The rise of the compact crossover segment is upon us, and everyone is trying to cash in on the craze, including Ford, which unveiled its 2018 EcoSport subcompact SUV a few days ahead of the 2016 LA Auto Show with the slogan “go small, live big.”
The Ford EcoSport will enter the fray in the first quarter of 2018 to do battle against the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Subaru Crosstrek, Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore and Jeep Renegade. The others may have got to the party a while ago, but Ford believes its entry will be coming on board at the right time, as the segment is expected to double its sales volume by the end of the decade.
This is not the first we’ve seen of the EcoSport, now in its second generation—it’s been around in other global markets since 2003. But this new reveal shows us it’s gone through a complete overhaul for its debut in the North American market, including changes to its engines and suspension.
It will be slotted below the compact Escape and help Ford offer greater variety for consumers searching for something smaller with a bit of ground clearance.
The EcoSport’s exterior will be familiar to some as it takes some styling cues from the Edge and the Escape. There will be ten exterior colours to choose from, but most of the attention should be focused inside.
Ford has made sure to bring its suite of technology and connectivity features to the EcoSport, centred around an eight-inch floating touchscreen – a first for Ford – that contains the latest version of Sync 3 infotainment, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto and a B&O Play audio system, with ten speakers on more upscale trim levels.
According to Ford, the EcoSport is spacious for a subcompact crossover with a sizable amount of interior passenger space and cargo room, but, as expected, the back seats have limited headroom. One unique feature for Ford is a swing-gate-style tailgate that allows people to easily store their bags inside.
Under the hood is a choice of two engines: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost also seen in the Fiesta; and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder commonly used on many other Ford products. Performance numbers will be revealed at a later date, but the smaller engine is only available in front-wheel-drive, while the larger version will be four-wheel-drive. Both engines will use a six-speed automatic transmission.
The North American version of the all-new EcoSport will be built in Chennai, India, and is expected to arrive at dealerships in early 2018.