2018 Ford EcoSport Titanium FWD new car reviews

One day, maybe next week, maybe in a few decades, we’ll all be able to reflect upon a time when Ford offered cars–like, traditional cars. For now, at least, the future–and present–is all about SUVs, CUVs and other sorts of UVs.

One of those new UVs is the new-for-2018 EcoSport.

And here’s some foreshadowing for the review part of the review, as Ford’s media site kicks off the introduction with little mention of the vehicle’s attributes as an actual vehicle: “Fun, capable and connected, the all-new Ford EcoSport can be customized with 10 available colors, six interior choices and ambient lighting options.”

So what is it? The EcoSport is a tall, five-door little ute. The standard engine, as found in our tester, is the 1.0-liter EcoBoost backed with a six-speed auto. A 2.0-liter inline-four is optional. The rear door is hinged on the side.

The EcoSport line starts at $19,995, with our top-spec Titanium model carrying an MSRP of $25,880.

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I wrote a cute intro but deleted it. I’ll just cut to the chase: I didn’t enjoy this one. And I’m usually the half-full one around here.

The driveline can best be described as jerky and lackluster. And down on power. Need to pull into traffic? Better time things just right, captain.

Putting the shifter in S smoothens out the transmission’s operation, though, as D is just too quick to engage a tall gear. If you’re in D and need some boost, better put the pedal to the floor and wait a few ticks.

The brakes feel grabby. Something’s up with the steering, too. Too much caster? I can’t remember the last time I had to fight a wheel from self-centering this much. It gets tiring.

Around town, the EcoSport’s ride feels okay. It’s a small car that will get you from Point A to Tab B. On the highway, though, it feels downright nervous. The confidence that an emergency situation could be managed at speed just isn’t there.

And at that price point, I think that there are better options. Two of my faves? Subaru Crosstrek and Hyundai Tucson. This one just needs some more development.

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NickD
NickD UberDork
12/14/18 7:30 p.m.

Am I the only irked that its pronounced as "Echo"sport but their engines are pronounced "Eeco"boost?

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
12/14/18 7:43 p.m.

so....this is basically a Fiesta that they just stretched vertically?

Fun....but not as fun as a Fiesta

Capable....of going slower than a Fiesta and getting poorer fuel economy?

Connected....just like literally every single other car on the market today. 

Ford managed to get back to coolness in the 2010-present timeframe with a handful of cool cars. Now it's going back to the "dorky appliance" lineup last seen during the Tempo/Topaz/Taurus/Escort days. I don't get this jacked-up compact car thing - they are just compromised compact hatchbacks that do everything worse and are less fun.

Image result for ford ecosport

RossD
RossD MegaDork
12/14/18 7:49 p.m.

If its a lifted fiesta, lets use parts of it lift an actual fiesta!

Wally
Wally MegaDork
12/14/18 7:50 p.m.

Give it a good beating for us. We are thinking about one for the wife once she’s driving again.  I like the rear mounted spare so she can her knit a cover for it. 

 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
12/14/18 7:50 p.m.
RossD said:

If its a lifted fiesta, lets use parts of it lift an actual fiesta!

better yet, let's use fiesta parts and lower this thing back down :D

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/15/18 8:42 a.m.

Ah. It’s the regularly scheduled ‘let’s bash auto makers for building what people want to buy rather than what enthusiasts who rarely buy new cars think they should build’ thread. Got it!

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
12/15/18 9:12 a.m.

Given the powertrain options, I think it's more a Focus than a Fiesta.  But that's just a guess- I've never seen one in person.  Sadly, I expect it to be my last lease car as I round out my career.  I'd much rather have another focus.  It sucks that the rest of the buying public don't like the same cars I do.  But seeing other companies do the same thing, well...

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/15/18 9:16 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Nope.  IT's a B class on the same architecture as the Fiesta.  The Kuga/Escape is the C class Focus architecture. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
12/15/18 9:21 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson :

Ok, so just the powertrain options are more Focus, then.  (the 1.0 is available in both, but IIRC, the 2.0 isn't in any of the Fiestas)

Odd that the actual size of the vehicle is more the up sized car- as our Escape isn't nearly has short as our Focus.  Doesn't make that much sense to make it that small- especially since the FE targets are wheelbase length based- so making it a little longer lowers the target.

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
12/15/18 9:22 a.m.

Body of a fiesta, grill of a Chevy truck

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/15/18 9:29 a.m.
Robbie said:

Body of a fiesta, grill of a Chevy truck

???  That's the Ford corporate grille, everything for years and years now has had the same grill.  Also, while the EcoSport may be new to the US, it's been on sale for years in the rest of the world.  The first Ecosport was launched in 03.  It's  not new or a copy cat.

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
12/15/18 9:34 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:
Robbie said:

Body of a fiesta, grill of a Chevy truck

???  That's the Ford corporate grille, everything for years and years now has had the same grill.  Also, while the EcoSport may be new to the US, it's been on sale for years in the rest of the world.  The first Ecosport was launched in 03.  It's  not new or a copy cat.

I know it's a Ford corporate grill. Unfortunately that doesn't help much with the 'giant' and 'ugly'.

I'm a huge Ford fan but this car (do we call it a car?) has the odd look of a child body builder.

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
12/15/18 9:35 a.m.

You could mount the spare tire straight to the front of the car and still have vertical surface above and below the spare!

Wally
Wally MegaDork
12/15/18 9:45 a.m.

Sat in one and it seemed Fiesta size.  We liked that it wasn’t too big, but was high so it’s easy for her to get in easy.  That seems to be a big plus with the crossovers. If you have bad knees/ankles they’re easier to get out of than sedans.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/15/18 9:49 a.m.

The rear door is not a hatch but rather a swing door. The right tail light is the disguised handle. 

mcs5280
mcs5280 New Reader
12/15/18 10:35 a.m.

How much was MSRP on a 1.0 Fiesta? $15000? I bet most of the difference is just pure profit for Ford.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/15/18 11:48 a.m.
Wally said:

Sat in one and it seemed Fiesta size.  We liked that it wasn’t too big, but was high so it’s easy for her to get in easy.  That seems to be a big plus with the crossovers. If you have bad knees/ankles they’re easier to get out of than sedans.  

I'll straight up eat a club sandwich at a cottage and cottage cheese at the club I really don't give a E36 M3 anymore.

Shh, don't talk like a real new vehicle customer, that's heresy around here.  Your supposed to complain it's not a RWD Fiesta ST with manual trans and real LSD for $4,995 out the door.

Wally
Wally MegaDork
12/15/18 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson :

If it was for me I would complain but it’s for the wife who somehow felt that a Fiat 500 was plenty of car for one person to commute in even though everyone told her she was crazy.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/15/18 12:56 p.m.

BTW, I'm not (just) being an ass in this thread.  I've got a base spec 1.0L FWD S on order for our oldest.  It was built last week and should be here in late Jan/early Feb.  So in a while I'll be able to give some real world feedback on how it works for a young family.  

RossD
RossD MegaDork
12/15/18 2:34 p.m.

I think they are neat looking. I wasnt bashing. 

I am on the opposite side of things, I want a bigger SUV. The Grand Cherokee isnt cutting it. Maybe it will be roomier when the oldest goes into a booster seat.

That new Expedition looks great!

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
12/15/18 2:48 p.m.

OK this may be drifting off topic a bit, but Ford is  an international company, and international pollution and crash standards are very similar at this point, so...... I presume that they will continue making small cars for other markets. Why not make some of them available for us? 

 

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/15/18 2:50 p.m.
Kreb said:

OK this may be drifting off topic a bit, but Ford is  an international company, and international pollution and crash standards are very similar at this point, so...... I presume that they will continue making small cars for other markets. Why not make some of them available for us? 

 

I don't want to say anything I'm not meant to, but basically people don't buy enough of them to make the investment worth it.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
12/15/18 3:52 p.m.

Wallens was so excited for this "car" he forgot to include a picture. 

Dave M
Dave M Reader
12/15/18 4:56 p.m.

As they are, these little things are fine. Not good, not bad, just fine. Underpowered and top-heavy.

With an electric powertrain they'll be the bee's knees, because the skateboard has a low COG and way more torque. In other words, in BMW i3 form the echo sport is actually a great vehicle. 

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
12/15/18 5:11 p.m.

My KJ had a door in the back with the spare mounted.   Never again.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
12/15/18 10:14 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:

Ah. It’s the regularly scheduled ‘let’s bash auto makers for building what people want to buy rather than what enthusiasts who rarely buy new cars think they should build’ thread. Got it!

What if someone had bought their daily drivers brand-new for the last decade? Would that person allowed to bash the auto makers for not building what people like that want?

Asking for a friend who has the same name as me and bought a non-crossover, regular-hatchback car just recently and didn't even consider anything "taller."

My demographic is an automaker's wet dream, I'm just curious if I am that much different from apparently everyone else in the US on this kind of thing. I put my money where my mouth is. 

spacecadet
spacecadet Reader
12/16/18 1:18 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:
Kreb said:

OK this may be drifting off topic a bit, but Ford is  an international company, and international pollution and crash standards are very similar at this point, so...... I presume that they will continue making small cars for other markets. Why not make some of them available for us? 

 

I don't want to say anything I'm not meant to, but basically people don't buy enough of them to make the investment worth it.

BINGO, there are still a lot of costs to federalize and market a vehicle to sell it here. 

That being said, if economics change and ford sees the hurt on truck sales numbers, I believe the parts are in place internationally that ford could bring the focus and fiesta here in a reasonable amount of time. 

 

FCA already got handed their ass on small cars, and Ford and GM are feeling it too. The Japanese and Koreans offer much better options in the compact and midsize sedan market, and those brands are STILL seeing better sales numbers on the SUV's. 

Am I sad to see the focus is no longer going to be offered here? Yes! But I understand why ford has made the choices that they have. 

 

Dave M
Dave M Reader
12/16/18 6:11 a.m.
irish44j said:
Adrian_Thompson said:

Ah. It’s the regularly scheduled ‘let’s bash auto makers for building what people want to buy rather than what enthusiasts who rarely buy new cars think they should build’ thread. Got it!

What if someone had bought their daily drivers brand-new for the last decade? Would that person allowed to bash the auto makers for not building what people like that want?

Asking for a friend who has the same name as me and bought a non-crossover, regular-hatchback car just recently and didn't even consider anything "taller."

My demographic is an automaker's wet dream, I'm just curious if I am that much different from apparently everyone else in the US on this kind of thing. I put my money where my mouth is. 

It's not that nobody buys cars, it's that the margin on a CUV or truck is much higher. FCA and Ford are leaving the lower margin businesses to others. It's working - Jeep is basically keeping all of Fiat afloat. Ford figures it can lift its overall gross margin by leaving cars behind.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/16/18 7:19 a.m.

I want someone to test one of these against a Mk1 Focus. Or maybe an 80's Fiesta? 

I'm always shocked at just how good modern cars are at normal street speeds and lateral loads even though people dismiss them as too heavy or too tall. 

Better ingress/egress, better sight lines in traffic, higher belt line for crash safety. I understand sports car guys wanting sports cars instead, but if someone doesn't want a sports car I understand why they shop CUV's. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
12/16/18 8:51 a.m.

If anyone asks why I bought the FR-S new, this is why. I didn't want it to be too late. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
12/16/18 9:11 a.m.
irish44j said:
Adrian_Thompson said:

Ah. It’s the regularly scheduled ‘let’s bash auto makers for building what people want to buy rather than what enthusiasts who rarely buy new cars think they should build’ thread. Got it!

What if someone had bought their daily drivers brand-new for the last decade? Would that person allowed to bash the auto makers for not building what people like that want?

Asking for a friend who has the same name as me and bought a non-crossover, regular-hatchback car just recently and didn't even consider anything "taller."

My demographic is an automaker's wet dream, I'm just curious if I am that much different from apparently everyone else in the US on this kind of thing. I put my money where my mouth is

If your ideal car was THE ideal car for the market, OEMs would be making them in the hundreds of thousands of year, seeling them at a huge profit, and everyone would be happy.

The other real big issue for cars instead of SUV's is cost to make vs. value to sell.  No more will OEM's sell a loss leader just to sell cars and be the # 1 car seller.  We all have to make money to survive.   Cars like the Tempo/Topaz and simple small trucks like the old Ranger will not be here anymore.  The new Ranger will have to make serious money to survive, and since the cars just don't do that here in the US, nobody wants to have a +-1% margin car sold.

Factor in the new fuel economy rules, and cars that had a tough time in the free market are no longer a good option anymore.

I hate it, too.  

Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
12/16/18 9:23 a.m.

The regularly scheduled 'counterpoint' that auto makers only make what the masses of new car buyers want to buy, and what will sell new, is a complete and total fallacy. They have all, individually and en masses, been wrong about both what people do want and what people don't want PLENTY of times. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
12/16/18 9:38 a.m.
Driven5 said:

Saying that auto makers only make what the masses of new car buyers want to buy and what will sell new is a complete and total fallacy. They have all, at various times individually and en masses, been wrong about both what people do want and what people don't want PLENTY of times. 

Here's the thing.

Look at buying trends.  

We all know that the cost to make an SUV like the Escape isn't that much more than the car the Fusion.  It's a little more because there just more stuff in it. 

But when it comes to selling both cars, consumers are paying MORE for an SUV, so that an OEM can make more money.  Sadly, Ford isn't the only one noticing this.

If you can sell 200k SUVs that make $5000/car vs. 300k cars that make $1000/car, you should.  It's just good business.  Cold, hard, business.   Especially when 100k customers are willing to swap.  So you sell 300k cars at $5k profit.

Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
12/16/18 9:51 a.m.

Some more so than others, but they have all also been wrong about what will and what won't be profitable, both short term and long term, PLENTY of times too.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
12/16/18 11:37 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

I want someone to test one of these against a Mk1 Focus. Or maybe an 80's Fiesta? 

 

what would be the point in that? Obviously anything built today is better in all objective measures than pretty much anything built 20, 30 years ago. I own a Porsche 924S and an e30, two cars considered to be pretty capable, sporty, and all-around pretty good cars back in the 80s. But the reality is that pretty much any $15k E36 M3box sold these days is as good or better in almost any objective measure. Not to mention that my Porsche will get annihilated from a stoplight by basically any minivan. Hell, that same Minivan could probably smoke the Porsche at a road course track as well, with appropriate tires. 

Compare one of these directly against the cars they are purportedly replacing that have similar "modern technology." So - this EcoSport against the outgoing Fiesta. In that comparison, the Fiesta is superior in most objective measures I would imagine....

"Better sightlines in traffic" is a self-perpetuating need. Cars get taller, so other cars need to get taller for sightlines, and so on and so forth. .

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
12/16/18 11:40 a.m.

The irony of all is is with all the outcry these days about climate change, etc - I am guessing that jacking up a Fiesta and calling it a "crossover" or whatever probably gets it more lenient fuel-economy standards.  

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/16/18 12:20 p.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Thats a great point that I’ll let Eric answer as I honestly don’t know, but I don’t think that’s the case. 

One thing I will say. The whole industry has improved fuel Econ way way faster than I ever thought possible. I remember when Alan Mulally took over Ford and made promises about fuel Econ over the next few year. I sat at my desk and laughed, not believing it was remotely possible. We beat his time frame to get to those targets by several years. I was stunned. I have never worked in engine development, calibration, emissions or any other related fields though, so I honestly have ​​​​​​ real knowledge.  Just as an example go and look up the epa figures for 2006 I would quote them but a) I’m on my phone and b) I don’t want an argument about comparing V6 to I4 or V8 to 3.5tt etc  

 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/16/18 12:44 p.m.

In reply to irish44j :

It's a variation on the "how fast does it need to be?" argument. People are always willing to accept mid level.....things....for reasons. Usually we think about horsepower and handling and comfort and features as long as the underlying car is good enough. They're also willing to pay stupid amounts of money for luxury features on otherwise non-luxury vehicles. The Escalade for example. 

The point is that maybe we're reaching a point where braking/handiling/driving is good enough on even the cheapest cars that regular people don't notice and instead go for other things they like. The EcoSport is based on the Fiesta. I'd be willing to bet that a large number of people would actually prefer the EcoSport over the Fiesta driven back to back. They're never going to get anywhere close to the handling envelope on either one, so go with the one that is easier to get into and easier to see out of. I think there are a lot of people around here that look at CUV's like people looked at minivans when they came out but the fact is that minivans were a REALLY good idea at the time as they gave people 90% of the car like drive they wanted with a ton more utility. I think CUV's are largely a response to people wanting something that has the seating position of the minivans that they loved without being a minivan (for whatever reason).

People are buying tall Fiestas instead of regular Fiestas because they want tall Fiestas, even though they cost more. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
12/16/18 1:14 p.m.
irish44j said:

The irony of all is is with all the outcry these days about climate change, etc - I am guessing that jacking up a Fiesta and calling it a "crossover" or whatever probably gets it more lenient fuel-economy standards.  

As far as I know, that is true.  Kind of an unintended consequence of how the rule was laid out.  And it's just accelerating the change from cars to cross overs.  That was going to happen, anyway- the profit margins in SUV/CUVs have been known for decades.  So if you can deliver good FE, then cars may just go away from the majority of the public.

Cars will still be sold, but the really narrow profit margins will have some implications.

dxman92
dxman92 Reader
12/23/18 11:08 a.m.

I work at a dealership and someone just traded one of these in with 275 miles on it. Seemed like it would be a good run about town vehicle but back seat seems narrow. This was a 2wd with sunroof, heated seats and alloy wheels..

Mike
Mike SuperDork
12/30/18 12:53 a.m.

I really, really liked this. There was a good while a few months back where I was legit trying to figure out how to buy one. I like how it drives. I think I wanted just a little more enthusiast service. The spare tire and Android Auto are mutually exclusive, and I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure a way around it.

oldsaw
oldsaw UltimaDork
12/31/18 8:02 p.m.
Driven5 said:

The regularly scheduled 'counterpoint' that auto makers only make what the masses of new car buyers want to buy, and what will sell new, is a complete and total fallacy. They have all, individually and en masses, been wrong about both what people do want and what people don't want PLENTY of times. 

You have two Ford engineers explaining why business decisions have resulted in curtailing car manufacturing. Neither of them like it but they know who is paying for their bread and butter.

If it's any consolation, I have a nephew who is also an engineer at Ford and he states that plans are in place to resume car production within a 25-week time span when/if consumer demand and business goals change enough to warrant it.

In the meantime, my mind wanders over the Mazda, Hyundai, Kia product lines for something I would appreciate more than what Ford is going to offer. Or, I can give Honda another shot since I qualify for the family-discount and the latest Si is a nice piece of work.

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UltraDork
1/1/19 12:43 a.m.

now now Adrian you probably have a soft spot the BMC Marina/Allegro mongrels not to mention I'll bet you could wax just a little lyrical about the Maestro/Montego. cheeky

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UltraDork
1/1/19 12:48 a.m.

how can anyone in all honesty say that the car manufacturers build what the public wants.  let them go a few decades without bailouts and then I'll believe you.

" I don't care what society wants........" smiley

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UltraDork
1/1/19 12:53 a.m.

on topic man these things are 'Dinky' in real life from the outside.  If they pass my butt test as in can I sit comfortably in the back seat with lots of leg room I like everything then.  It's why I went with a last of the first gen Versas as my new car. otherwise on a first short drive I didn't like the stance or much of anything but rear leg room forgives a lot when it's not a coupe.  I fell in love with the first gen Intrepid because of the rear leg room.  smiley

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