The Ford EcoSport has finally arrived in America to give us a Kia Soul/Jeep Renegade-sized compact SUV with Ford’s signature Aston Martin-esque trapezoidal grille. And a fun tailgate that swings open from the side, not the top. When was the last time you saw that?
The EcoSport (inexplicably pronounced “Echo Sport,” by the way) was introduced as a fun-loving, social-life enabling, imaginary-friend-in-car-form in Ford’s youth-targeted press release and Snapchat-powered reveal party featuring DJ Khaled in Los Angeles today.
This car has been sold around the world for years, but will be offered in the U.S. for the first time starting with this body style. General consensus on the car’s predecessor seems lukewarm. Top Gear called it “not Ford’s finest hour, does the job but rivals look and drive better.”
So here’s to hoping the new American-market vehicle raises the bar.
We’ll get two engine options; a 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost and a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-banger. Both are paired to a six-speed automatic, and Intelligent 4WD is standard on the 2.0-liter
Ford doesn’t seem to have confirmed power or efficiency numbers for the U.S. 2017 EcoSport, but I would expect pretty much the exact same as what the Fiesta puts down with its 1.0-liter engine (123 horsepower with 31 mpg city, 43 highway) and close to the Focus with the 2.0 (160 hp, 27 mpg city and 40 highway.)
The Intelligent 4WD system is supposed to switch seamlessly between driving two and four wheels depending on the traction situation, working off speed sensors, steering angle, turn rate and gas pedal position.
But from the tone of the press release I’m getting the impression that the EcoSport’s “30 stowage pockets, bins, hooks” are intended to be a bigger part of the little car’s appeal. You know, because young people have so much stuff to hang. A “moveable floorboard” is also supposed to help make better use of the cargo area with the rear seats folded down.
Basically, it looks like a slightly taller Fiesta that should offer good fuel economy and cargo capacity relative to its size. It wears the current Ford face well, at least.
Pricing and specifics on trim levels should be announced soon.