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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
going green americas 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.

  • Theflyersfan As a kid, a neighbor had one of these full-sized conversion vans with the TV and wet bar in the back. And it was so cool to go in - as a kid it was, driving it had to be terror at times with blind spots, iffy power and brakes, and the feeling that you're hauling your living room with you! Kids of the 1970s and 1980s had this experience. Afterwards with minivans and then CUV everything, not so much.And I'm crushed that a 1977 van doesn't have some kind of mural on the sides. Coyote howling at the moon, American flag, Confederate flag, bright stripes, something! You can't have a 1970's era van with plain sides! At least a "Don't Laugh. Your daughter's in here" bumper sticker on the back. I always get a Gacy or Bundy vibe with these vans...
  • Jeff S In the EV market Tesla is not a niche player it is the major player. According to the latest data of the California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company  Kelley Blue Book, Tesla has the lion’s share with 75 percent market share in  the electric vehicle market in the first three months of 2022.Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years in the United States. The electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla accounted for 79 percent of the new electric vehicles registered in the United States in 2020 and 69,95 percent in 2021. The decrease in the market share in 2021 might be explained by backlogs and the global chip shortage, but the company is ramping up its sales and has already increased its market share to 75 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the top 10 EVs sold in the US in the first quarter of 2022 are;[list=1][*]Tesla Model Y[/*][*]Tesla Model 3[/*][*]Ford Mustang Mach-E[/*][*]Tesla Model X[/*][*]Hyundai Ioniq 5[/*][*]Kia EV6[/*][*]Tesla Model S[/*][*]Nissan Leaf[/*][*]Kia Niro[/*][*]Audi e-Tron[/*][/list=1]Tesla has delivered 310,048 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, another first-quarter record. The success of Tesla is proven once again as the company has three electric cars in the top 10 most selling electric vehicles in the United States, while no other manufacturer has even two different models on the list.Tesla leads all others, selling slightly over 936,000 units in 2021. This gave the company a market share of nearly 14%.Mar 30, 2022https://interestingengineering.com/transportation/tesla-ev-market-75-percent-market-share
  • Jeff S I did not know Plymouth had a full size van prior to the mini vans. I did know about the Plymouth pickups and the Trail Duster.
  • Arthur Dailey When I grew tired of the T-Bird trying to kill me by refusing to start at the most inconvenient times/places, I replaced it with a '79 fullsized Dodge (Sportsman) van. Similar to this but with a different grille and rectangular headlights. The 4 'captains' chairs in my van were pretty much identical to the ones in this van. Mine certainly was not as nicely finished inside. And it was a handful to drive in snow/ice. One thing that strikes me about this van is that although a conversion it does not seem to have the requisite dark tint on the windows.
  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
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