Monday, September 3, 2018

Ford EcoSport

John Heilig

  • MODEL: 2018 Ford EcoSport
  • ENGINE: 2.0-liter I-4 
  • TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic 
  • HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 166 hp @ 6,500 rpm/140 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm 
  • WHEELBASE: 99.2 in. 
  • LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 161.3 x 69.5 x 65.1 in. 
  • TIRES: P205/50R17 
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 20.9/50.0 cu. ft. (rear seat up/down)
  • ECONOMY: 26.8 mpg (test) 
  • FUEL TANK: 13.6 gal.
  • CURB WEIGHT: 3,325 lbs. #/HP: 20.0 
  • TOWING CAPACITY: 2,000 lbs. 
  • COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda CR-V
  • STICKER: $20,000-$25,000 (est.) 
  • BOTTOM LINE: Ford’s newest vehicle is the EcoSport, based on the Fiesta, that is a small SUV with surprisingly decent performance.

            There’s a growing interest in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, yet vehicles that are useful as well. We’ve all seen those little two-passenger sedans on the road, but they have little or no utility. Many utility vehicles, on the other hand, are less than economical.
            Ford’s answer to this conundrum is the new EcoSport, which is based on the small Fiesta sedan. EcoSport is a small sport utility vehicle, probably more of a crossover utility vehicle, or CUV. Our tester delivered 26.8 mpg in our test, admittedly in primarily local driving. 
            Officially classified as a small SUV, EcoSport is also a fun vehicle to drive. Take it along winding country roads and it reveals its true character. Handling is very good, and it almost feels like a small sports car. You can even shift the transmission into manual mode and use the paddles on the wheel, but I didn’t find that necessary. It was fun enough with the 10-speed automatic.
            On my way to the golf course, I first lowered the rear seat backs and placed my clubs in. Then the ride began, and I zipped over that back roads. I’ll admit I drove more sanely when my wife was in the EcoSport, but if she needed it, there was a grab handle on the dash if she got nervous.
            On the center stack is a larger infotainment screen that dominates the dash. During the day it has a clear, white background that turns black at night. The default screen is a map on the left and entertainment options on the right, with a menu along the bottom. The center stack has all the HVAC controls with a pair of USB outlets if you want to plug in.
            Front seats are comfortable even though side support is minimal. In keeping with the “small” theme, there’s a small cubby that’s ideal for keys on the console. The center console/arm rest is also small.
            Rear seats offer tight legroom, which was my one major complaint with the EcoSport. Indents in the backs of the front seats help with the knee room, but not much. However, there’s good rear seat headroom. And the rear head restraints fold forward to give the driver better rearward vision.
            There are clothes hangers above the rear doors, but not assist handles.
            Unique among the EcoSport’s features is a rear door that opens like a side-hinged door, rather than like a hatch. With the door open, the rear bumper offers a nice seat, which is convenient when you’re changing into golf shoes. Once you figure how to unlatch the door, it’s convenient.
            As a new entry into Ford’s stable of utility vehicles, the EcoSport could have been just an “eco” car/CUV, but it isn’t. The EcoSport ends up as a nice riding, nice driving vehicle, with the added practicality of utility vehicle styling for those times when you have to tote, but not that much. It’s more like a small - dare I say it? - station wagon that’s ideal for young families or empty nesters.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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