Starting price: $22,099 + tax
As tested: $27,599 + tax
Over average fuel economy: 6.9 L/100 kms (in the 1-litre models), 9.6 L/100 kms (in the 2-litre models)
Competitors: Chevrolet Trax, Honda HRV, Hyundai Kona, Toyota C-HR, etc
Ford came out with an interesting bit of news last month. The company announced that it’s pretty much getting out of the traditional car business
and instead focussing on trucks and utilities. They say it’s what Canadians want. So small utility vehicles are starting to sweep through to take over the empty space in the room. And this week, we’re looking at the latest addition to the Ford family of utilities, the oh-so-tiny EcoSport. You might be thinking here that Ford is a little late to the party in North America in the sub-compact utility segment – it’s already a well-occupied market at this point – but the EcoSport has actually been around in other corners of the globe since 2003. So in many ways, it blazed a trail in this segment… just not here.
But it’s a segment that’s quickly gaining traction in North America among millenials who want some of the utility of an SUV but also something more efficient. Empty nesters are also scooping them up as they transition out of needing quite so much room.
And while it’s not the cheapest offering – the HR-V and Kona have lower starting prices.
And while it’s not the roomiest, most powerful or most feature-packed either.
But the EcoSport does have a few stand-out features so check-out our video above or scroll through or pros and cons below for the skinny.
– The EcoSport is just under half a metre shorter than Ford’s next smallest utility, the Escape, which actually really changes this car in terms of parking in tight urban parkades or side streets. That’s where this car was designed to be used and is most at home
– While Ford figures 75% of all EcoSports sold in Canada will have the larger 2-litre engine and 4WD – because Canadians want that piece of mind for winter driving – I actually found myself preferring the little 1-litre. Somehow, it seems a bit more eager. It’s also a quieter and far more efficient engine
– Another piece of the driving experience that Ford seems to have dialled-in with so many of its cars, is its ride – and the EcoSport is no different. Despite some extra ground clearance for a bit of light offroading, it’s surprisingly nimble. The steering is also nicely weighted
– The EcoSport can tow up to 2,000 lbs – which is really respectable for a little car like this and far better than its competitors
– Both engines do seem a little underpowered at times, certainly on the highway. Cruising at 100 kms/hr isn’t a problem but hitting any sort of steeper hill or trying to overtake someone, the EcoSport’s 6 speed automatic transmission hunts around a little frantically to give you the power you need.
– The car is also rather noisy at higher speeds – particularly the 2-litre engine – which came in at 69 dB at 100 kms/hr for us
– Safety technology is a little slim on this car. Yes, higher trims get blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, but no matter how you spec this car, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise and autonomous forward emergency braking are a no go
– Divots cut into the backs of the two front passenger seats make legroom in the second row slightly better than expected but it’s no luxury sedan. Car seats will be a pinch
– It’s also a fairly utilitarian interior. Even the higher level trims have a lot of cheap, easy to scratch hard plastics and the seats are fine for short drives but get uncomfortable after a long haul
– The trunk is also quite tight. Among its competitors, the Honda HR-V takes the lead with 688 litres of space behind the second row. The EcoSport has 592 litres while the Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR have 544 litres and 538 litres
– And while you can always flip the seats down, for extra space, the EcoSport has the very old fashioned, multi-step flip and fold style second row – so it’s going to take a little longer to reconfigure the cabin for stashing a bike or big items in the back
– Here’s something that Ford has carried over from previous versions of the EcoSport in other parts of the world that has people divided – the swing out style trunk. It swings out so wide that, if you’re pinned in with other vehicles, it won’t fully open
Family Wheels report card:
Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3/5 (69 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 3/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3/5
Family Wheels trunk score: 2.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 4/5 (with the 1-litre engine)
Family Wheels build quality score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels overall score: 33.5/50= 67%
Family Wheels was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.