Going Green: America's Most Cash-laden Utility Vehicle Is the Base Ford EcoSport

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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going green america s most cash laden utility vehicle is the base ford ecosport

Lovers of low-rent vehicles bemoaned Ford’s decision to cull its small-car herd, shedding tears at the loss of the Fiesta and Focus, and no doubt choking back a few sobs at the impending loss of the midsize Fusion sedan. Finding a five-passenger vehicle priced below $20,000 is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, they cried.

Indeed, the supply of low-cost cars is shrinking, though Nissan seems to tuned in to the laments of penny-pinching shoppers. Over at Ford, the discontinuation of the Fiesta and Focus means the three-cylinder, front-drive EcoSport S — a subcompact Indian import we’ve, um, mentioned on this website in the past — is the only Blue Oval ride with an MSRP south of $20k, though adding a destination charge pole-vaults it over that threshold.

Before incentives, that is.

For lessees, the pint-sized three-banger arrives with a hood crumpled from bearing the weight of so much customer cash, earning it a mention by JATO Dynamics as being the most discounted utility in the country.

As of August 20th, the best open cash offer for SUVs can be found on the 2019 @Ford EcoSport S Crossover FWD (19.75% to 23.30% discount depending on the state). This vehicle is the best offer throughout the entire United States. pic.twitter.com/K8DpAgqRxi

— JATO Dynamics N.A. (@JATODynamics_NA) August 27, 2019

The EcoSport S, powered by that busy 1.0-liter, carries an MSRP of $19,995, plus a $1,095 destination charge and $645 acquisition fee, bringing the total to $21,735. Any takers? Not to worry.

Using a Detroit ZIP code for our shopping excursion, we can see that through September 30th, Ford has a $4,000 Red Carpet Lease incentive on offer, as well as $500 bonus cash that runs out on September 3rd. Subtracting the cash brings your base EcoSport to $17,235, or a monthly lease payment of $200 for a 36-month term with $2,020 due at signing. Depending on where you live, the discount could be a little more or a little less.

This same offer is available on the better equipped SE, which rings in at $20,390 after all is said and done, as well as the Titanium model ($23,400) and top-slight SES ($24,515).

In comparison, the front-drive-only Nissan Kicks, which wowed everyone with its low entry price upon launch, offers just $500 cashback for the financing crowd. Boasting one extra cylinder under its hood, a base Kicks S retails for $19,195 after destination, but those looking for a 36-month lease can expect a monthly bill of $322 with the same amount due at signing. The wee Ford clearly has an…edge.

First appearing on our shores in January of last year, the EcoSport earned no shortage of jibes for its cramped interior and side-hinged rear gate. Hoping to fill the subcompact space in a hurry, Ford brought over a model that had already been on sale in India for several years. And yet the thing sells. Certainly, $4,500 off is food for thought among those thinking of a lease.

Over the first half of 2019, Ford unloaded 34,384 EcoSports — just below the 35,839 Kicks recorded by Nissan and well above the 25,811 C-HRs drawn from Toyota lots. Honda and General Motors have more to boast about in this segment, however. Honda recorded 45,179 sales of its aging HR-V in the first half, while the Chevrolet Trax and its Buick Encore sibling made for a combined 95,265 sales.

[Image: Ford]

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  • Snakebit Snakebit on Aug 29, 2019

    EcoSport or Encore - Nyet. both look like they were rear-ended, the owner bought it back from salvage yard, and didn't bother to repair. My sister-in-law bought an Encore, but she's the same idiot who previously made her husband find her a version one Focus with manual windows, because she was afraid power windows would freeze up during winter months. Have I mentioned that she's an idiot?

    • Scott25 Scott25 on Aug 29, 2019

      If you drive them both the Encore feels like it’s from a different planet than the Ecosport, it almost feels like a proper vehicle.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 29, 2019

    The previous generation of this vehicle looks a lot better and not like it's trying too hard. Out of the mini-crossovers on the market the CX-3 and the Renegade are the least proportionally challenged and best looking. Edit: I mean the generation from 2004. The facelifted one is odd.

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.