By on May 8, 2018

Unless you’re living on Mars, you’ve heard that Ford Motor Company has officially thrown in the towel on the sedan business. It’s a shocking move, but not necessarily a disappointing one, given that the basic versions of those sedans weren’t all that great to begin with. But the performance versions of those sedans are special. If you need a practical, affordable car with a talent for separating you from your driver’s license, Ford has (or had) one for every budget, and that makes it a unique automaker.

But that’s the Old Ford. Apparently, New Ford is all about crossovers, and its newest offering in these parts is the already-sold-overseas Ecosport. Does the EcoSport provide a crystal-ball look into Ford’s future crossovers? For the company’s sake, I hope not.

When Old Ford called a ride “sporty,” it was usually not Don Draper-style bullshit. You’d think, then, that it wasn’t kidding around when it named its new CUV “EcoSport.” Apparently, the joke’s on us. This thing isn’t just non-sporty – it’s almost stubbornly anti-fun, even by the low standards of the tiny-CUV class. It also manages to be silly looking, cramped, unrefined, and overpriced. As a bonus, it isn’t even all that well made.

[Get new and used Ford EcoSport pricing here!]

Let’s start with the styling. We can all agree that making a tiny box on wheels is a stylistic challenge, and yes, this design’s a latecomer to our market, so it’s not the freshest design out there. But there’s no getting around it: Viewed from any angle aside from the front three-quarter, the EcoSport looks too tall, too tippy, and too much like one of those five-buck diecast cars at the grocery store checkout.

Inside, things are a bit better – the design is attractive, and you get a nice set of clearly marked gauges. Control layouts are simple and effective, and while the B&B always argues about whether they like or loathe the iPad-affixed-to-the-dashboard infotainment trend, there’s no arguing how well the EcoSport’s system works – it’s big, bright, clear, fast, and easy to use.

EcoSport

And with that, I’ve run out of nice things to say about the EcoSport’s interior. The seating position is high, as it’s wont to be on cars like this, but the seat itself is flat and not terribly comfortable. Rear-seat passengers are treated like schmucks – with the front seat set for my 5’10” frame, I could barely get my size 13 “Chucks” in and out of the footwells, and once back there, both legroom and kneeroom were in critically short supply. Cargo storage space is adequate, but the tailgate opens horizontally, not vertically, so loading the cargo area will be challenging if you’re parallel parked.

Several TTAC contributors have already commented on the EcoSport’s chintzy-feeling interior trim; having sampled an actual production car that hasn’t been clambered in and out of hundreds of times a day at a car show, I wouldn’t go that far, but neither the materials nor workmanship were particularly impressive. Other details, like the flimsy door handles, the hollow-sounding door slams, and the dust speck I found embedded in the paint of one EcoSport at the dealership (the one on the showroom floor, believe it or not), don’t speak well for this car’s build quality. Time will tell, I suppose.

All of this would probably be a forgivable if the EcoSport killed it in the fun-to-drive department, but if you read my introduction, you already know how this movie ends. Two engines are offered: a turbocharged 1.0 three-banger, and a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four. All-wheel drive is an option on the four-cylinder version, and you can have any transmission you want, as long as it’s a six-speed automatic (which, thankfully, appears to be of the standard, non-DCT variety). I only sampled the naturally aspirated all-wheel-drive four, and while it’s adequate in stop-and-go traffic, if you drop the hammer at any speed over, say, 35 or 40, all you find is tons of NVH and practically zero acceleration. The culprit is weight: At 3,327 pounds, this thing is 340 pounds heavier than a Focus hatch with the same engine. As a bonus, the drivetrain is coarse and unrefined, and even manages to vibrate the steering wheel noticeably while at idle – a trick I haven’t seen on any car since my ‘81 Rabbit.

EcoSport

I wasn’t able to push the EcoSport I sampled much, but based on the last paragraph, do you think I’d want to? The answer is an emphatic “no,” and you won’t either. The EcoSport’s dinky size makes it easy to whip around in heavy traffic, and ride quality is decent, so I’m sure it’d be just fine for slogging around densely populated city streets – no doubt the environment Ford anticipates most EcoSport owners inhabit. In any other circumstance, this car’s almost maddeningly slow.

That just about covers the “sport” part of the EcoSport’s nametag; what about the “eco” part? Unfortunately, the EcoSport’s fuel economy is almost comically low for such a tiny car – the EPA rates the AWD SE version I drove at 25 mpg city, and 29 highway. Given that you have to flog this thing to get any kind of performance out of it, I suspect those numbers are kind estimates.

Speaking of comedy, let’s talk about EcoSport pricing. A base, FWD version costs $19,995 before tax and delivery; the mid-level AWD SE model I drove stickered out at around $27,000, and loaded versions push $30,000. That’s a lot of money for vehicle that stinks at doing anything but trolling around on city streets; if that’s all you need, then pick out one of the zillion Fiestas your local Ford dealer can’t unload, and save yourself a few grand. If you must succumb to the CUV craze, an AWD Escape comes in at around $25,000, and comes with non-embarrassing styling, the EcoBoost engine, and a back seat fit for actual humans.

EcoSport

I suppose the thing that bothers me most about the EcoSport – aside from the fact that driving it represented a 30-minute investment of my time that I can’t get back – is how half-assed it turned out to be. It’s almost as if Ford, who was late to the tiny-CUV game, plucked this dog off the streets of India (where it’s made), tacked an iPad onto the dash, and figured Americans would buy it for no other reason than our inscrutable desire to drive tiny iPads on wheels that are proportioned like Air Jordan high-top sneakers. If the EcoSport were a Mitsubishi, maybe I’d be less harsh, but we’re talking about Ford, which has shown a real talent for making cars that are relevant to people who love to drive.

If Ford has decided its future is all about crossovers, then that’s its call. But if the only truly good feature on its latest entry into this brave new crossover world is its infotainment screen, I’d say that doesn’t bode well for the Blue Oval.

[Images: Michael Freed]

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135 Comments on “Reader Review: Ford’s EcoSport is Neither ‘Eco’ nor ‘Sport’...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    It’s bad enough when you’re determined to retreat anytime the competition gets too difficult. But if you’re going to fight a rearguard action to preserve what market you have left, you’re expected to bring your best.

    Little hint, Ford: The Japanese and Korean crossovers are just as good as yours (a thought I had before reading this article). You’ve only got two mass-markets left: SUV’s/CUV’s and pickup trucks. If this is the ‘new beginning’ and indicative of the future offerings, you’re going to be retreating once again sooner rather than later.

    And what do you do when Toyota builds a better F-150 AND convinces the buying public that you don’t have to go ‘Murican to own a pickup?

    • 0 avatar
      phxmotor

      your reference to Murikan steel cracks me up … My friend used to work at the Rouge Foundry … they haven’t cast a V8 i in years. Decades. None are of American origin. Zero. Zip. Nada.
      Ford Chevy AND Ram haven’t
      made a V8 in the USofA in 26 years.
      Both are DOWN Down down to 62.5% American content. Worse
      for most Rams.
      Toyota, Subaru, and Honda
      (and some other “foreign brands”) are the vehicles
      that actually Made In America.
      46% of all cars sold in the USA last year are in this category.
      American Made…. who’s fooling who?
      Or is it “whom”[email protected]

    • 0 avatar
      phxmotor

      your reference to Murikan steel cracks me up … My friend used to work at the Rouge Foundry … they haven’t cast a V8 i in years. Decades. None are of American origin. Zero. Zip. Nada.
      Ford Chevy AND Ram haven’t
      made a V8 in the USofA in 26 years.
      Both are DOWN Down down to 62.5% American content. Worse
      for most Rams.
      Toyota, Subaru, and Honda
      (and some other “foreign brands”) are the vehicles
      that actually Made In America.
      46% of all cars sold in the USA last year are in this category.
      American Made…. who’s fooling who?
      Or is it “whom”[email protected]

    • 0 avatar

      The Japanese and Koreans make much better vehicles than this Ecosport. This vehicle is a bottom feeder. Ford is going downhill fast.

      What a disgrace!

      • 0 avatar
        Hogey74

        Indeed. If this is based on the Fiesta as I suspect, it’s based on the most complained about car in the US. I had an 07 in Australia and it was dead after 5 years. After a string of issues. Dunno about the other US makers but I’d buy second hand Japanese over a new Ford. I’ve had a second hand Subaru Forester since that Ford and while the Fiesta drove better, the Forester remains functional lol. I just had a Mitsubishi ASX as a hire car and it was surprisingly good. Not as rugged or capable as the Forester but drove well and despite being an auto, heaps lower fuel consumption than my manual Sub. Dunno if you get them there.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      This is not the Ecosport Ford wants, but it’s the Ecosport it has. Gotta work with what you’ve got.

      Bringing the India-born ‘Sport over was likely a decision made before they decided to eliminate sedans, and it kinda had to be done in order to grab SOME slice of the mini-ute pie ASAP.

      I have no doubt the replacement for this will be far better-executed, especially on the styling, build quality, roominess and fuel economy fronts.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        But what’s going to hurt them more in the long run, not having an entry in this class for a few years, or having this on the roads being a joke in the short run and making enemies of customers in the long run when it inevitably burns them badly. A large percentage of EcoSport buyers will never buy another Ford.

  • avatar
    make_light

    This thing makes a Chevy Trax look nicely proportioned.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      You are certainly on the right track. By trying to emulate the Tata Nano’s styling, they made a CUV that looks like a puckered anus.
      (Have another glance at the picture, and tell me if you disagree!)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Very nice evisceration, Freed. No press loaners for you! No shrimp buffets and junkets! Ever!

    Seems very well deserved, though. I don’t get this class of vehicle at all.

    Two metrics in particular are galling: Thirty thousand dollars and thirty three hundred pounds. “It’s almost as if Ford…figured Americans would buy it for no other reason than [CUV]”.

    Trends and trendiness. All I can think of is Avocado Toast.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Well this segment is not going away, in the near future. What is required is for manufacturer’s to ‘do it right’. And for consumers to realize that vehicles in this segment will not be significantly less expensive (if at all) then vehicles in the next ‘size up’.

      In fact, I would guess that vehicles in this segment would be purchased by retirees and/or young, urban professionals. In other words those with some disposable income. And therefore a ‘smart’ manufacturer, might actually make them more ‘luxurious’ than the vehicles in the next larger segment.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I don’t get this class of vehicle either. It seems like Ford suddenly woke up late and realized that they hadn’t done their book report, so they looked around for something, anything, to fill the gap, and settled on the EcoSport just to avoid getting an incomplete. Since Ford is betting on the UV craze being the market of the future in the US, they had better crack open the book and produce something more competitive than this.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “I don’t get this class of vehicle either. It seems like Ford suddenly woke up late and realized that they hadn’t done their book report, so they looked around for something, anything, to fill the gap, and settled on the EcoSport just to avoid getting an incomplete”

        What are you talking about? Ford has been making the EcoSport in its foreign operations since 2003.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Ford has been making the EcoSport in its foreign operations since 2003.”

          Actually, they’ve been making the current model since 2012…which means they had six years to get us one that didn’t suck to drive, and biffed it anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            conundrum

            Think you’ll find that this is the Gen 2 of this basic shape. It came out in Europe late 2017, where the original got terrible reviews from everyone. This “new” one failed to impress as well. It’s still bottom of the class, with glacial acceleration even in the diesel version. Someone gave it a raspberry for being the definitive way to ruin the Fiesta chassis’ handling, which is what this sorry bag on wheels is, underneath.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            Well, driving comfort standards in India (along with assembly standards, apparently) are vastly different than what the domestic US hyper-competitive car market will buy. Woe be to folks that pay sticker price for this thing.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “standards in India (along with assembly standards, apparently) are vastly different”

            Maybe, but not always inferior. Maybe more rugged and less refined.

            My son’s business partner bought a Mahindra tractor (FE Loader/Backhoe combi) after his old one became too expensive to repair.

            That Mahindra was thousands less than anything domestic, had a $7500 rebate and was ruggedly built. Some would say overbuilt.

            There’s no reason why OEMs like Tata could not market successfully in the US. JLR does. Volvo does. FCA does. Toyota does. Honda does. Nissan does. Subaru does.

            Well, you get the picture.

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          “What are you talking about?”

          I’m saying that Ford seems to have suddenly realized that the sub-compact CUV market exists, and that they had no such product for offer in North America, so they hastily took an existing product seemingly designed for another, less demanding market and brought it here, hoping that buyers won’t realize how uncompetitive the EcoSport is. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been making the EcoSport, if it doesn’t measure up to the other products available in that market space, it’s not only going to sell poorly but it’s going to prejudice buyers’ opinions of future products.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            “It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been making the EcoSport, if it doesn’t measure up to the other products available in that market space”

            where do you think the other subcompact CUVs came from, not from the third world?

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            The other subcompact CUVs seem to have been designed for NA even though they’re built in Asia. And I don’t consider South Korea or Japan as third world countries.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            “The other subcompact CUVs seem to have been designed for NA”

            Source? How about the Turkish built Toyota?

            “And I don’t consider South Korea or Japan as third world countries.”
            Odd statement considering very few of the subcompact CUV are built in Korea or Japan.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I “get” this class of vehicle – it appeals to millenials and folks my age (mid-50s) who aren’t stuck hauling kiddies around anymore.

      What I don’t get is why Ford had to make this compact CUV so lousy to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        The sub-compact CUV obviously appeals to many buyers since every mfr wants to be in the market space, and I see plenty of them driven around. What I don’t get is the appeal. To my eye they are badly proportioned and are ridiculously over-priced compared to sub-compact hatchbacks. The only things that they bring to the party are ride height and current fashion. I will admit that ride height becomes important for “people of a certain age”, like my own wife, but that doesn’t explain the appeal for millenials et al. And like the EcoSport vs. Escape, sub-compacts aren’t even much of bargain as CUVs go.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          I test drove several CUV’s including my friends 2016 RAV 4, a 2017 Terrain, a 2017 Ford Escape and have been in my other friends 2015 Kia Sorento numerous times. The only one that even remotely impressed me was the Escape and that was mainly due to the 2.0T underhood and it’s better than the others driving dynamics. The Terrain was okay but slow and kind of boring, the Rav 4 was noisy, not at all fun to drive and felt cheap inside plus lacked many things I come to expect on a modern vehicle like automatic headlights and the Sorrento just felt tight, noisy and slow but had the most room behind the back seat.

          In the end I went right back to a sedan in the form of a 2017 Impala LT and am very happy so far I did

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            The Ford Escape with the 2.0T is fairly nice to drive. Only average compared to cars, but good compared to other CUVs.

        • 0 avatar
          NG5

          I sort of get it.

          I test drove a CX-3 when my mom was shopping for a smaller SUV (she ultimately bought an Encore, which is actually fairly roomy inside, has comfortable seats, and is pretty quiet), and I liked it. It had less interior space than my current Fiesta ST it felt like, but the interior was much nicer. It also had AWD, and there are few vehicles that small with AWD these days. I don’t think I’d trade for the driving character of my car, but the CX-3 was at least a more plush place to sit (even if it was even smaller inside), and looked nice from the outside.

          If I was just looking for a single or two person car at that price point and size and wanted AWD, there aren’t any car offerings. You have to move up to an Impreza sized vehicle at least. I sort of understand them in that context.

          On topic however: The Eco-Sport is an abomination. Long live the Fiesta – and give it an RS and AWD. I know it won’t make any money.

      • 0 avatar
        RSF

        I don’t understand why anyone needs or wants something this under-powered and small. The Escape is tiny as it is. Ford seems to be on a roll of hating it’s customers.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        And they can do it. Our department at work got a current model Escape, and its handling is quite sharp and responsive.The drivetrain sucks with the idle cutoff and the severe if very brief turbo lag from 0-5mph followed by a remarkably sudden hammer blow of power.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I get some CUVs if you want the extra space and what not, I dont get dinky CUVs like this, unless if you’re into off-roading Samurais and what not.

      Tiny CUVs just seem like all the drawbacks of a CUV with next to none of their advantages.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        @Ryoku: This. My old Element weighed only 200 pounds more than this, had a ton more room, decent pickup if you weren’t afraid to rev the motor, and got about the same mpg. I like small cars, but mini-CUVs make no sense.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          “The Escape is tiny as it is” sums up the lack of understanding of the current worldwide vehicle market.

          The Escape is considered too large by a great many consumers. Try driving it around Tokyo, London, Paris, or even Toronto.

          The small CUV’s fit into parking spots, move well in crowded urban traffic, are easier to get into and out of than sedans/coupes/hatches. They also provide the preferred ride height and improved ground clearance when travelling over all those pock marked, broken down city roads.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            And in a densely populated urban environment where you rarely see speeds north of 40, this vehicle would be just fine.

            But that’s not America (well, at least it’s not the America I live in, anyway).

          • 0 avatar
            RSF

            “The Escape is considered too large by a great many consumers. Try driving it around Tokyo, London, Paris, or even Toronto.”– We are in America, not Tokyo, London, Paris, or Toronto.

      • 0 avatar
        NG5

        I wish the US sold a car like the Samurai or the Jimny.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Another biased article on a Ford product from Freed. Surprise surprise.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Given that this is, in fact, my first article about a Ford product, your thesis is interesting.

      (In fact, I’m usually a fan of Ford cars, and have owned one – a Focus ST, which I enjoyed immensely.)

  • avatar

    As the article says: Silly looking, cramped, unrefined, overpriced, heavy with a dodgy build quality to go along with the ubiquitous glued on IPad.
    Form over function personified and ridiculous in every way…..they’ll probably sell tons of them.

  • avatar
    sutherland555

    The pricing is bloody ridiculous. 20k for the base model? Madness.

    I hope Ford sells so few of these they don’t bring it back for the next model cycle. At the very least, I hope it embarrasses them enough to put real effort into the next iteration of it. If CUVs are the hill they’re going to fight on, they really need to put their best effort into it.

  • avatar
    BobWellington

    This is just depressing. Why people love crossovers so much baffles me.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    T.W., At over 3,000 Lbs if Ford sells 2 Ecosports that would be “tons”.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Henry Ford is rolling in his grave.

    Little Indian-made piece of sh!t box fabricated from slum-shop parts priced as if it were 1st World Product.

    The Ford Family had better get their sh!t together fast and sh!t can HACKett and Farley.

    Query: Will Trump put a 25% tariff or higher on the IndoSport?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      p.s. – Carmine needs a care package of pamprin, kotex, Kleenex, and Monistat 7, stat.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Deadweight,

      You mean Ford is unique in this segment unlike Toyota that makes its CH-R in Turkey, Honda its HR-V in Mexico, GM that makes its Envision in PR China, and so on?

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Rolling in his grave? I think he would enjoy a good consumer fleecing as much as the next tycoon, but I guess he might be concerned this fleecing won’t be successful enough.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Henry would worry about the viability of the franchise, the too-many–Ford-member-hands-in-the-pie disconnected nature of recent ongoings, and inept, incompetent carpetbaggers such as the jacka$$es Farley, and especially, HACKett.

        If William Clay Ford, Jr. had an iota of intelligence, he’d realize that he needs to get a another Mullaly in as CEO with full, absolute control, stat.

        HACKett will absolutely destroy Ford in fairly (Farely?) short order.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Ford is screwing itself with the car elimination. If this is what the buying public has to look forward to, in place of cars then Ford’s collapse is going to make Chrysler’s late 2000’s implosion look like a mild management exercise.

    Why? Take a look folks, gas prices are on the way up, steadily, a rotation out of trucks and SUV’s will happen again, and Ford will be caught flat footed.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      “gas prices are on the way up”

      This thing gets 27/29. How is that a massive hardship over a 27/37 Fiesta?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It’s not. But 27 around town for a vehicle this small – and this slow – is silly.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          “But 27 around town for a vehicle this small – and this slow – is silly.”

          The Honda HR-V gets 28 city and is as slow as the EcoSport. What’s Honda’s excuse?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, for starters, it doesn’t feel completely dead when you hit the gas, and has a real back seat.

            It’s also not embarassing to look at.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @TEE:

      Ford remembers that the F-150 was the best-selling vehicle when gas was $4+/gallon.

      Americans only respond to spikes, not slow trends – both economically and culturally. When it comes to gas prices, there is an expectation that they will go down again someday. At the least, people adjust their lifestyle to afford the car they want; rarely do they adjust the car to fit their lifestyle.

      • 0 avatar
        "scarey"

        If I remember correctly, when gasoline hit its high price mark, pickups lost their sales leader status briefly- a matter of months, but still it was a big shock to the Big 3 (and the motoring press). It even generated quite a stir among the best and the brightest.

      • 0 avatar
        RSF

        Trucks weren’t $70k back then either. Anyone remember what happened to values on these? It was a great time to buy a nearly-new one used.

  • avatar
    dwford

    “It’s almost as if Ford, who was late to the tiny-CUV game, plucked this dog off the streets of India (where it’s made), tacked an iPad onto the dash, and figured Americans would buy it for no other reason than our inscrutable desire to drive tiny iPads on wheels that are proportioned like Air Jordan high-top sneakers.”

    This exactly what happened. The EcoSport was designed for 3rd world countries, then failingly retrofitted for European duty, then again for US duty. The basic design is 6!!! years old, yet we are getting it as if it were new. Luckily next-gen EcoSport prototypes are already testing on the streets, so we won’t be stuck with this thing for long.

    ** GM did the exact same thing with the Buick Encore and Chevy Trax, they were just quicker about getting those crap wagons here than Ford was.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      but people will pay MSRP for a sh*tbox built in Turkey where women are being downgraded to domestic servant status again. That’s no problem I guess for the Toyota buyers.

  • avatar
    DavesNotHere

    No wonder Teh Kidz have no interest in driving. Self-fulfilling prophesy!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    But, it hacks your life. That’s got to count for something, right?

  • avatar
    sirwired

    So, are Honda and Toyota just that good at designing economical drivetrains that don’t suck, or is Ford that bad at it? There’s no excuse for those pathetic EPA numbers with a car that small. (Real-world, my much-larger CR-V returns ~29 combined.)

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      the C-HR sounds rather dreary with its CVT and horsepower rationing.

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2018-toyota-c-hr-first-drive-review

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Real-world, my 5.0 Mustang can do 29 mpg on a flat highway at 70 mph. It also only cost about 10% more than the fully loaded Ecosport.

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        I rented a 5.0 Mustang a couple of years ago and could get no better than 25 mpg at the same speed. You must have an incredibly light foot.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          The mileage drops quickly past 70. Mine is a ’16 though, don’t know how it differs from the previous Mustang. It that’s just what the trip computer says. Actual mileage may vary.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        Turn a v-8 at low RPM to minimize burning gas to overcome internal motor friction per revolution, and put it in a sleek, low and out of the wind stream body, and and surprising efficiency results. Seems I remember reading about Corvettes getting 30mpg at 70 with their motor turning 1700 RPM.

  • avatar

    Nice job on this review of a turrible car nobody should ever buy.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    “EcoSport is Neither ‘Eco’ nor ‘Sport’.” Granted, but marketing rejected “Pathetic s#@tbox”

  • avatar
    TheBestPlaceEver

    I don’t understand the pricing at all. It seems to be a lower end version of the Escape, but costs roughly the same amount? It is priced like a Kona, but the Kona seems both larger and has better content.

    Am I missing something? If they’re making this in India, as an economy car, why isn’t it $3-4k cheaper here?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Q: “If they’re making this in India, as an economy car, why isn’t it $3-4k cheaper here?”

      A: Because the labor content of vehicles is very low these days. If final assembly of a car is ~17 hours, you don’t save a lot by sending production overseas – and then shipping it back to the original market – except by high volume.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Its a Fiesta with $7k added if you want the AWD model, base costs $5k more than a Fiesta in the states. Its AWD version is priced like an Escape more than likely to get customers into the bigger (and more profitable) vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      No, they are not priced “roughly the same amount”.

      Ecosport
      S FWD- $19,995
      S AWD- $20,585

      Escape
      S FWD- $23,940
      SE AWD- $25,045

      These are the cheapest FWD and AWD versions of each. Escape SE will have more options but you have to step up to that trim to get AWD. You don’t have to in the Ecosport. For people on a budget, $3,945-$4,460 is a big chunk of change. And yes these prices are before any rebates/discounts and no one pays sticker price. And don’t get me wrong, I think the Ecosport is awful. Just trying to put it in perspective for people that don’t have a lot of money, but would get more bang for their buck in a cheaper sedan.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d still rather this than the Eggcore.

    But that’s about it.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Would you buy this over a Fiesta for just $10K more?

  • avatar
    twincamry

    Honest question.

    This “car” has a 1,400 LBS tow rating with the 1.0 EcoBoost and 2,000 LBS with the 2.0.

    Source: https://www.ford.com/suvs-crossovers/ecosport/models/s/
    See: “Specifications” section

    How can the be when the Fiesta or Focus with the same powertrain (EDIT: without PowerShift DCT in the 1.0s case and could be had in manual with the 2.0) and brakes gets a big fat ZERO? Is the suspension really that much more stout?

    One more great way to support The Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy?
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/02/the-great-american-anti-towing-conspiracy/

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      In the case of other less than ideal offerings, the solution might be to buy a used model that suits your style, and spend a few thousand to make it your PERFECT car. I bought a minivan, liked it, but it was too small. So I bought a used V-6 Econoline (went down a few years) and added the wheels and expensive tires that I wanted. Custom seats, boss audio system, and an interior set up for traveling AND hauling the occasional cargo.Replaced worn front end components. I had enough money left over that I was able to put away money for a NEW crate motor and rebuild the auto transmission when the time comes, This is the car that I intend to keep forever. My new cars may come and go, but this one I will keep. Yours might be a GTI, a FiST, an old BMW or Cadillac convertible, a Subaru wagon, a Mustang, or a Dodge pickup. Life is too short not to have your ideal car. Even if it is a few years old.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    If those IPods stuck into the middle of the dash/instrument panel are not a safety hazard, then manufacturers could probably reintroduce the ‘cones’ that were once a feature in the steering wheels of luxury cars.

  • avatar
    NN

    I was a Ford stock holder for the past 10 years, and a happy owner of a 2014 Transit Connect, that I like because of how well it drives.

    I will not buy this, ever, or anything like it. Also sold all my stock. Ford is just walking away from hundreds of thousands of sales, and thinking people will buy this instead, or maybe their yet-to-exist electric cars from Zotye? Or an F-150? We’re probably at peak full size pickup, sooner or later fashion will change it’s mind again and the auto cycle is topping here in the USA.

    Honda and Toyota, meanwhile, continue to build full lineups of vehicles, mostly in the USA, at a healthy profit, with no excuses and no drastic short-sighted decisions. They win customers & market share every year. Ford has put up the white flag, surrendered.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    “We can all agree that making a tiny box on wheels is a stylistic challenge”
    I bet to differ, Japan meets this quite a bit and the results are typically better than this. With the EcoSport Ford went the quick way and tried transferring the styling its the Ford Escape, with ugly results.

    “the EPA rates the AWD SE version I drove at 25 mpg city, and 29 highway”

    Thats just weak, you can get better highway mpg out of a Subaru Legacy, which doesnt cost that much more (despite being a mid size), comes with a beefier engine, and features AWD standard.

    Or you can save roughly $7k(!!!) and get the Fiesta, if you’re happy with FWD.

  • avatar
    300zx_guy

    An “outback” version of the C-max would make more sense than this. The C-max also dates back to 2012, so I’m not sure why Ford thought this was a better solution. The utility would be about the same, and at least the C-max drives decently and gets legit 38-40 mpg. I guess they saw people buying Buick Encores and Chevy Trax (Traxes?) and figured this is a reasonable facsimile of those. Good luck to them, but I really hope there is an updated Ecosport in the pipeline coming out real soon.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Even if (though..) it is crap, it will sell at least 2x what Fiesta did. The masses have spoken.

  • avatar

    I avoided renting one of these third-world garbage piles in Mexico; why would I pay to own one stateside?

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    “If you need a practical, affordable car with a talent for separating you from your driver’s license, Ford has (or had) one for every budget, and that makes it a unique automaker.

    But that’s the Old Ford. …”

    I have been sensing this for a few years now. Ford really showed new signs of life after the 2008 recession. The new 2012 Focus shook things up and brought a new level of driving engagement to small Fords. And the Focus ST, Focus RS, and Fiesta ST all came along for the party! The Fusion came along as a pretty nice and semi-engaging car as well.

    But as soon as these cars arrived, development and improvement seemed to stop immediately. Everything was left to rot on the vine. There was a facelift, but the big problems (Powershift quality) and annoyances (interior design) were just ignored.

    The impression it gave me was that somehow a few rogues had managed to sneak a few fun and affordable cars out of Ford, but then “the man” got wise and clamped down to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

    (I should mention that Ford already did something like this in the mid-90s, but the situation was a bit different then in terms of the product.)

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    If I ever decide that I can’t live without a car shaped like a guinea pig and with performance to match I’ll know what to buy!

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Mike, thanks for saving my time with your review.

  • avatar
    brn

    I was in an Ecoboost just yesterday and I drive an Escape from time to time. The “review” was a bit harsh.

    Ford got the Escape right. Power is solid. Driving dynamics (especially with their excellent AWD system) are impressive. The ride is good. Internal materials are good. Ergonomics are good. MPG is competitive, especially considering how the AWD system is designed.

    Is the Ecosport a slightly smaller Escape? No. It’s lower end. The materials aren’t as good, sometimes cheesy. The ergonomics are decent. Power is less. MPG is nearly identical to it’s larger sibling. ALL OF THIS IS OK. It’s still a decent little vehicle, as long as it’s priced well under the Escape.

    Unfortunately, the street price is also just about identical to the Escape. This is the Ecosport’s only real problem. It’s priced such that there’s no reason to buy it.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Having been subjected to numerous of these in the current country I reside in, firmly agree that this is a horrid, horrid little penalty box (and I thought that “penalty box” was a term going out of phase). But “because CUV” Ford will likely sell plenty of them. Since it’s a CUV, it *must* be more practical than a hatchback, or heaven forbid, a proper wagon! And while the “you cand get X vehicle used for less” discussion point sometimes grates me, in the case of this poor thing, I’d agree that for much, much less, I can think of a virtually unending number of 2-3 year old cars I’d much rather own and drive than this afterthought.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    The CUV-all-the-things craze unfortunately kills MPG dead, to an extent you’d think would rule out this vehicle style for commuters. Our I-6 Volvo XC60 3.2, a notorious gas pig, gets the same highway MPG as our friend’s Honda CRV.

    In Europe, Toyota handles this by offering the C-HR with a hybrid powertrain. No such luck in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      “Our I-6 Volvo XC60 3.2, a notorious gas pig, gets the same highway MPG as our friend’s Honda CRV.”

      Not according to the EPA.

      If we’re talking anecdotal data, my 2013 Taurus gets similar MPG to a 2018 CRV’s EPA rating.

  • avatar

    Here is the question of the day.

    Is Ford now the worst US carmaker?

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “That just about covers the “sport” part of the EcoSport’s nametag; what about the “eco” part? Unfortunately, the EcoSport’s fuel economy is almost comically low…”

    You do realize its pronounced “EchoSport” right?

  • avatar

    When you’ve built a reputation upon “EEE-KO-boost”, to turn around and call this one “ECHO-sport” while retaining the same ECO nomenclature, is a recipe for confusion.

    They’d have been better off naming it Pinto.

    PLUS, Peter DeLorenzo’s latest Autoextremist blog should send chills down the spine of any Ford fan or anyone rooting for the Detroit contingent of the auto industry. If he is correct – and he usually is – then the Blue Oval is in TROUBLE. And not necessarily because they’re pulling out of building cars.

    Goes deeper than that.

    http://www.autoextremist.com/current/2018/5/5/ford-in-free-fall.html

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Michael, what’s in that “hole” in the taillight on the passenger side? I was behind one of these on the way to work (a white one like this, wearing a paper dealer tag), and at first I thought that the taillight was broken, but then I could see what looked like some kind of black-and-white instruction label, and some kind of red blob, in the hole.

    As far as the styling goes, I almost prefer the first-gen models. I’ve seen quite a few down in the Rio Grande Valley wearing Mexican plates, driven by folks who come across the border to shop in places like McAllen and Mission.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Pretty unimpressive. But, even though this is allegedly a growing segment, Ford is probably wise to keep its eye on the Escape in the smaller crossover side of the market.

    Here’s what really bugs me. We’ve now seen some American brands bring over a car built in India (Ford) and a car built in China (Buick). Of course these will come with the obvious questions about whether their fully appropriate for the US market or whether the quality is what we’ve come to expect. Fine. Here’s my question: WHERE’S THE COST SAVINGS? It is cheap the manufacture in India and China. Like, really cheap. But it appears that none of the savings is being passed on to consumers. These cars a priced right in line with the rest of the lineup. Maybe this makes sense from a marketing standpoint. But if Ford and Buick aren’t going to price these cars as low as manufacturing costs permit, then someone else is.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Another great reader review. Freed I had not seen the ones you did almost ten years ago, i am not sure if i was already reading TTAC back then, cool stuff!

  • avatar
    rpn453

    At least it’s ugly. Nobody can say they weren’t warned when they walked up to it.

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    If you think the EcoSport is bad, wait till you see the really shitty third-world cars that don’t even meet modern crash test standards. Among third-world cars, the EcoSport isn’t that bad.

  • avatar

    The Fusion is still ranked among the top five vehicles in its class. Ford is delusional if they think Fusion owners will step up to a vehicle like this. As for the Escape the RAV4 is a superior vehicle with class leading reliability.

    Bye, Bye Ford.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Perhaps like the Asian car companies they will “right size” this vehicle (make it bigger) as they grow the lineup. The Honda Civic is the same size as an older Accord. Everything continues to get bigger. The F-series too.

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