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2018 Ford EcoSport Mini Utility Review

2018 Ford EcoSport Road Test Review

1908 Ford Model TIn 1908, Ford Motor Company, led by Henry Ford, built and sold the Model T. Between 1908 and 1927; the Model T sold more than fifteen million units making it the largest run of vehicles in U.S. history. By 1918, exactly one hundred years ago this year, half of the cars in America were Model T's. That unit legacy remained in effect until 1972, when the Beetle (the car, not the band) hit the scene. Ford has gotten it right from the get-go!

Fast forward a hundred plus years and Ford is at it again with its all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport. Back in the early 20th century, cars offered very few options other than wheels, a bench seat, a rumble seat (in which my father hid on my mother's dates until she agreed to marry him), a steering wheel, a gas pedal and brakes.

The sight of the 2018 Canyon Ridge Metallic (a fancy name for rust) EcoSport put a huge ear-to-ear smile on my face as it rolled up to RTM’s front door. Its exterior design reminded me of a large roller-skate with its extended front end and short stout back end. Its rustic color in combination with its pint-sized shape, glittering in the California sun, drew me in immediately. As a petite person, finding things to fit me and my life ain’t easy, so imagine my delight when seeing the Ford EcoSport Mini Ute meander in as close to near perfection as a car can get for a person who's a mini-winnie as well.

In fact, it was Road & Travel Magazine that first approached automakers back in the 1990’s about lowering SUVs to make them more accessible for those of us who are, say, vertically challenged. It was Ford Motor Company at the head of the line once again to lower SUVs so whether short in stature or swaddled in a pencil skirt, anyone could access the seat without having to use a step stool or make a flying leap from 6 feet away. Trust me, I loped and leapt through the air many times just to plant my rear on the front seat back then! Ford eventually added a step-up for entry, as well.

Ford EcoSport InteriorAfter a brief walk-around, I opened the door to my shiny new test model and was mesmerized by its sporty interior and colorful seats. Arizona rustic colors are my favorite so much so that my home is littered with rusts and browns and wood tones. The EcoSport would have blended nicely had it fit in my living room.

As I made myself comfortable in the driver’s seat, I thought, ‘for an SUV touting a $20K price tag in TV commercials, this can’t be!’ The ergonomically friendly cockpit put all the EcoSport technology at my fingertips. Most impressive was the Sync Connect 8” touchscreen. It was as if my iPad was sitting there front and center with easy-to-navigate large buttons and silky scroll ability even with long nails, a safety benefit for keeping one's eyes on the road. As any techy knows, that’s the first thing to explore before even starting the car. And so I did. What impressed me the most was the EcoSport’s WIFI connection, which immediately pulled up all the WIFI names in the immediate area. Ford has made it easy to stay connected whether you’re using a cell phone hotspot or at rest stop or hiding out in your ex’s garage, assuming you have a password, of course.

The next task was playing with the navigation. Again, surprised at the ease in which Ford has made loading up a destination so intuitive. I’ve tested hundreds of cars over the years and it’s always amazed me how complicated some car companies make using their navigation systems, to the point where you either get lost or just give up. Not everyone is a gearhead automakers and designers! Stop showing off! Technology for the average person, who doesn’t do it for a living, should be made as simple, streamlined and as uncomplicated as possible so drivers can hit the road instead of their fists on the dash out of frustration. Ford has achieved that goal with its easy-to-use nav system by either voice command or if at a stop, using the swipe of a finger. That’s how it should be.

I can’t imagine if Henry Ford could imagine where his company would have ended up a hundred years down the road but at least he was able to imagine one of the first horseless carriages in the world which gave us mobility, hence globalization.

Driving the EcoSport was a hoot. Highway handling was smooth and fairly quiet. Jumping to the wrong conclusion, I thought this little bugger was likely to experience a lot of road noise especially on the roads of Los Angeles where there are rain grooves on most freeways to prevent hydroplaning due to rainless summers. But much to my surprise, noise was minimal, didn’t even have to turn up the radio.

Because of this mini utility class, its stout back end leaves little cargo room, perhaps a few grocery bags, but not near a one body trunk, perhaps an arm and a leg. However both rear seats fold flat opening up a much larger space for gym equipment, kid’s toys, a small pet, some luggage, shopping bags, almost whatever you need, really.

2018 Ford EcoSport Rear EndThe rear door opens like a car door, swing out as opposed to a lift up tail gate. It blends seamlessly into the rear of the car so much so that at first it’s hard to figure out where the handle is. Ford designers have done an incredible job of making the handle blend in smoothly with the unique tail lamps. I felt somewhat like a useless idiot, the car wiz that I am, trying to find the handle at first, so kudos to Ford for such a seamless design. The photo above shows of what I speak. Do you see the handle?

2018 Ford EcoSport Rear Door Swing OutThe good news about the swing out door is that it really does make for easier access to everything inside and no worries about hitting your head when standing up under a lift gate. Who hasn’t done that? Well not I at five feet tall but I’ve seen others get a bash gash here and there. The bad news is that the swing out door needs more room to open than a lift gate so if in a normal parking space on the street with a car behind, there may not be enough room to open the rear door completely. Like everything in life, pros and cons. But that wouldn’t stop me from buying this cute ute for my family. I think it’s perfect for a young couple, a small family or a college kid, or even small enough to tow behind a Winnebago Fuse.

Our test model offered Sirius XM, AM/FM and seven speakers, a big surprise for such a little guy. It had a moonroof, power seats; leather bound steering wheel, and super sporty seats. It felt more like a sports car cockpit than a cute ute especially with its sport-tuned suspension. Our test model was fully loaded so it brought the sticker price up to $26,740 but with available incentives, brought it down $23,990 not counting destination charges. So while a new buyer can get the Ford EcoSport below $20K, likely even lower if one puts their negotiating skills to good use, there are plenty of add-on options in the offering depending on one’s wants vs needs and budget.

Speaking of which, our test model had everything under the sun inside, too much to prattle on about so below is RTM’s new ‘Nuts & Bolts’ section where we let Ford speak for itself, like they did in 1908, making their voices heard around the world.

The Nuts & Bolts – From Ford Motor Company

Fun, capable and connected, the all-new Ford EcoSport can be customized with 10 available colors, six interior choices and ambient lighting options. EcoSport’s five-passenger interior features available SYNC 3 features available SYNC® 3 with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility, plus there’s an available eight-inch voice activated touch screen. A rearview camera comes standard. Drivers can start, unlock and locate their vehicle from anywhere using available SYNC Connect with FordPass™. Audiophiles will appreciate the available B&O PLAY™ Premium Audio System by HARMAN. Award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost® three-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop is standard with six-speed automatic transmission; available 2.0-liter Ti-VCT four-cylinder with Auto Start-Stop is packaged with all-wheel drive. Standard safety features for the all-new EcoSport include AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control, Safety Canopy® side-air curtain technology for first and second rows, side thorax airbags for rear passengers and SOS Post-Crash Alert System.
STANDARD FEATURES

  • 12-volt powerpoints (two)

  • Audio – AM/FM stereo with MP3 capability (S, SE, SES)

  • Audio – B&O PLAY™ Premium Audio System by HARMAN (Titanium)

  • Audio – SiriusXM® Radio (SE, SES, Titanium)

  • Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler

  • Engine – 1.0L EcoBoost® I-4 (S, SE, Titanium)

  • Engine – 2.0L Ti-VCT direct-injection I-4 (SES)

  • Front-wheel drive (S, SE, Titanium)

  • Intelligent 4WD (SES)

  • Intelligent Access with push-button start (SE, SES, Titanium)

  • Mirrors – Power sideview

  • MyKey®

  • Power windows and door locks

  • Remote keyless entry system with two integrated keyhead transmitter remotes (S)

  • Seats – Front buckets

  • Seat – Rear 60/40 split fold-flat bench

  • Steering wheel-mounted cruise control

  • SYNC® with 4.2" color LCD screen in center stack and smart-charging USB ports (two) (S)

  • SYNC 3 with LCD capacitive touch screen with AppLink,® 911 Assist® and two smart-charging USB ports (SE, SES, Titanium)

  • Tilt/telescoping steering column

  • Transmission – Six-speed SelectShift® automatic

  • Wipers – Intermittent front and rear

STANDARD SAFETY AND SECURITY

  • AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™

  • Airbags – Driver and front-passenger knee, front-/rear-seat side and Safety Canopy® System with side-curtain airbags and rollover sensor

  • Battery saver

  • Brakes – Four-wheel disc with Anti-Lock

  • Brake System

  • Child-safety rear door locks

  • Head restraints and three-point safety belts on all five seating positions

  • Illuminated entry system

  • LATCH – Lower Anchors and Tether Anchors for Children

  • Personal Safety System™ for driver and front passenger with dual-stage front airbags

  • Rearview camera

  • SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft System (S)

  • SOS Post-Crash Alert System™

  • Tire pressure monitoring system (excludes spare)

  • Traction control

AVAILABLE FEATURES

  • Cargo mat

  • Engine – 2.0L Ti-VCT direct-injection I-4 with Intelligent 4WD

  • Floor liners (front and rear)

  • Fog lamps

  • Keyless-entry keypad

  • Intelligent 4WD

  • Power moonroof with shade

  • Projector headlamps with LED daytime running lamps

  • Remote start system

  • Reverse sensing system

  • Roof-rack side rails

  • Roof-rail crossbars

  • Voice-activated navigation system

  • Wheels – 17" Premium dark-painted stainless machined aluminum

AVAILABLE PACKAGES

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