By on October 11, 2017

2018 Ford EcoSportFord is a bit late to the micro SUV party, with trucklets like the Kia Soul and Chevrolet Trax hoovering up sales while the Blue Oval dawdles in getting its EcoSport to market. Finally, it appears for the 2018 model year.

By the way, even if there seems to be a couple of ways to pronounce the name of this little rig, Ford vigorously prefers we say “Echo-Sport” and not “Eek-Oh-Sport.” The company’s completely serious, despite beating us over the head for years with ads for the identically-prefixed “Eek-Oh-Boost” engines. Very good, then.

With the build-and-price tool for the EcoSport going live not long ago, let’s gander at the cheapest soft-roader in Ford’s showroom.

Plenty of speculation has been tossed around as to the future of the Fiesta beyond 2019, and it is this author’s opinion that the EcoSport (and maybe the cheapest Ranger) will takes its place in the lineup. Moving a customer from a Fiesta to an EcoSport would be semi-logical, given the diminutive SUV-esque stance and extra visual heft aided by contrasting lower-body cladding in this base model.

The sales staff would have their work cut out for them once the Fiesta customer sees the pricetag, though; an entry-level EcoSport, the S trim, opens a bid at $19,995 – about five grand more than a comparably equipped Fiesta. However, it’s not too far off a comparable base Kia Soul.

Under the hood, budget-conscious EcoSport shoppers will find Ford’s 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, lashed to a six-speed automatic transmission, sending 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. Its displacement is actually a few cubes less than that of the four-stroke, liquid-cooled mill residing under the composite hood of a top-of-the-line Arctic Cat Bearcat snowmobile, a machine weighing several leagues less than the EcoSport. Auto start-stop technology will no doubt help the EPA fuel economy ratings once those are released.

I remain unconvinced the rear hatch swing door is a good idea, as such a design hampers access in tight parking lots and becomes troublesome if one is trying to carry lengths of lumber. In fact, those examples used to be my go-to lines when trying to convince someone to buy an Escape instead of a RAV4 when I was selling Fords in the mid-2000s. I succeeded more often than not.

But since it’s there, let’s go all the way and put even more stress on those poor hinges and order the base EcoSport’s optional swing-gate mounted spare tire. I think it makes the trucklet look more rugged, in the same way putting a camo jacket on a four-year old makes them look more rugged. I’ll let the next owner deal with the inevitable sagging hinges and misaligned door latch. The door-mounted tire, it must be noted, is only offered on the base model and not on the highfalutin SES or Titanium, nor even on bread-and-butter SE trim.

Ford’s Sync infotainment system, a centre-mounted 4.2-inch LCD screen with backup cam, and a brace of USB ports cater to the tech-minded base EcoSport buyers, while 16-inch tires mounted on snazzy aluminium rims cater to the frugal. All colors on the grayscale, plus Lightning Blue and Race Red (above) are $0 choices.

I’ll keep the Ford EcoSport S outside the velvet Ace of Base for now, at least until I get the opportunity to sample it with the 1.0-liter triple.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in American dollars absent of freight and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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44 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Ford EcoSport S...”

  • avatar

    “…machine weighing several leagues less…”

    Isn’t a “league” a measure of distance or depth?

  • avatar

    Ford ran out of real E-words, so they made one up, and it sucks. I just hope they have fixed the past failures of the 1.0 EcoBoost. I really want to like that little engine.

  • avatar

    What a bone headed marketing team if they actually expect anyone to call this the “Echo” sport, after running EcoBoost marketing for a decade with the same spelling structure and capitalized mid-word letter.

  • avatar

    Hmmm…a generally competitive midsize fusion or a third world, outdated ecosport. I guess fashion rules.

  • avatar

    I do not anticipate purchasing this product.

  • avatar

    As “base” as it is, anything this small needs a manual transmission at least in the base trim.

  • avatar

    Let’s see is there anything nice I can say?

    It is better looking than the Trax and Encore.

    I like the door mounted spare (especially if it is the same size as all the other tires.)

  • avatar

    Awful looking little lump.

    And it’ll sell, just to troll me.

  • avatar

    Others have said it before, I’ll say again. Unless you live in an area where you absolutely need AWD, there is no reason to get a sub-compact CUV over a compact hatchback. The compact will have a superior engine and suspension with the same cargo capacity at the just about the same price.

  • avatar

    2018 EcoSport, yet another reason Mark Fields got fired. Late to market with a rehashed 5 year old model that was only designed for the 3rd world originally.

  • avatar

    If it swings it is not a hatch.

    The swinging door is more convenient in some cases as you can open it and stick something in without opening it all the way up. Sure you can open your hatch part way but now you are ducking down and under to put something in. That said I still prefer a hatch but an opening window with a reasonable size opening would do wonders. In our Mountaineer we rarely open the hatch, you can put the Costco bundle of toilet paper or paper towels through the window with ease. Now on the Escape you have to crack the hatch if you want to put something that big in.

  • avatar

    I for one love the swing-out hatch and rear mounted spare, if only for the fact that it reminds me of a Diahatsu Terios or other older Japanese cute-utes back when they were more fun and interesting and less optimized-conveyances. Jeep should have done this on the Renegade IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      A side-hinged hatch is a complete deal-killer for me. Most times when I open the hatch to pack and unpack cargo, it’s either hot and sunny, raining or snowing. Each way, I’m happy to have the shade and shelter of the hatch over my head. It saves space in tight parking areas, too. The functional advantage of the side hinged arrangement escape me. If you’re carrying lumber, get a roof rack!

      Owners of older Rav4s have shared complaints about the inconvenience of this, giving me yet another reason not to buy a Toyota. I hope Ford hinged the door to open towards the curb, rather than towards traffic, at least!

      • 0 avatar

        Oh I hear you, I’m speaking strictly from an aesthetic point of view. I likewise like having a traditional hatch. When camping, the back of the 4Runner makes a nice place to prepare food and such, while staying nice and dry with the hatch over your head.

      • 0 avatar

        @Wheatridger, the hinge is on the left side.

  • avatar

    3 cylinder. How cool is that. Brings back memories of the Geo Metro 1L. Does most of Europe still tax cars based on displacement rather than other criteria?

  • avatar

    I don’t know why the split hatch with a swing down tailgate isn’t more common. It was great in the Honda Element. It doesn’t even need a completely flat floor to be useful.

  • avatar

    The Ecosport is severely cramped and, at least in Brazil, not very well put together. Even the latest facelift wasn’t able to revert the trend towards better options in brazilian market, such as the HR-V. Yep, the “Fit-Gone-Wrong” is a better car. By far.

    • 0 avatar

      Aside from having sat in both the Trax and EcoSport, I checked their dimensions. Even if the EcoSport is noticeably shorter than the Trax, it has more legroom and cargo space.

      The HR-V is more of a hatchback car since it lacks the ground clearance and ride height of a traditional CUV.

      • 0 avatar

        The Ecosport is not that far from a hatchback either. The Trax is also cramped, and the Mexican-sourced version we get down here has less ground clearance than most compact cars sold here.

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