By Cars.com EditorsApril 3, 2018
About the video
The subcompact SUV class is exploding, and one of its newest members is actually not so fresh: Check out our video on the 2018 Ford EcoSport.
Ford is a little late to the subcompact SUV party with the new EcoSport, a car that's actually been available overseas for some time now. Despite the not so fresh roots, the EcoSport does have some charm, but it comes with drawbacks, small and large.
The EcoSport does have an upright profile and that's really a distinguishing factor in this class of cars. It actually looks like an SUV. It's not some butched up hatchback, which a lot of competitors essentially are. That profile assures a nice high seating position. Certainly doesn't feel like you're in a hatchback here. Though visibility, a little bit of a mixed bag. It's really nice to your size, where there's a lot of glass and a clear view straight back links your rear head restraints that flip straight down into the seats and completely out of the way, but massive A-pillars in the EcoSport really do create a prominent obstruction at sort of your 10 and 2 o'clock. Now second row, also a bit of a mixed bag in the EcoSport. It's really nice that the seat sits this high off the ground. Adults won't feel like their knees are uncomfortably elevated, which is a sensation you get in a lot of cars, smaller cars, subcompact cars, especially. But overall knee space, you're not that much. I'm six feet tall, that's where I would sit to drive. And as you can see, I really just don't have that much extra clearance leftover. Now the cargo space leaves a few things to be desired. First of all, instead of using a conventional lift gate, Ford uses this swing gate right here for the EcoSport. And if you've ever parallel parked in the city, you often don't have this much space behind the car to actually fully open it and access stuff for it. Also puts a this right here, this is the release. It kind of incorporates it into the tail light. It's sort of an interesting area to put it, but from afar, it just looks like you've got a broken tail light. Now inside the EcoSport does have this nifty cargo divider here. It lets you choose between maximum height behind the second row or a continuous load floor with the seats folded. But to fold those seats down, to get the maximum volume, you actually have to flip forward the cushions first and then fold the seat backs down again, kind of an old school setup. Now, front wheel drive models have a one liter turbocharged EcoBoost, three cylinder engine. I know EcoBoost did an EcoSport, but the latter has a different pronunciation because, well it's named came first. Either way, whatever you want to call it, there's decent power past about 2,500 RPM or so, but some editors complained about excessive lag starting out. Now suspension tuning is generally soft overall, but other editors found excessive shimmying and shaking at highway speeds. And the EcoSports wind catching profile means you have to make a lot of minor steering corrections to kind of stay in a straight line that can be wearing after a while. City speeds are what suit the EcoSport best, but city conditions, maybe not so much. Drop a wheel onto a really uneven section of pavement and the whole car can rock for a second or two afterwards. That's sort of inevitable with such a short wheel base, but it's a major drawback all the same. So a check and driving experience and that swing gate really limit the EcoSport. But as sub compact SUVs go, there really aren't that many standout choices in the bunch. Consider the EcoSport if you like the driving position or the styling, or even its intuitive Sync 3 multimedia system. But remember all of that charm starts to wear thin as soon as you start driving.