2018 Ford EcoSport Review
2018 Ford EcoSport Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- Above-average cargo space for the class
- All-wheel drive can be ordered at every trim level
- Widespread availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Aside from blind-spot monitoring, advanced safety aids aren't available
- Below-average fuel economy scores
- Base engine might struggle while carrying passengers and cargo
The Ford EcoSport is all-new for 2018.
Get ready for another crossover SUV in Ford's lineup. Eyeing the burgeoning success of subcompacts such as the Chevrolet Trax and the Honda HR-V, Ford has dipped into its global cache to bring you the 2018 EcoSport.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Ford EcoSport S 4dr SUV (1.0L 3cyl Turbo 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$139/mo for EcoSport S
Avg. Compact SUV
Already on sale in other countries, the EcoSport is indeed a small utility vehicle — it's nearly a foot-and-a-half shorter than the Escape. Inside, you'll notice the difference in cargo capacity. The Escape boasts 34 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, while the EcoSport makes do with just 20.9 cubic feet (about 2 cubes fewer than a Focus hatchback). Among pint-size crossovers, though, the EcoSport's cargo area is actually one of the largest in its class.
Ford has you covered if you're looking for the latest entertainment technology. Almost all EcoSport trim levels are equipped with a large central touchscreen powered by the excellent Sync 3 infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Unfortunately, there's not as much a priority on advanced safety equipment — a standard rearview camera and optional blind-spot monitor are the only modern-day driver aids you'll find.
Another downside is the EcoSport's available engines. A turbocharged three-cylinder with front-wheel drive is standard, while a slightly more powerful four-cylinder is paired with all-wheel drive. The three-cylinder engine is painfully slow; a 0-60 mph time of 11.4 seconds is worst-in-class. It'll be even worse with passengers in tow. The four-cylinder offers slightly better acceleration, but its 4 mpg hit to fuel economy in city driving is substantial. Frankly, it's a no-win proposition with either engine.
Overall, the Ford EcoSport is a viable subcompact SUV as long as you keep in mind the lethargic acceleration and lack of the latest and greatest safety features.
Edmunds' Expert Rating6.8 / 10
The all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport is an intriguing new entry into the subcompact crossover SUV market. Its low price and baby-Escape looks will win some fans, but we're not sure the standard engine is up to the task of carrying friends and cargo.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Ford EcoSport Titanium (turbo 1.0-liter inline-3 | 6-speed automatic | FWD), with additional impressions of a Ford EcoSport SES (2.0-liter inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).
|Overall||6.8 / 10|
A short wheelbase makes for sharp handling that would benefit from better tires, but there's no helping the underpowered engine. This car is just slow, and its sluggish transmission doesn't help. The brakes are good, but otherwise it's a well-balanced subcompact lacking muscle.
Unless the three-cylinder engine's turbochargers are spooled up and ready for action, it requires a Herculean effort to bring the EcoSport to highway speeds. In Edmunds testing, it required 11.4 seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop, one of the most leisurely paces in this segment. Selecting the 2.0-liter/AWD combo shaves a full second off the 0-60 mph time.
There's a delay between the application of the brake pedal and the car slowing in earnest. Firm pressure is required for stopping power, but slowing is smooth and stable. Emergency stops are drama-free with no pulling. Coming to a halt from 60 mph takes 124 feet — just shy of average for the class.
The steering feels fairly accurate in direction and offers confidence that the car will go where the wheel commands it. But the steering feel is abysmal. It's as though the steering wheel is connected to the tires with only a large rubber band, which is a strange sensation that's hard to get accustomed to.
Despite the EcoSport's top-heavy looks, body roll isn't severe. You can whip the EcoSport into curves with some confidence if you're mindful of the car's front-weight bias. (The rear end likes to wiggle when driven hard.) Grippier tires would reclaim a measure of sport, but this is not a car for spirited driving.
It feels frenetic and overcaffeinated in dense urban traffic. The transmission is indecisive about whether it needs to save fuel or deliver quick acceleration, yet it's not particularly good at either. Long intervals between gear changes mean the EcoSport tends to bog down during upshifts.
The supportive seats, relatively quiet engine and strong climate control hit the essential points for a comfortable cabin. But backseat passengers may not be as enthused. Ride quality suffers in the pursuit of sporty handling, yielding a choppy, jostling ride on all but the smoothest pavement.
The unobtrusive side bolsters offer easy entry and exit, and they still manage to secure front passengers in fast turns. The seat bottoms are firm and comfy, but the seatbacks feel flat as boards. The rear seats are flat, shapeless and utilitarian. The combination of power seat adjustments and manual lumbar controls is clumsy.
The EcoSport delivers a choppy, bumpy ride on most road surfaces. It won't rattle your teeth, but this car lacks the refined damping of a competitor such as the Mazda CX-3. It handles road undulations well, but it gets bounced around by the sharper impacts of bad, rashy pavement.
Noise & vibration7.5
The three-cylinder's small-engine snarl makes its way into the cabin, but it sounds surprisingly good, even when pushed. The cabin does a good job muting most road and tire noise, and at idle you'll barely hear the engine. But while road and wind noise is hushed, large and small impacts still creep into the cabin.
The controls and adjustments are straightforward. The A/C has no trouble cooling the cabin quickly on a warm day. The auto setting offers high, medium and low fan speeds, nice for minimizing noise when trying to cool or heat the cabin. The seat heaters begin roasting within a minute and are warm and toasty even on the lowest setting.
The cabin is just roomy enough, but smarter packaging would open it up — the deep dashboard gobbles up valuable real estate (and creates forward blind spots). Otherwise, the controls are intuitively placed, save for the tacked-on touchscreen display, which feels, well, tacky and could be executed better.
Ease of use7.5
Most common controls are simple to read and within easy reach, but the steering wheel and stalk buttons are a bit cryptic. The touchscreen, basically a tablet affixed to the dash, is tricky. Its vertical orientation requires a steady finger to enter commands. A separate controller would be preferable.
Getting in/getting out6.5
The front seat height is just right, and short thigh bolsters make it easy to slide in and out. But the rear seats are trickier. Since the seat bottoms are placed higher than the front seats for a "stadium seating" effect — which is nice for rear passengers to see out of the windshield — a noticeable step up is required.
A decent range of power seat adjustments makes it easy to find a comfortable perch, whether you prefer traditional SUV "command"-style or lower "cockpit"-style angle. A thigh-angle adjustment would be nice especially for taller drivers on long drives.
The driver and front passenger get good headroom and legroom, but they'll fight over a tiny armrest surface. Rear seat room is decent, but 6-foot-tall front passengers will make things tight for the passenger behind them. There's a good sense of space between the seats and the door panels. The cabin doesn't feel claustrophobic.
Forward visibility is obscured by large windshield pillars, while small sail windows at the pillar bases make futile attempts to reclaim some of that visibility. The thick rear window pillars also create large blind spots. The narrow rear window doesn't help. Blind-spot monitoring is a welcome feature.
The EcoSport looks and feels solid overall, but our test car had an annoying and persistent unidentified rattle from the rear of the cabin.
Like the larger Escape, the EcoSport suits active lifestyles. The EcoSport offers cargo space similar to capacity in the Jeep Renegade and the Mini Countryman and a bit larger than in the Mazda CX-3. It requires an orchestrated seat and headrest flipping/folding routine to yield maximum space. The left-hinged tailgate opens to the side for curbside cargo-loading.
There's a very skinny but deep center console up front with a handy tray. The door pockets offer bottle holders and long molded channels for phones, snacks and personal items. The mobile phone cutout/shelf for the front passenger is a nice touch.
With 20.9 cubic feet behind the second row and 50 cubes of maximum cargo space, the EcoSport makes a compelling case to drivers who like to move around with outdoor and weekend gear or shopping-trip hauls. It's more space than most rivals offer, although it's well short of what you'd get by sizing up.
Child safety seat accommodation6.0
Lower LATCH anchors aren't very easy to access. The seat backing is pretty stiff, and you'll need to work the buckles to push them past the stiff upholstery and connect with the LATCH hooks. There are three tethers behind the rear seatbacks.
The optional Sync 3 infotainment system is fast and useful. Response time to inputs and commands is blazing. Voice controls require deliberate sequence and syntax. It's easy to learn but clumsy. Bypass it with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto if you can. The Bang & Olufsen Play audio system, standard on this trim, exceeds expectations for the segment.
Audio & navigation7.5
Onboard navigation looks sharp and sophisticated and offers a good alternative to iPhone and Android navigation apps. The 8-inch touchscreen is large and high-resolution. Audio quality is good, although there's a certain color baked into the Bang & Olufsen system. Basic EQ functions help dial in the best tone.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included with Sync 3, which comes standard on SE trims and above. (The base S model offers a basic Sync system.) Other devices can be integrated into the EcoSport's basic Bluetooth or wired Sync system.
It offers a rearview camera and blind-spot monitoring — almost a necessity owing to the enormous rear blind spot. But there are no other more advanced features, such as automatic emergency braking or lane departure warning. They're not even optional.
Voice controls are limited to phone, navigation and audio commands, but they work well enough within those parameters. Users need to follow a fairly rigid sequence, and clear pronunciation is key. Oddly enough, voice command defaults to Siri when an iPhone is plugged into the USB even when operating outside of CarPlay.
Which EcoSport does Edmunds recommend?
The SE is the sweet spot of the EcoSport lineup, packing a bunch of features into this small crossover. It's more expensive than the base-level S, but in return you get more features plus greater access to option packages. If you're thinking of adding the Convenience package, you might as well step up to the Titanium or SES. It's included on both trims. Just note that the price of a fully loaded EcoSport is going to be close to roomier small crossovers, such as Ford's Escape. The EcoSport's 2.0-liter engine is a must if you frequently carry passengers.
2018 Ford EcoSport models
The 2018 Ford EcoSport is a five-passenger subcompact crossover that slots below the Escape in Ford's SUV lineup. The EcoSport S is pretty well equipped, with available all-wheel drive and most basic amenities you will want from a modern car. The SE is quite a bit pricier, but its list of added features is extensive. From there, buyers can go in one of two ways: the sport-themed SES — adding the EcoSport's upgraded engine and standard all-wheel drive — or the luxurious Titanium, with leather upholstery and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system.
EcoSport S, SE and Titanium models with front-wheel drive are powered by a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine (123 horsepower, 125 pound-feet of torque). Optional for those models and standard on the SES is all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (166 hp, 149 lb-ft). Both engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The short list of standard equipment on the base S model is indicative of its modest price. Features include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, hill start assist, remote locking and unlocking, full power accessories, a rearview camera, air conditioning, cruise control, a driver information display, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, 60/40-split rear seats, a cargo cover, a removable cargo floor panel, front floor mats, Bluetooth, a 4.2-inch central display screen, and a six-speaker audio system with two USB ports.
Upgrading to the SE equips the EcoSport with LED running lights, foglights, body-colored exterior accents, roof rails, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded driver information display, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat (with manual lumbar), heated front seats, upgraded cloth upholstery, rear floor mats, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with the Sync 3 interface, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Seventeen-inch wheels are available as a stand-alone option.
The SE's optional Convenience package further adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, interior ambient lighting, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen, a seven-speaker audio system and a 110-volt household-style power outlet.
The SES is the somewhat sporty variant. It has the contents of the Convenience package and the 2.0-liter engine/AWD combo, along with 17-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, black exterior styling elements, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and leather upholstery with cloth inserts.
The luxe Titanium builds off the contents of the SE with Convenience package, further adding 17-inch wheels, body-colored bumpers, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, blind-spot monitoring, and a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system with HD radio.
A Cold Weather package is available on all trims except the S, adding the heated mirrors, a heated steering wheel, a windshield wiper de-icer and floor mats. A keyless entry keypad and remote engine start are stand-alone options on every trim level.
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Love my new little one!
2018 Ford EcoSport S 4dr SUV (1.0L 3cyl Turbo 6A)
So far very very happy with my little SUV/Crossover. I love everything about it. I am 57 and have been through many cars. Every car was purchase for a need, sport car when young, Van when starting a family, Big SUV when the kids were older, even a midlife car for when I didnt want to be as old as I am getting. This little car is everything I need. I commute a long distance daily, … gas mileage pretty good (always want better) comfort for distance driving, tech is good in car (still figuring everything out, so far pretty simple). I really really like this car and will keep it for a long time. No need for anything different, it has all I need. For the first time, I dont even mind paying the payments on it. I got a great deal on the base model. Will Keep. Still loving my little car after 6 months of owning...
5 out of 5 stars
Tricia Hall, 02/06/2019
2018 Ford EcoSport Titanium 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Had the Ruby Red Escape SE and decided to down size to the Ecosport Ruby Red Titanium as all of my children are grown. I am also petite and had recent hip and shoulder surgery. The trunk opening to the side and not over my head is a real bonus to anyone with shoulder issues. I love the heated seats and steering wheel with my joint issues. Just has ice on the roads and the AWD seemed to … handle just fine as I was worried as it is smaller than the escape but no issue. Rides very nice and I am so far pleased with my purchase. Getting out of tight parking spaces is a dream.
5 out of 5 stars
Unique little SUV
2018 Ford EcoSport SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
UPDATE: 10/15/2021 After 56000 miles I’ve traded in my EcoSport. It truly was a great little SUV that needed nothing other than usual maintenance, tires/oil changes. I saw this car at the dealership while my huge lemon of a 2017 Escape was getting serviced (again). I asked a few questions and wanted to go for a test drive and I fell in love! It drove similar to my escape but was just … smaller in stature. I have almost 11,000 miles on it now and it’s been great! It’s done well for its size in the snow and my only real complaint I have so far is it didn’t come with heated side mirrors which is a problem living in Minnesota and unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be able to be added on. If you’re in the market for a small SUV on a budget the Ecosport is a great choice.
5 out of 5 stars
update at 6700 miles
Harry Brewin, 06/15/2018
2018 Ford EcoSport SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I can't find a real con yet. It out-rides much larger cars on our rough roads in northern Vermont. Good price, good mileage, don't know about Ford service yet or warranty work. I'm 6' and have no trouble getting in or out and the vehicle has surprising road clearance. If the 4wd drive works fine next year, I'd be surprised if it isn't a very good snow car. New: Used it in snow and ice, … the 4wd worked just fine on some steep, icy slopes.
2018 EcoSport Highlights
|Combined MPG||28 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$139/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the EcoSport models:
- Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors
- Reduces blind spots with a smaller, angled mirror within each exterior mirror.
- Rearview Camera
- Displays an image of the area right behind the rear bumper in the central display screen.
- Blind Spot Information System
- Alerts the driver when vehicles are in the EcoSport's blind spots.
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover20.4%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood