2018 Ford EcoSport

2018 Ford EcoSport Review

The value-rich EcoSport small crossover is the newest addition to Ford's SUV lineup.
6.8 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

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.

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.



What's new for 2018

The Ford EcoSport is all-new for 2018.

We 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.



Trim levels & features

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.



Trim tested

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).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall6.8 / 10

Driving

6.0 / 10

Acceleration5.0 / 10
Braking7.0 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling6.5 / 10
Drivability5.5 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort6.5 / 10
Ride comfort6.0 / 10
Noise & vibration7.5 / 10
Climate control8.0 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use7.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.5 / 10
Driving position7.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility6.0 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Utility

7.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space7.5 / 10

Technology

7.0 / 10

Audio & navigation7.5 / 10
Smartphone integration7.0 / 10
Driver aids6.0 / 10
Voice control7.0 / 10

Driving6.0

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.

Acceleration5.0

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.

Braking7.0

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.

Steering6.0

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.

Handling6.5

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.

Drivability5.5

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.

Comfort7.0

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.

Seat comfort6.5

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.

Ride comfort6.0

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.

Climate control8.0

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.

Interior7.0

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.

Driving position7.0

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.

Roominess7.0

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.

Visibility6.0

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.

Quality7.0

The EcoSport looks and feels solid overall, but our test car had an annoying and persistent unidentified rattle from the rear of the cabin.

Utility7.0

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.

Small-item storage7.0

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.

Cargo space7.5

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.

Technology7.0

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.

Smartphone integration7.0

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.

Driver aids6.0

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 control7.0

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.