By on January 30, 2018

Ford has finally brought its subcompact crossover to the United States. The 2018 Ford EcoSport, pronounced “EchoSport” for some reason, is hitting dealer lots as I type. Available in other markets since 2012, the recently refreshed second-generation EcoSport arrives on our shores to take on segment favorites like the Mazda CX-3 and Buick Encore.

The world seems to love mini crossovers. Ford is late to the party here, but the Blue Oval crowd are trying to make up ground with a class leading vehicle the best they could do on a budget. We have not driven the EcoSport, but we have sat in it. If anyone asks, we did not break any trim pieces. After sitting in the EcoSport, opening its doors, touching its Cozy Coupe-grade plastics, using its inconvenient rear hatch, and not being able fit my feet into the back seat, it is obvious that it is not good. No road test will change that.

But here we are, and Ford needs to offer a product in this segment. Engineering a vehicle for Third World markets while GM brought the upscale-branded Buick Encore to the U.S. proved to be a misstep. Now Ford has to poach buyers, make bold moves, and go further. We all know what that means: a marketing campaign!

According to Ford, the EcoSport is here to hack your life.

Ford used a YouGov survey of more than 3,000 American adults that identified aspects of their lives they wish they could “life hack.” The top life hacks on the list are the opportunity to better their commute, have adventures and improve their social life. So it took a survey to find out that people want a better commute, do fun stuff, and interact with other people. Great. Let’s take a look at how Ford says the EcoSport can help.

Up first, the commute. According to Ford’s ad copy, the EcoSport will do the following:

Improving the daily commute is easy with Ford EcoSport, whether through enhanced connectivity that enables customers to listen to their favorite podcasts, technologies that allow them to optimize their journey by avoiding traffic jams, or the ability to control their household features from the road.

Translation: Ford is putting Alexa in your EcoSport. Now your child, who needed their shins removed in order to fit in the backseat, can ask Alexa obscene things or order Tide Pods from the convenience of the freeway. It will also add WiFi, lots of charging capabilities, and Waze. Consider your commute hacked.

The vehicle can also accommodate a crib-sized blow-up mattress when you need that afternoon nap. I hope you don’t store anything in your trunk or have a child seat anchored in your EcoSport.

Next up, adventure:

Along with a vehicle that offers versatility and stamina, today’s road trips require plenty of space for people and ample storage for travel bags, digital devices and gear. For adventure-ready storage and clever use of space, the all-new EcoSport offers as many as 30 storage pockets, bins and hooks to make efficient use of every inch of the interior.

Translation: 30 pockets! This is an important metric for a car. Forget about reliability. Pockets! The EcoSport has enough trunk space for three small- to medium-sized bags. Ford has added many bins, pockets and compartments for your avocados, beard trimmer attachments, bitcoin, fabric pieces, tape, and paint swatches. The EcoSport’s Intelligent 4WD system will get you across potholed urban hellscapes. It can also traverse grass parking lots at your next mud race. #adventure

EcoSport can also help your social life:

Whether joining a club, participating in a sport, doing community volunteer work, or making the effort to spend more time with friends and family, EcoSport offers several ways to help customers improve their social life. Its movable floor board and fold-away second-row seats provide a flat area to safely haul objects of all shapes and sizes – whether equipment to the big game, flowers to a weekend gardening club or homemade cupcakes to a bake sale.

Spending more time with loved ones means more travel, and EcoSport’s available B&O PLAY™ premium audio system by HARMAN features 10 speakers and nine amplified channels to ensure every sing-along is the memorable bonding experience customers signed up for.

Translation: What!?!? EcoSport will improve your social life and sing alongs? It will do this by offering a nice audio system and fold-away second-row seats? At least Ford admits the back seat is trash and your friends won’t sit back there. Fold down those seats so you can bring one pan of brownies to your gentrification meeting of choice. Just bring a fold up table, a cooler, and some chairs, too. Throw in a back-of-the-door organizer for maximum hanging.

Ford isn’t just content with telling everyone how the EcoSport can hack their life. It’s launching a multi-week marketing campaign as EcoSport arrives at dealerships. This started with its “EcoSport Life Hack Academy” in New York City last week. The EcoSport Life Hack Academy features top life-hacking experts from across the country, including life-hacker and TV personality Tia Mowry. It appears the marketing budget was only big enough to afford one of the sisters from the 1990s sitcom Sister Sister.

The event includes hacks on weekend getaways, fitness, meal preparation, small spaces and careers. However, the event does not seem to focus on things that are important to actual cars. Quality, fuel-economy, and how the EcoSport drives are less important to Ford than Whole30 meal prep.

Ford will also expand its ad campaign with a digital component aimed at helping consumers experience various first-ever adventures. Visitors to the campaign website answer the question, “What do you want to do for the first time?” and Ford responds by making some dreams a reality. Yes, now Jim Hackett is your fairy godmother.

Ford is setting itself up for some interesting first-time adventures. I hope the company is able to make some come true. If the campaign website keeps my information private, maybe I’ll see what Ford can do for me. Hey, maybe they can grant my wish of Ford building a quality subcompact CUV! So much for dreams…

Whatever your answer is to the question, “What do you want to do for the first time?” it shouldn’t be “purchase a 2018 Ford EcoSport.”

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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80 Comments on “The 2018 Ford EcoSport Hacks Your Life...”

  • avatar

    “flowers to a weekend gardening club or homemade cupcakes to a bake sale.”

    Call me crazy, but this may not be the vehicle for me.

    • 0 avatar

      When do the kids have time for those activities when everybody’s working for the weekend?

    • 0 avatar

      The thought of doing any of those things or owning a car conducive to them makes me want to be buried alive.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m pretty sure my Mom has done both of those things within the past couple weeks using my/her Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon, oddly enough. That thing can hold a LOT of cupcakes. And garden crap – she is making over my yard as thanks for my putting up with her in FL for the winter. :-) Has a real back seat too. But “wagon” so no sale today…

        I just can’t fathom the fashionista who would look at this turd and choose it over a Golf. Or even a Mazda3.

        • 0 avatar

          Yep, that “Eco”-Sport looks as bad as original Chevy Trax (or Buick). Polished turd on high hills. It’s unfortunate that soon similar crap may be our only choice (besides used but proper car). I’d rather drive jalopy.

    • 0 avatar

      All that verbiage is the product of some unfortunate marketing schmuck’s homework assignment. Too bad there’s nothing in those lighthearted paragraphs that practically every other car on the market can do just as well, if not better.

      (Oh, crap, I bought a mini-CUV, and my potted rosebushes just won’t fit! I should have bought a Kia instead. Plan B, then, a couple of dozen cupcakes for the &$%@#! bake sale. Sigh…)

  • avatar

    What do I want to do for the first time? Careening into a bridge abutment comes to mind if I ever find myself in possession of one these penalty boxes.

  • avatar

    Comparing this to the current US Fiesta, they seem to have added a rear seat bottom bench that folds forwards in order to make the seatbacks horizontal. I say horizontal instead of flat, because unfortunately even in the press photos (see the picnic one pictured here) you can see that there is a still large step from the lowest point in the rear cargo area to the seatbacks even when folded in this horizontal position.

    The interior rear storage space actually appears a little worse to my eye. I wonder if AWD has any impact there. Could just be the photo, but the rear hatch area looks a little shallower (though some Fiestas have the option to lower the little shelf to another position). And the areas to the side are filled in with plastic rather than having very small cutout pocket.

    I suppose the side-opening door is a clever feature if you want to hang your shoe rack at a picnic? What is going on there

    • 0 avatar

      Catch Michael Karesh quick review on Facebook and this has the cheapest plastic interior to be sold state side for decades.

    • 0 avatar

      “Comparing this to the current US Fiesta, they seem to have added a rear seat bottom bench that folds forwards in order to make the seatbacks horizontal.” – so basically like in 1st gen Focus. The original “Magic seat” (though not unlikely it’d been done even before that).

      • 0 avatar

        All else the same, the folding bottom seat would be a nice, small practicality improvement over the current Fiesta. Yet even with that addition it can’t hold a candle to the way the Honda Fit / HR-V seats collapse flat with the rear load floor. When you take the driving verve out of the Fiesta platform, what does the Ecosport have left to recommend it over the other subcompacts with 4WD?

        If what Adam Tonge mentioned about the Ecosport Storm below means that Ford will bring some sort of off-road performance version with real power and 4WD, that actually might put the driving experience back into the equation as a selling point on one trim level, I guess.

  • avatar

    So are Ford’s turbo motors supposed to be called “echo-boost”? Or is Ford just trying too hard to keep the pronunciation of this tall Fiesta in line with the other E models- Edge, Explorer, Expedition…?

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Turbo motors = “eco-boost”
      Subcompact crossover = “echo-sport”

      So you can drive your EcoSport, with an the 1.0T EcoBoost I3, economically to an ecology class.

  • avatar

    “The 2018 Ford EcoSport, pronounced “EchoSport” for some reason, is hitting dealer lots as I type.”

    Because ‘ecology’ is not pronounced as ‘ee-cology’. That’s the reason.

    And in case anybody was wondering, ‘Iraq’ is not pronounced as ‘Eye-rack’ nor ‘Iran’ as ‘Eye-ran.’

    • 0 avatar

      And Paris is not pronounced Pair-is, it’s pronounced Pah-ree, but who’s keeping count?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, but language is fundamentally arbitrary, and so, should I say this vehicle’s name to someone for–likely only to occur should someone say they’re going to buy one, and I am then duty-bound to dissuade them from doing so–I shall pronounce it “ee-co sport”, if only to spiritually voice my annoyance at Ford for third-assing a creation like this into our domestic market.

      Also, has anyone ever NOT been annoyed by the usage of the word “hack” to mean “improved method for doing”?

    • 0 avatar

      I think he’s just pointing out Ford’s own inconsistency in how they market the Eco name, as it’s pronounced “eeko” in their EcoBoost engines yet pronounced “ecko” in the EcoSport.

      Besides, I’ve heard ecology pronounced both ways in the US as is referenced as such in some dictionaries.

    • 0 avatar

      They are pronounced that way where I live.

  • avatar

    The hate for a marketing campaign full of annoying, millennial friendly buzz words is understandable, but let’s wait until you actually drive it before declaring it terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      It will be difficult for me to drive one as my knee rests on the dashboard with the seat all the way back. Even if it drives alright for a subcompact CUV, it is not a vehicle worth spending time in, especially for the money.

      The dealership by me has one for $27,000. Please people of America, if you are going to spend $27,000 on an EcoSport, please consider a Golf (I drove a 2018 Golf 1.8T last year that had an MSRP of $20,000), Mazda3, Civic, or other compact hatch instead. Also, if you want a crossover from Ford, get a lesser equipped Escape. It is so much better, made in Kentucky, and only 20 inches longer. Unless you have to park in the smallest of parallel parking spots, an EcoSport isn’t necessary.

    • 0 avatar

      But that’s old-school thinking, dwford. This is the internet, where the first one to attack wins. AT TTAC, we crush ’em before we touch ’em, Boo-Yah! ; )

      Actually, they’re starting to give me some sympathy for the poor little thing.

    • 0 avatar

      Whew, hard for me to suggest this is some kind of good ride for the latest generation of soccer moms, but it can happen. When I divorced m ex, she was driving a Sienna with all of the bells and whistles (leather captain chairs, wireless DVD headphones, etc.), but I was informed that she needed another car (it was 1 year old), I guess because it didn’t fit her upcoming “Cougar mom” status.

      So just to get her off my ass, I went and signed her up for an awesome Saturn Vue (yup, even got the V6).

      I knew its heritage, Opel if I’m not mistaken, and I think it remains a platform for other GM micro-CUVs. I stuck around before the divorce was final, I was driving a a Lexus at the time, but used the Vue for kid-hauling to school.

      Every morning, the kids complained about how small the back seat was, they had no entertainment, and being on the same bench seat led to many turf wars. After the divorce, she ignored the court order to get my name off the loan, and within 90 days it was repossessed.

      My kids laugh about it now, because they got to endure a variety of Hyundais and Kias after that.

      With a 50% divorce rate these days, if Ford puts some money on the hood, and has a good lease program, they’ll sell 100k, no problem. Meanwhile, I’ll take the 5% dividend yield, and the P/E of 6 and wait patiently for some decent cars from Ford. First start, take Lincoln behind the barn and put a bullet in it.

      Sorry, probably way TMI, but in many cases that’s why pieces of crap like this get sold.

  • avatar

    My local dealer which likes to leave cars open on Sunday supposedly has 1 in stock (with 27 coming on the slow boat from India).

    I’ll have to check this turd out soon.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t see why anyone in the US/Canada would buy one of these. On the other hand, I was in one a lot in a big Western Indian city (Ahmedabad– a little over 6 million people, very dense traffic, tight roads/parking, mix of quite good roads/useless ones, and routine semi-offroading as practical activity, not recreation). It makes sense there, and wouldn’t be seen as all that small in that market; after a while, a VW Polo looks kinda big in Ahmedabad. On the Ford India configurator, about the most you can pay for an EcoSport is about $17,500.

  • avatar

    These are just so tiny. I can’t think of any reason to own such a small vehicle, but then again, I have a one-year-old son and his giant car seat made me upgrade from a Mazda3 to a Mazda6. Can’t imagine stuffing it in something like this. That being said, if I was younger and childless, I’d rock an AWD CX-3.

    I see the HR-V and Encore/Trax everywhere. I wonder if the EcoSport will be as popular with the old folks as the Encore seems to be.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    The 2001 Pontiac Aztek with camping package looks at the 2018 Ford EcoSport and says

    Anything you can do, I can do better,
    I can do anything better than you.

  • avatar

    It’s a compact crossover. They’ll sell billions of them. Enough said.

  • avatar

    Saw one of these last weekend at a Ford dealer, but did not drive it. Maybe I should. Or maybe I should don a hairshirt and re-enact the self-flagellating monk scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

  • avatar

    “Life Hack #37: To avoid a lumpy comforter, toss a few tennis balls in the clothes dryer with the comforter after washing it. You can easily fit a can of tennis balls in the cargo area of your new Ford EcoSport, the CUV that hacks your life.”

  • avatar

    Ford should redesign the combustion chamber and call the new engines the EcoChamber (said: echo-chamber).

  • avatar

    Just saw one at the Ford dealer. Proportions are horrible (but it is hard to make a subcompact CUV look good). Only Mazda has succeeded with the CX-3.

    After test driving a CX-3 and knowing the ECHO-Sport will be in the same price range, there is no need for the EcoSport to exist in North America.

    I don’t think it has a realistic chance against the Encore, HR-V and CX-3…all of which are markedly better (this assumption made without testing the EcoSport but pretty sure I’m correct).

  • avatar

    Look it’s a Jacked UP Fiesta!!! For 14K over sticker!!! I gotta buy it!!! I think we have reached Peak Compact Crossover. For 27K the only hacking that this thing is going to do is to your bank account.

  • avatar

    It was designed by hacks, too.

  • avatar

    It doesn’t matter what it drives like or the fact that there’s no rear seat room. It’s apparently being marketed to minimum-wage thousandaires who plan on being so poor as to have to live in the thing.

  • avatar

    I guess the rest of the world has tiny feet and legs shorter than a three year old. The reviewer and commenters really don’t like SUV’s and a small one is beyond their comprehension. All your complaints are similar to every suv built. Then the suvs that can handle their big feet in the back seat as well as easy child seat installation, are called gas guzzling behemoths

  • avatar

    Saw this at the auto show recently. Seeing this, and their recent announcements of abandoning passenger cars (which also means abandoning competitive product in Europe) and going all pickup/crossover/Chinese electrics convinced me it’s time to sell the stock I’ve been holding/collecting over the past dozen years. They are 5 years late on the Ranger, and 2+ years out still on a Bronco. Ford seems completely lost and shrinking in fear, and this product is embodiment of this mentality. It’s as if launching the F-Series took everything they got.

    Europeans and Americans will reject a Chinese Focus, and Chinese electric cars from Ford. Not wholesale, but to a large enough extent that Toyota/Honda/VW will gain large share with the cars they somehow can produce profitably in the USA & Germany (for European VW’s).

    For entertainment, I’d like to see a face-off or competition on what is the Worst Car Sold in America. Take into consideration pricing, reliability, performance, everything. This, especially at $25k+, is a very strong contender. Put it up against the Fiat 500L, the Mitsubishi Mirage, Chevy Trax, Dodge Journey. I think the Ford might end up the worst even though it’s new; it’s just such a terrible value proposition!

  • avatar

    The hanging space is at least sort of applicable, but roadside power nap? Emergency closet? This is a real ad?

    Looks like a deformed Escape to boot.

  • avatar

    “The EcoSport Life Hack Academy features top life-hacking experts from across the country, including life-hacker and TV personality Tia Mowry.”

    DaFUQ did I just read?

    I would watch Tia read the phonebook however.

    I haven’t seen any of these Ecosports on the road yet, although the Trax and the Encore are multiplying at a rate that suggests the pesticides are having no effect.

  • avatar

    This thing makes as much sense as a $58,000 (Canadian) Buick envision.

    Good to see TTAC can still bring the snark.

  • avatar

    What do I want to do for the first time? I want to change this into a 2-door, toss the back seat, move the front seat rails backwards a bit, give it Raptor-worthy suspension and engine parts, and drive that through a mud park.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The EcoSport Storm was officially revealed today. That is the Raptor-lookalike version of the EcoSport in other markets. Maybe Ford will eventually have an ST version to replace the Fiesta ST.

  • avatar

    @D4n Jones sez:

    “DM me your first-ever wishes.”

    Hey, D4n…I wish someone would destroy this with a 3,000-hp monster truck, and then burn the remains. Now THERE’S a hack.

  • avatar

    This underachiever has been out in Europe for a while, as the Echosport Mark 2. The Mark 1 was universally derided as a tird, where reviewers wondered how Ford could take a Fiesta and ruin it completely by lifting it. The Mark 2, this one we’re getting, is regarded as little better. So it’s a load of rubbish from beginning to end, and the engines are not able to give it any get up and go.

    Sometimes people can figure out the bad stuff just by looking at it. All the Ford PR hack hype is meant to cover what a crock the Echosport truly is. Hack-ett doesn’t seem all that bright. Ford needs another new leader posthaste.

  • avatar

    “Roadside power nap”?

    Who do they think is going to drive the Ecosport, gnomes?

    My Honda Fit is almost the same size on the outside as the Ecosport in terms of wheelbase and overall length, and the Fit actually has 57 cu ft of cargo capacity behind the front seats compared to the Ecosport’s 50. The Ecosport is also taller than the Fit, some of that capacity is vertical, so it has to have a shorter cargo area than the Fit.

    I’ve considered getting a foam pad for the cargo area for when I’m doing a long distance drive without any cargo so I could sleep back there instead of trying to catch a few Zs in a car seat (why is it that you can be literally falling asleep behing the wheel but the second you pull off to nap your car seat immediately becomes the most uncomfortable bed you’ve ever tried to sleep in?). I’m only 5’6″ tall and I decided that there’s just not enough room back there for a bed.

  • avatar

    Brilliant! This is an elaborate piece of performance art designed to subvert stereotypes about millenials by slyly embodying every single one of them! Errr… right?

  • avatar

    So Ford can’t find a reason to keep a 210,000 unit selling, highly-rated, nice driving (if long in the tooth) sedan, but they can justify bringing cheap 3rd world junk?

    I am becoming more and more convinced Ford is badly losing its way. I don’t think Fields to some extent (Mulally 2.0) but especially this new guy have a freaking clue what to do with this company. Toss in the additional billions on “mobility”….

    This mess has really picked up steam in just the last 6-12 months with this company.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed 100%. They’re turning their backs on their competitive car lineup, which globally represents about 2M vehicles that are largely “one Ford”; mostly the same sold worldwide. Instead, this kind of 3rd world junk is their future for the under $30k market? I see how this car works in India and other crowded places with terrible roads. Here it will be a laughing stock. Europeans and Americans will abandon Ford cars in droves and that 2M vehicles will quickly become 1M or less.

      Ford’s leadership is in a tailspin. How far away are we really from all commuting in autonomous electric vehicles summoned via phone app? We know it’s possible now, but that doesn’t mean it will be ubiquitous or desireable in 5 years. They seem to disagree, and if they outsource it all to Zotye, they’ll be like the next GE/IBM/Hewlett Packard, and will eventually outsource themselves into irrelevance.

      I recently sold all my stock in F and believe it’s going to $8 or $9 before long.

  • avatar

    “Ford has added many bins, pockets and compartments for your avocados, beard trimmer attachments, bitcoin, fabric pieces, tape, and paint swatches.” – LOL! That’s the best line I’ve read all week.

  • avatar

    Ford should have launched a new generation of the Ecosport instead of just a facelift. The current model is way too small.

  • avatar

    I realize they probably wanted the little fake SUV to start with an “E” to match the other models, but was “EcoSport” really a good choice? The more I think about it, its just a really stupid name.

    DEARBORN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: Guy we got nothing for this new model, lets just combine “eco” with something. Any ideas?

  • avatar

    Yet another rubbish vehicle from Ford.

  • avatar

    I like the rear swing-out door, if purely for aesthetic/nostalgic reasons. Reminds me of hanging out in the back of our rental Diahatsu in Costa Rica, parked out facing the water, drinking some sort of local lime beer. Aside from that, this looks like quite a hateful overpriced little thing with cringe-worthy marketing.

  • avatar

    My 158k mile ’05 P71 looks mighty good compared to this turd…

  • avatar

    Anyone who has bought a new Ford within the last 5 years, know what an expensive, unreliable, low quality piece of junk they are with terrible customer service. They breakdown so much that there are new recalls everyday and all parts are on month long back orders.

  • avatar

    Little used to imply “cute”. This thing looks bloated and FUGLY. Sort of like it was way over-inflated. They needed a name starting with “E” ? How about EDSEL ?

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