2018 Ford Ecosport Preview

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
November 14, 2016

The Ford EcoSport looks to be a worthwhile offering in the subcompact segment

Although the Ford EcoSport is just now arriving in the United States, the automaker was actually one of the first to get in on the pint-size crossover game. 

More than a decade ago, Ford's Brazilian operations took the wraps off of the first-generation EcoSport; so successful was the model there that its follow-up has been offered just about everywhere Ford sells cars—except for the U.S., its home market.

That's all changing. Going on sale early next year as a 2018 model, the EcoSport slots in below the Escape here and it is designed to square off in the growing subcompact crossover market against cars like the Jeep Renegade, the Mazda CX-3, and the Chevrolet Trax. 

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Ford will offer the EcoSport in S, SE, SES, and Titanium trim grades, as well as two engines and a choice between front- and all-wheel drive. 

Ford EcoSport styling and performance

The EcoSport may be arriving here as a 2018, but its basic design went into production in Brazil in mid-2012. Ford promises that the EcoSport has been thoroughly updated for us. Underhood, there will be a choice between a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder and a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, although the 2.0 will be available with all-wheel drive. 

The SES model feature its own unique steering and suspension settings, and it comes standard with both all-wheel drive and the 2.0-liter engine. 

Don't look for the EcoSport to be an off-roader like the Renegade, but it should be capable of crawling up more than just a dirt road thanks to its global origination. After all, it needs to be as useful in Siberia as it does in South Beach to be a success.

The American EcoSport eschews the heavy and bulky rear door-mounted spare tire that's offered in markets where roads are more prone to smash up some rubber. With its swept-up belt line, it shares a lot in common with the Chevy Trax, although the EcoSport has a more delicate and refined look up front with a grille that could have been plucked from the automaker's Edge. 

Inside, the EcoSport doesn't reveal its low-end roots at first glance. A big 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system juts out of the dashboard as is the current fashion with tech-oriented vehicles. The SES model dresses things up with generous copper trim on its dash, doors, and seats.

Ford EcoSport comfort, safety, and features.

We'll have to update this space once we've had the opportunity to sit in and drive an EcoSport, but our international colleagues have reported that the global market EcoSport is fairly roomy for its small dimensions.

The side-opening cargo door eschews conventional liftgates, which could make loading the vehicle in a tight garage difficult. On the flip side, the door will be easier for shorter drivers and it is good for low garages where a liftgate might scrape the ceiling. The cargo floor itself features a movable floor panel, while the second row folds for storage of larger items. 

Ford says it is including up to 30 storage bins inside the EcoSport, meaning you'll never be able to find your phone charger again. 

So far, Ford hasn't detailed safety equipment, but we'll update this space once we know more.

On the features front, expect the base S model to be fairly tight; the SE should be the volume configuration, while the 2.0-only SES is designed to impart a sportier feel and the range-topping Titanium comes standard with a 10-speaker B&O Play audio system. 

Certain models will include a 110-volt outlet and a pair of USB ports mounted just in front of the shift lever. That 8.0-inch touchscreen displays Ford's updated Sync3 infotainment system, which can be equipped with navigation or Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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