I’m going to be perfectly honest here – I didn’t want to book the EcoSport for an entire week, but my wife loves this little car and wants to replace our Focus with one next year… so “Happy Wife, Happy Life!”
Here we go… First up, this is a small vehicle – based on the Fiesta platform. It’s not the only mini CUV however, because virtually all manufacturers have got at least one in their lineup, so there’s obviously a market for them (old people having difficulty getting in and out of a car, driving by touch etc.). In actual fact it’s a perfect little runabout for those that spend most of their time in an urban environment – plenty of stop and go traffic, tight parking spots, driving 30 in a 50 zone, turning right from the left lane, coming to a full stop on a green light – you know the kind. For these situations it’s a 10/10, doesn’t get any better. So for one entire week I had to think and drive like 90% of the population in Ontario in order to get the true and honest test drive experience this vehicle deserves. This is going to be painful, but I have to do it for my readers. So … transmission in D, brain in N…..foot off the brake – here we go!
- Mini CUV (Cross-over Utility Vehicle) – some would optimistically call it an SUV
- There are 4 models to choose from: S, SE, SES and Titanium
- S and SE are Front Wheel Drive and come with a 1.0L EcoBoost® engine with Auto Start-Stop Technology – the 2.0L is optional
- SES and Titanium are AWD and use a 2.0L Ti-VCT I-4 engine with Auto Start-Stop Technology
- Standard on all models is a 6-Speed SelectShift Automatic Transmission – I wish Ford would scrap the stupid button on the shifter for manual gear selection – give us paddle shift or the ability to move the shifter right/left to get into Sport mode. A button is just dumb.
- All but the S get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, but each step up gives you a nicer look
- All but the S come with a power moonroof
- Only on the SES do you get the “Sport-Tuned Suspension”
- Oddly, the EcoSport comes minus a spare tire, but you get a tire inflation and sealant kit. To be honest, when was the last time you needed a spare?
- This is a strange one for me – I really like the look from the front and from the side till the back side window after the C pillar, then it’s odd. The rear door is attractive and the view from the side from the back to the front is nice
- I love the rear swinging hatch door PLUS it swings the proper way! Some would say this is a bad thing in a parking lot and would prefer a lift-gate, but you simply have to plan. We plan for where we park with a regular hatchback … if you’re doing groceries, you nose-in so you can load the back … it’s just logic
- The test model came in uninspiring silver (we really prefer bright colors – we even owned a “fun in the sun yellow” focus station wagon back in the day). The test vehicle came dressed up with a big black thing on the hood to tell you it’s ‘Sporty’ – that’s called the black package. Ironically my wife HATES it, but I don’t mind it at all
- The EcoSport looks a little odd with what appear to be donut-sized tires. They’re actually 17” but look like they’re only 13 or 14” wheels
- Everyone that I talked to had very positive comments about the appearance of the EcoSport and were quite impressed by it
- The dash and centre console are attractive and everything is intuitively positioned
- The high-mounted 8” screen is VERY useful and I loved having it up high within my sightline and it’s easy to make adjustments without taking your eyes off the road – thumbs up Ford!
- The driver gets a power seat and manual lumbar adjustment, while the front passenger gets completely neglected – it’s manual adjustments for them
- The stereo system – AM/FM, MP3 capable with 7 Speakers is a bit blaah. It’s 2019 and it should sound a lot better. I’d spring for the Titanium model just to get the Bang & Olufsen Sound System – that one is awesome!
- Auto-Dimming Rear-view Mirror in the SES and Titanium. I drove the SE and HATED the rearview mirror – it was like being in a funhouse – everything to the rear was distorted – very strange! Not sure if that was a one-off anomaly or not
- Entry into the rear is better than expected considering the size of this vehicle. There is a little bit of a step up height-wise to get your bum on the seat. Getting out is easier than getting in – again it’s surprising considering the lower part of the rear door is quite small. I’ve been in much larger vehicles and struggled to get out without tripping over the footwell
- Once inside there’s a surprising amount of foot space under the front seats and the sitting position is great – you sit nice and high with the theatre seat concept
- Foot space is quite good due to the virtually flat floor
- Rear space is very good for two people, but I’d hate to think about sitting in the middle seat. Headroom is very good
- Cargo room behind the rear seat is ‘cosy’ as a real estate agent would say, but a Toyota Matrix owner pointed out that it was the same size as their vehicle but with additional height and therefore more room
- The rear seats split 60/40 allowing for even more cargo
- Passenger volume: 93 cu-ft
- Cargo volume: 21 cu-ft
- The rear door swings (the proper way) – not lifts up like 99% of CUV’s – I actually liked that aspect
- Curb weight: 3,386 lb
- Let’s start with quick… as in, its not. It’s adequate for around town and especially for those that get dazed and confused when the red light changes to green… 8, 9, 10 go!
- Mashing the go pedal gets you going, but I’d definitely leave it in S mode and get those revs up for regular driving – lethargic is a good word, again – 90% of the people on the roads today would find the giddy up just fine. My wife says it’s all the way you drive it – something about planning and preparation, but whatever!
- Cornering is perfect for that 90% of the population, for me it was more along the lines of OMG when pushing it into the curves of the on-ramps to the highway. Not driving like a maniac improved the cornering factor, so it was all my right foot’s fault
- Getting up to highway speeds is definitely in the minutes instead of seconds category, with lots of noise and little action, but no one’s claiming it’s a sports car
- Once up to 120kph (or even 140) it’s very quiet and serene. Ford have done a great job with the soundproofing
- Braking was VERY good – it always felt solid and stopped better than expected
- The speedometer has a very ambitious top speed of 220 km/h (top speed is actually 180)
- Steering input is very good for urban driving – very light at slow speeds
Horsepower: 166 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 149 @ 4,500 rpm
Top Speed: 188 kms / 117 mph
0 – 100 km/h: 10 seconds
EcoSport SES // As Tested: $28,349
Note…the entry-level (ie: the one you DON’T want) EcoSport S has a base pricing starting at $20,849
- 2.0L (L/100 km) is rated at: City – 10.2 / Highway – 8.1
- I averaged 8.4 during semi-highway speeds and 10.5 in runabout town mode, so spot on with the estimates
- The gas tank is quite small – don’t expect to get more than 400 kms per tank
Vehicle’s features, options and my opinion/experience with them…
Noteworthy Standard Features
- Rear view camera & Reverse Sensing System – always good to have on a vehicle – even one this small
- BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert
- Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start – don’t put the massive FOB in your pocket (it’s as big as the FOB for the F-150 Lariat). I constantly came out of a store wondering who had set off their panic alarm only to find it was me – and I didn’t even press the button. Getting it to stop was nearly impossible until you got right up beside it! Oh and it didn’t just happen once either. Range on the FOB is poor for the EcoSport – not for other Ford’s – very strange
- Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel with Cruise and Audio Controls, Manual Tilt and Telescoping with Black Stitching
- Heated Steering Wheel – in Canada this should be mandatory
- Power Moonroof – other manufacturers make you go for the expensive top-of-the-line model to get this
- 8-inch Touchscreen
- SYNC 3 – don’t get me started on the Sync system … I kid you not, you actually get way more distracted yelling at it than if you were allowed to manually search for things on the screen while driving (though my wife blames my accent)
- Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System – see above… I asked it for the hospital and it changed the radio station instead!!
- ActiveX Seating Material
- Heated Front Bucket Seats – that stay on even when you switch off and come back to the vehicle – two thumbs up!
- Intelligent 4WD System
- Torque Vectoring Control
- Traction Control
- AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
- Trailer Tow Prep – Ability to tow up to a max. 2000 lbs. with the available
2.0L Ti-VCT I-4 engine
- Windshield Wiper De-Icer
- SYNC3 AppLink links your favorite compatible mobile apps with your voice, giving you convenient control
- FordPass Connect’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot lets passengers connect tablets, laptops and smartphones. It includes a complimentary 3-month or 3GB data trial
- FordPass Connect allows you to remotely lock and unlock your vehicle, start your vehicle, remote start your vehicle on a schedule, and operate the climate control system using your smartphone or iPhone. Additionally, you can locate your vehicle, check for recalls, call roadside assistance and check approximate fuel range. FordPass also helps you find fuel and compare prices. Find, reserve and pre-pay for parking in select locations. Plus, get help 24/7 from trained team of Ford Guides
- iPhone – Apple CarPlay compatibility displays the iPhone interface on your vehicle’s touchscreen. Send and receive text messages by voice. Get directions. Access playlists from Apple Music. iPhone users can view the Waze app’s community-based navigation and traffic features
- Android Auto compatibility displays the Android interface on your vehicle’s touchscreen. Get voice-guided navigation from Google Maps and Waze. Access your favorite music from your apps. Make calls. Send and receive messages. Just talk to Google Assistant and go. Amazon Alexa users can enjoy their Amazon Echo with the Ford+Alexa app
- MyKey technology
Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore, Honda Fit & HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Nissan Kicks, Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Toyota C-HR
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- The Good: Very quiet and hushed interior especially at highway speeds. Perfect little runabout in the city or around town
- The Bad: Fairly well-appointed, but price is relative and there are a lot of similar vehicles in the same price range, though they don’t match it for content/price! That being the case, a hatchback is every bit as good, probably around 8-10k cheaper and has much better fuel economy – sorry Ford but this was disappointing
- The Ugly: The EcoSport is hefty and the weight hits you at the gas pump – it’s not anywhere close to what I would expect of a vehicle of this size. I would consider 7.5 L/100 km to be acceptable, but not 10.5 that I experienced around town
What’s The Verdict?
Where do I start? If you are in the market for a small/mini CUV then the EcoSport SES and Titanium hit the mark quite well. The price is somewhat justified with the long list of standard features. Directly against the competition (I’m thinking Hyundai Kona here…) it’s not so close. The base Kona is equal to the EcoSport, but stepping up to the Kona Ultimate (same price as the Titanium) it’s like comparing apples to oranges – it’s waay faster, it’s more planted and the fun factor is off the scale. HOWEVER – there’s a new 2020 EcoSport coming very soon, so hopefully everything negative I’ve mentioned here is addressed. Watch this space.
Would I recommend the EcoSport? Yes I would. It has its faults, but it does a perfect job at being the ideal city/town vehicle. It’s very easy to drive, you sit nice and high. Getting in and out is very easy and parking is a breeze – what else could you ask for?
Copyright © 2019 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland