Yes, that’s an uncomfortable MSRP for the funny-looking, tippy-toe-styled EcoSport, which Ford likes to pronounce echo-sport as if it’s a particularly athletic Toyota subcompact sedan circa 2003. But the entry point for Ford’s new entry-level crossover is much, much lower. At $20,990 including delivery — a 16-percent discount compared with the Ford Escape S — a 2018 Ford EcoSport sends power from its 1.0-liter turbo triple to the front wheels through a standard six-speed automatic transmission.
All-wheel drive and a 166-horsepower 2.0-liter four-pot add only $1,500 to the sticker of the basic 2018 Ford EcoSport S, which comes standard with a 123-horsepower EcoBoost 1.0-liter producing 125 lb-ft of torque.
While that basic EcoSport tips the scales at just over 3,000 pounds, when fully weighted down with all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter Ford says the cute-ute weighs 3,327 pounds. Ford says the 1.0, which isn’t available with all-wheel drive, can tow 1,400 pounds. The 2.0-liter, which will be equipped exclusively with all-wheel drive, tows up to 2,000 pounds. Entry-level wheels are interesting low-gloss magnetic-painted machined-face aluminum 16-inchers that lend an air of ruggedness to the EcoSport. Hey, don’t be so quick to snicker.
The EcoSport was originally geared towards emerging markets where roads are often questionable and the terrain untenable. The EcoSport thus offers 7.8 inches of ground clearance, substantially more than the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, or Buick Encore.
But the EcoSport is tiny, stretching just 161.3 inches stem to stern and offering only 20.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats. Ford’s own Escape, no Expedition mind you, is 17 inches longer and provides nearly two-thirds more cargo capacity. Even the Honda HR-V is eight inches lengthier than the EcoSport.
With a dearth of dimensional dominance, how does the 2018 Ford EcoSport compete on price?
Base MSRP: Automatic Transmission & AWD
Buick Encore Preferred AWD
Chevrolet Trax LS AWD
Fiat 500X Pop AWD
Ford EcoSport S AWD
Honda HR-V LX AWD
Jeep Renegade Sport 4×4
Mazda CX-3 Sport AWD
Mini Countyman All4
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES AWC
Nissan Juke S AWD
Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i
Every EcoSport save for the $27,735 SES comes standard with the 1.0-liter and front-wheel drive. (Every SES is an AWD 2.0.) The $23,900 SE adds SYNC 3, a sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control to the S. The Titanium, which starts at $26,735, is equipped with navigation, premium audio, leather seating, and 17-inch alloys. In between the Titanium and Titanium AWD 2.0 sits the SES, with sport suspension, navigation, and blind spot monitoring. At the top of the heap, a $28,235 2018 Ford EcoSport Titanium AWD 2.0 can be optioned up with special alloys, Ford’s keyless entry keypad, a Cold Weather package with, for example, a heated steering wheel, and numerous small goodies. The grand total is $29,960.
Think that’s crazy? According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price for a subcompact crossover in August 2017 was $24,387, just $395 less than the ATP of an average midsize car.U.S. subcompact crossover sales are up 10 percent this year, forming 3.3 percent of the overall market. So far this year, the Jeep Renegade is the segment’s top seller, but General Motors (with the Encore and Trax) own the largest chunk of the segment: 29 percent. Honda’s HR-V, up 28 percent through 2017’s first two-thirds, is the fastest-growing subcompact crossover in America.
[Images: Ford Motor Company]