Ace of Base: 2018 Ford EcoSport S

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2018 ford ecosport s

Ford 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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4 of 44 comments
  • Eyeofthetiger Eyeofthetiger on Oct 11, 2017

    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.

  • Victor Victor on Oct 11, 2017

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Victor Victor on Oct 14, 2017

      @AG4 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.