By on August 28, 2019

2018 Ford EcoSport - Image: Ford

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.

 

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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54 Comments on “Going Green: America’s Most Cash-laden Utility Vehicle Is the Base Ford EcoSport...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    All this tells me is that this turd was RIDICULOUSLY overpriced to begin with. How could it not be when the folks screwing it together back in India make about as much per day as I’d spend on a latte at Starbucks?

    “Over the first half of 2019, Ford unloaded 34,384 EcoSports…”

    Lucky for Ford that Hertz was in the mood to buy crappy little runtmobiles!

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I don’t think they could pay me enough to take one of these turkeys!

    If I had to go American, I’d take an Encore over one of these in a heartbeat, though the Chevy Trax is probably more price-competitive. (Where’s an Oldsmobile CutCUV when you want it??!!)

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Why are we talking about just under $20k vehicles as a big surprise. GM still has lots full of Chevrolet sparks around and under $10k. Same vehicles but huge markups.

    Everything is ridiculously expensive I realize, I searched for a base Tacoma with two options, 4WD and the extended cab jump seats intact. $30k. $30 freaking thousand dollars for a 4 cylinder truck with two options. Ridiculous.
    There’s no question why some automakers keep old platforms around, they know they can own a market segment by simply not increasing prices.

    Of course all these 4 cylinder turbo throw away cars and crossovers will be the first to be culled if interests rates go up.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      Are you suggesting if rates are higher, people will buy more V6 and V8 vehicles??

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Oh of course, if interest rates are high I’m significantly less likely to take out a loan on a novelty item, rather opting for tried and true. I have a good friend who’s sister has a 2012 Cruze, I heard her talking about trading it in because it was getting old and she was worried about being stranded. I of course asked why she was concerned about that on a 7 year old car. Apparently she had been through 2 turbos, an internal engine issue she didn’t really understand enough to explain to me and some other smaller issue.

        Cheap loans would have steered people into more reliable options that were less emerging technology, not that turbos are emerging they’re just a dead end, and into more tried and tested vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          OK, so the takeaway here is that the Cruze she bought is junk (which doesn’t seem to be an isolated case), but there have been plenty of naturally aspirated vehicles with engine issues.

          Turbocharger tech has been around for a ***long*** time, and as with all engine tech, when it goes wrong, it’s usually due to how it’s executed.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          probably being lax with the oil changes. after break-in, id be going with 5000 mile synthetic changes.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “probably being lax with the oil changes. after break-in, id be going with 5000 mile synthetic changes.”

            Things are going about as expected for cheap mainstream brands that have adopted less abuse tolerant modern motors. In the past a compact Chevy would have had a 2.2 OHV 4banger that would happily run on intermittent Jiffy Lube changes, or later an Ecotec 2.2 (albeit they had some cam chain issues with them possibly related to extended oil change intervals). Similarly, GM had issues with the 3.6L DOHC that they initially spec’d 10k oil changes for. This ain’t your momma’s cast iron 3800.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’d say running the “severe” oil change schedule in your manual would be a good idea. Even more important is checking the oil level at least once a month.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @ajla

            Seems to be a trend with the overstressed turboz motors, have to run a very specific grade of oil and obey specific schedules for changing it. The tolerances these days seem to narrow.

            Oh and what transpired with the X-type?

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    I’m with FreedMike and sgeffe on this. In order to make this appealing to someone it has to have enough cash on the hood to get past it’s ugly looks. This whole class of vehicle is an eyesore.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      I mean, there’s definitely some unfortunate vehicles in the class, but the EcoSport is basically the EcoDork. DorkoSport? Eh, I’m still workshopping this, come back to me in a few minutes.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    How close is this getting to Honda Accord sales? And should we be worried?

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    4 stinkin Grand is nowhere near enough incentive to plod around in one of those slugs for 36 months. Sheesh.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Has anyone actually tries to price these things compared to a HR-V or a Kona (which actually look fine)? EcoSports are crazy expensive for the class.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      …tried*

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’ve been thinking of a Kona for my S.O., who currently drives an Accent and wants something small(ish) with AWD. It’s “cute” (her words), and it drives OK, but the problem is pricing – a Tucson, which is bigger, and nicer, costs about the same money when you factor the incentives in.

      I don’t think anything in the dinky-CUV class makes much sense value-wise.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        My sister just bought a Kona Ultimate FWD for about $23K (no trade in). She was into the smaller size and faster acceleration so the Tucson wasn’t ever really an option.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          That’s not bad, but keep in mind that it’d run more like $25,000 with AWD.

          But here’s the problem – assuming you don’t need AWD, you can pick up an Elantra N-Line hatch, which has the same powertrain, a better back seat, and a much nicer interior, for around $20,000 around here. You can pick up an Elantra Sport even cheaper if you can do without a hatchback.

          I guess people are willing to pay more for an extra half an inch of ride height.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Can she drive stick?

            Get her the N-Line Sport!

            So you can report on it and I can live vicariously. I would have shopped an Elantra GT N-line and a Veloceter N if Mama already had her Nimitz class SUV instead of her Terrain.

            There is one Elantra GT (no N-line) in the school drop off line and it is actually driven by a mother. It’s loaded with pano roof.

            She’s definitely bucking the SUV/CUV trend.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            High-five that lady for fighting the power!

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        W/ the new Tucson, incentives should be lower (at least for a while).

        If can wait, another option would be the Kia Seltos.

        Has more space and a nicer interior than the Kona and should be priced about the same, if not undercutting the Hyundai.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        xUVs don’t make ANY sense! But I’m obviously in the minority! :-p

  • avatar
    gtem

    ” or a monthly lease payment of $200 for a 36-month term with $2,020 due at signing”

    Sounds horrible. I’d rather buy a $2000 1996 Toyota Corolla on craigslist and have a vastly better car.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yea sure.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Just because it’s a Ford doesn’t mean you need to defend the hateful Indian turd

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          It is possible to acknowledge both the fact that, yes, this vehicle is a Turd while also acknowledging that even so, it is likely better transportation for 99 percent of people than a 23 year old economy car. Simply watching cars like that Corolla subjected to modern crash testing would away many people, as would reverting to a 3 speed auto. It is likely that even with all of the turdness, the car likely drives better than a new 96 Corolla (especially a dreadful auto equipped one) let alone a 23 year old one.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            No most people buying $9500 (plus gap insurance) three year leases of third world garbage-on-a-plate would indeed be better off with a $2000 corolla that would put them $5k ish plus a running car to their name ahead of the EcoSport leasee at the end of the lease.

            Corolla:
            objectively better interior quality and materials
            Objectively better fuel economy
            With a 5sod or 4spd+1.8L objectively better acceleration

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Sure the Ecosport may be one of the worst vehicles available today but to say a 1996 Corolla that can be purchased for $2k is vastly better than it is pure BS.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    Even with all that cash on the hood, I’d buy something used if was looking for a sub $20K vehicle. If leasing was the only option, there are some decent leases out there for more appealing cars with similar cash down and monthly payment.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I guess there are people that have to have new no matter how crappy, but there sure are a lot of decent used cars that can be had for $20K. That’s where my money would go

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Here’s my issue:

    Both Ford and Hyundai (maybe others, too?) kill off their base hatchbacks (Fiesta and Accent) which were both reasonably decent cars, and repackage the same sausage in a taller casing (EcoSport & Kona) and raise the price from $15k to $20k – A 33% INCREASE!!)

    I’m not falling for it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Smart move. The good news is that if someone wants one of these dinky CUVs lightly used, they depreciate like crazy. That might be the best play.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      But many people are and fact is there isn’t room for much in the way of profit on that $15k econobox while there is on a $20k CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ehem, not just small cars.
      GM kills the P2XX LaCrosse, which topped out at $51K sticker.

      The same model year the Lacrosse dies the E2XX Blazer comes out. Same engine, AWD system, instrument cluster, infotainment, and many pieces of switch gear.

      The smaller, no more capable off-road, Chevy branded Blazer tops out at…$51K.

      Profit.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    $9400 over 3 years plus tax even with $4500 on the hood? Holy depreciation Batman! I am guessing that lease is only 10K miles per year too.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    $200 with 2020 due at signing? That’s actually $256 monthly. You can probably get yourself into a base RAV4 for that if you shop aggressively. Yikes, what a terrible deal.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    As a former Ford fanboi for over 38 years, I can say this piece of garbage is one of the reasons I divorced Ford and bought a Hyundai this past January. And I have never regretted shoving Ford into the trash bin and buying a superior Hyundai product. Since this company refuses to build afford CARS, I have no reason to give them a dime. And considering how hard the Ford dealer worked to help me get my title after Ford had forgotten to send a lien release 17 years ago on my paid off 1997 Ford, I hope the company goes belly up and ceases to exist.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I did the same for my wife and got her a Santa Fe Sport. Hyundai was generous enough to toss some metal shavings in the crankcase too! Free of charge. Thank goodness I purchased the safe option, not that new fangled Turbo.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m guessing because of the assembly location and local supplies Ford can still make a nice profit on this thing even with incentives, but I am curious that a supposedly unstoppable product (mini CUV) suddenly can’t find as many buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      When the product is noticeably inferior to its competition, especially when it comes to value, CUVs can still fail. The C-HR is another noticeable flop, especially since it’s a Toyota and they’re expected to sell on badge alone.

  • avatar
    snakebit

    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?

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    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.


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