabin. I would like to know what did Ford do with the spare tire. Here in the third world it sits outside the tailgate which opens laterally!! So tailgaters gonna hate the car as there is no shadow. Also you cannot open it if the car is a little bit close to another car or to a wall.

    Since the first generation, I don’t like it. Ford in Brazil was saved by Ecosport, wich is since the beginning just a Fiesta with cladding and higher suspension!

  • avatar
    brn

    Even $21K is too much for base, small, hatchback.

  • avatar
    deanst

    At the risk of sounding like the idiot analyst who predicts that 3 series sales will go to 0 when tesla model 3 production is up to speed, but in what world does anyone buy a 125 hp Ford over a similarly priced 175 hp Honda Civic hatchback? (And yes, I know both have gotten more than their fair share of hits with the ugly stick.)

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “but in what world does anyone buy a 125 hp Ford over a similarly priced 175 hp Honda Civic hatchback? ”

      a world where the vast majority of us aren’t on the spectrum and don’t declare one car better than another based solely on one number.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        “a world where the vast majority of us aren’t on the spectrum and don’t declare one car better than another based solely on one number.”

        As someone who works with kids on the spectrum, if the urge ever comes to fire a couple of bullets into your skull comes over you, I say do it.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Because “CUV!” Ford plays the market correctly by pitching this as a CUV…don’t dare call it a hatchback, even if that is mostly what it is. I’ve seen a few up close over here, and they are tiny. Dimensionally, they look a tad “off” for my taste, somewhat awkward. But I DD a Ford Escape when I’m back in the US, so I may be judging it based on my own vehicle.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I wonder if there will be a Lincoln version?

  • avatar
    BobNelson

    “Think that’s crazy? According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price for a subcompact crossover in August 2017 was $24,387, just $395 less than the ATP of an average midsize car.”

    My wife and I are trans-Atlantic snowbirds, splitting the year between France and Arizona. (That isn’t boasting — real estate in the Southwest is CHEAP by French standards. The low purchase price pays for a lot of airplane tickets!)

    When we needed to buy a “stateside car” a few years ago, we visited all the stores, tried everything available. We settled on a Buick Encore.

    I’m 6’6″, 285 lbs… and 70 years old. I have owned (and adored) an Alfa 147 and a Peugeot 104ZS (Google it!), but as the years pass, my car-buyer criteria evolve.

    Nowadays, I want comfort, quiet, and ease of entry/exit. The zero-to-sixty time is utterly unimportant. We rarely have passengers (other than our little grandchildren once in a while) so “small is good”.

    Our Encore carries us across the continent a couple times every year, tourist trips that take two to three weeks. The car cruises COMFORTABLY AND QUIETLY at 80 mph. We load a ridiculous amount of baggage with the rear seats folded — wives are women, after all!

    I keep an eye on the market, because our French-side cars are ten years old. (In great condition… but ten years old all the same…) I see nothing that is better matched to our “wants and needs” than an upscale cute-ute.

    American manufacturers have never wanted to break the tie between size and status… allowing ridiculous margins for Audi & Co. Cute-utes are the closest that US manufacturers come to filling this niche.

    Customers are willing to pay a premium for cute-utes because these cars are the most reasonable on the market.

  • avatar
    Oosh

    Easily the worst new car I’ve ever driven, had one for a day last year, and it compared unfavourably to my wife’s old 90s beater Hyundai Excel.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I was looking around on Ford’s site over the weekend and was surprised to see that I could now build an Echo-sport. I couldn’t believe that it could be optioned up to the $30000 range, but I would some imagine people will buy loaded trims. But they will probably also buy a lot of S trims.

    At least you get actual alloys with the S instead of the steel wheels and wheel covers of the Ess-cop-ay S.

    These things will probably be cheap in 2019 and beyond on the used market.

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