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2020 Ford Ecosport vs. 2020 Subaru Crosstrek: Compare Crossovers

March 17, 2020

Little crossovers are a big deal. The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek and 2020 Ford Ecosport are two of the most popular for first-time buyers, empty-nesters, and city dwellers. Their smaller engines go longer on a tank of fuel, too. 

But only one goes longer on our TCC Rating scale. The Crosstrek earns a 5.8 TCC Rating compared to the Ecosport’s 3.7 TCC Rating. Subaru wins in a relative landslide here; Ford’s only appeal is its low price in a base Ecosport that we don’t recommend. 

MORE: Read our full reviews of the 2020 Ford Ecosport and 2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Ford Ecosport

2020 Ford Ecosport

2020 Ford Ecosport

2020 Ford Ecosport

Like nearly all Subarus, the Crosstrek is equipped with standard all-wheel drive and more capability than most drivers will ever need. Its 8.7 inches of ground clearance and small wheelbase make it nimble on most trails, and most Crosstreks will be equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that includes hill-descent control. Only the Crosstrek’s 2.0-liter flat-4 that makes 152 horsepower is the weak link; it’s underpowered at highway speeds and its leisurely acceleration makes passing maneuvers a challenge. 

The Ecosport isn’t equipped with standard all-wheel drive and relies on a 1.0-liter turbo-3 to power front-wheel-drive versions. That turbo-3 makes 123 hp and drives a 6-speed automatic transmission tasked with lugging more than 3,000 pounds. That’s a formula for slow, and the Ecosport doesn’t overcome those numbers. A 2.0-liter inline-4 is equipped on all-wheel-drive versions and it makes 166 hp. All-wheel drive adds considerably more weight to the Ecosport, so the 2.0-liter doesn’t feel any brighter than the base engine. The Ecosport’s relatively simple all-wheel-drive system is best for all-weather traction, not off-road duty like the Crosstrek. 

2020 Ford Ecosport

2020 Ford Ecosport

The bad news for Ford doesn’t stop there: The Crosstrek looks better, is more comfortable and has better tech. In addition to that, the Ecosport’s safety scorecard is woefully behind the times for a new vehicle. Although full crash-test data isn’t yet in for the Ecosport, what’s there is concerning. Federal testers gave it a four-star overall rating and a rare three-star score for rollover crash safety. What’s more, active safety features such as automatic emergency braking aren’t available on the Ecosport at all.

The Crosstrek is magnitudes safer, by comparison. Federal testers gave it a five-star overall score and the IIHS gave it a Top Safety Pick+ in top trims with upgraded headlights. (The rest of the range earned a Top Safety Pick award when equipped with a CVT.) The Crosstrek has better outward vision, too. 

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

2020 Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru also equips the Crosstrek with better tech. In addition to standard safety features, the Crosstrek is equipped with a 6.5-inch touchscreen with smartphone software (upgradeable to 8.0 inches), 17-inch wheels, roof rails, and power features. The Ecosport gets 16-inch wheels, a 4.2-inch display for infotainment, and power features. To get an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Ford asks shoppers to step up from the base Ecosport to the Ecosport SE, which costs about $3,000 more. All-wheel drive adds about $1,600 from there. 

That’s well beyond where the Crosstrek with a CVT starts, and we think it’s the better buy anyway. Shoppers would do well to consider small crossovers because they’re economical, smart, and practical for most drivers, but the Ecosport falls far behind competitors such as Subaru.

Summary

4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ecosport is not particularly good value, not particularly efficient, and not particularly good.
5.8
Expert Rating
The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek puts safety first, with capability a close second.

Styling

3.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ecosport wears its humble origins on its sleeve.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The Colorado Department of Tourism welcomes you to the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek.
Read More

Performance

3.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ecosport has decent power for its size, but it’s cancelled out by its portly weight.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek isn’t going anywhere fast, but at least it can go just about anywhere.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ecosport has decent passenger room but a low-rent cabin and compromised cargo room.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek is basic and functional.
Read More

Safety

4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ecosport gets subpar crash test ratings and offers no active safety features.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
With the CVT, the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek comes loaded with standard active safety features.
Read More

Features

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ecosport offers the basics, and not much more.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
Base models of the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek come well-equipped, as long as you pay up for the CVT.
Read More

Fuel Economy

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ecosport fails to impress in the efficiency department despite its small engines.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
If fuel economy is a concern, get the CVT for a boost of 5 mpg combined over the manual.
Read More

MSRP

from $19,995
from $22,145

Invoice

from $19,595
from $21,015

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

28
25

Engine

Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-3, 1.0 L
Regular Unleaded H-4, 2.0 L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
All Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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