For those of you who aren’t yet aware, Ford has recently come out with a new small crossover called the EcoSport, which slots below the Escape in the brand’s lineup and competes with other tiny crossovers like the Mazda CX-3, Chevy Trax and Honda HR-V. The EcoSport has a cool touch in back: It has a little hidden door handle in the tailgate.
Take a look at the photo above, and you’ll see, pretty clearly, that the EcoSport has two normal taillights and a normal tailgate, and everything’s normal. But if you look over on the right, you’ll see the taillight on the right isn’t quite the same as the one on the left. Check the rest of the images I’ve included and you’ll see that the EcoSport integrates its rear tailgate handle into the passenger-side brake-light assembly — and it’s hidden so well you’d never know it’s there.
I noticed this at the New York Auto Show when I was climbing in and out of cars to find strange quirks and features (does this sound familiar?), and, indeed, it’s a good one — it’s a nice way to hide something that can otherwise be a bit ugly, much like Ford does on the Focus hatchback by integrating the fuel door into the rear fender.
You might be wondering, however, why exactly the EcoSport’s rear tailgate opens up like a door that’s hinged at the side, rather than a traditional tailgate that’s hinged on top. The reason is the spare tire: Base-level EcoSport models have a rear-mounted spare, and a top-hinged tailgate will be too heavy to lift if there’s a spare tire attached to it. As a result, nearly all cars with rear-mounted spares have swing-away tailgates — including the EcoSport. But few disguise the door handle as cleverly as this one. Find a Ford EcoSport for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.