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2019 Ford EcoSport: New Car Review

Ford needed to do something to compete in the subcompact crossover arena, the 2019 Ford EcoSport is its banner carrier there. We can’t help but think, though, that, because Ford didn’t want to wait another three or four years while it developed a new vehicle targeting U.S. consumers, it settled for reaching down to South America where this crossover has been on sale since 2012. What we received in 2018 as "all new" was really the midcycle up date for the South American version. No doubt Ford is cooking up something much more in tune with U.S. Tastes. In the meantime, this EcoSport is a placeholder.

Because it’s a bit of a make-do solution to Ford’s subcompact issue, EcoSport lags behind much of its competition in terms of technology and get-up-and-go.

What’s New for 2019?

First introduced to the U.S. for 2018, there is very little changed for the 2019 Ford EcoSport. The SES grade offers a new Black Appearance Package adding a black-painted roof for certain exterior colors. FordPass Connect is available across the board.

What We Like

Fiesta-derived handling; easy to park; availability of all-wheel drive

What We Don’t

An older vehicle masquerading as a new one; not particularly impressive fuel economy; some driver-assistance features like forward-collision mitigation are not available; underpowered engines

How Much?

$21,090-$28,370

Fuel Economy

Front-wheel-drive versions of the EcoSport have a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine making 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. This pairs up with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts fuel consumption at 27 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in combined driving.

AWD versions keep the same transmission, but use a naturally aspirated (nonturbo) 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine for 166 hp and 149 lb-ft. EPA estimates are 23 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

Both engines have an automatic stop/start setting to help save a little fuel while waiting at the lights.

Standard Features and Options

The 2019 Ford EcoSport is available in S, SE, Titanium and SES trim levels. AWD, standard on the SES, is optional on all other trims. Cost varies according to trim from $1,450 to $1,550. All prices reflect the manufacturer’s factory-destination fee.

The S ($21,090) sets out with 16-in alloy wheels, a capless fuel filler, heated outboard mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, remote keyless entry, cloth upholstery, a 4.2-in infotainment screen, a rearview camera, a 6-speaker AM/FM radio, an MP3 player, two 12-volt outlets and two USB ports.

The SE ($24,245) adds keyless ignition, roof rails, a powered sunroof with shade, LED daytime running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a 6-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, hands-free entry, turn-signal indicators in outboard mirrors, rear parking sensors, Sync 3 infotainment system with a 6.5-in touchscreen, satellite radio, AppLink, 911 Assist and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration.

The SE is eligible for a Convenience package including a voice-controlled navigation system with an 8-in touchscreen, Wi-Fi, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, ambient cabin lighting and a 110-volt outlet. SE models can also come with 17-in alloy wheels.

The Titanium ($27,255) has those SE options as standard, then adds leather seating surfaces, rain-sensing wipers, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a heated steering wheel and a 10-speaker 675-watt B&O Harman upgraded sound system.

The SES ($28,370) is the version with the 2.0-liter engine and AWD as standard. It’s stocked similarly to the Titanium trim, but doesn’t have the leather or the upgraded stereo. However, it compensates with a sportier suspension setup and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the transmission.

A Cold Weather package (available for SE trim and up) brings heat to the steering wheel and side mirrors.

Conveniently, the tailgate is hinged on the left side, so there’s no stretching and pulling required to close it. When opened, it reveals a maximum cargo area of 50 cu ft. With the rear seats in place, luggage space is 20.9 cu ft.

Safety

Safety equipment includes traction control, roll-stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and several airbags — including two for the front occupants’ knees. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is optional on the SE and standard on Titanium and SES grades.

In government crash tests the 2019 Ford EcoSport received an overall rating of four out of five stars.

Behind the Wheel

At least the EcoSport has a conventional automatic transmission instead of a commonly used continuously variable transmission (CVT), which has a tendency to drone. The driver won’t feel so reluctant to initiate kick-down to spur the engine on a bit more. And both engines will need spurring from time to time. Even so, the ride quality is more than acceptable.

Cabin space is tight, especially in the back row. But that may not be a problem, since someone considering a subcompact crossover probably isn’t planning on transporting a big family around.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Chevrolet Trax — Relatively spacious and with good levels of equipment. A bit of a yawn to drive, though.

2019 Honda HR-V — One of the smarter choices in this category. Versatile and roomy interior. Should hold resale values well.

2019 Jeep Renegade — An outdoorsy vibe and boxy shape give the Renegade character and practicality.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek — A second generation debuts for 2018. Quite refined, well equipped and roomy, but could use a gutsier engine.

2019 Toyota C-HR — It’s not often that a Toyota is more ambitious than a Ford in the design stakes, but it happens here. Doesn’t offer AWD, but still worth checking out.

Used Honda CR-V — It has more space, a better engine and excellent build quality. Consult Honda’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Autotrader’s Advice

Don’t even think about the entry-level S model. The minimum starting point has to be the SE with some options. Find a Ford EcoSport for sale

 

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