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2018 Ford EcoSport is a versatile crossover, but is it worth your money?

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According to Ford, the EcoSport offers the best that sports crossovers and subcompact vehicles have to offer. So is the vehicle really as sporty and economical as the ads say? While it isn’t perfect this is one of their more useful models, as the EcoSport has many of the features you’d expect from a larger crossover but this is more versatile.

New Features

The EcoSport line has been around since 2012, but the 2018 edition comes with some really impressive features. This crossover is available in 4 trims, Titanium, SES, SE and S and two powertrain options. The crossover also has side-hinged rear hatch where you can put a spare tire on.

The interior is spacious and the seats comfortable. Front and back seat passengers can get in and out of the vehicle easily. The leather on the steering wheel looks and feels good on the hands.

Trim Options

The S and SE are the basic editions and the cheapest at around $21,000. If you go for the Titanium or the SES trim the price tag goes up to $30,000 or so. The biggest difference between the base and top tier EcoSports is the standard specs and interior materials are better.

Even the base model is solidly built though, and you can equip it with a 2 liter inline 4 AWD. With this set up you optimize its towing capacity. Compared to the 3 cylinder 4WD model the EcoSport is more powerful, faster and more fuel efficient. The standard edition includes the following features.

·         A couple of USB ports

·         4.2 inch display

·         Voice control with Bluetooth support

·         Front buckets with cloth trimming and 4 way manual adjustments

You can also buy the optional spare-tire carrier or a tire inflation kit.

Engine and Transmission

There are two options, the 166-hp inline-four and the 123-hp turbocharged three-cylinder. Both are paired with 6 speed automatic transmission that enhances its towing power. As you might expect neither engine is a speed demon and needs some pedaling when at 60 mph and up.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder works well with the AWD. The 1.0 liter turbocharged inline 3 is good but is restricted to a four wheel drive, but the 6 speed automatic runs fine on both versions. Downshift is slower than upshift though transmission and transition is smooth.

Driving and Performance

Overall the EcoSport is good on the road. Driving is smooth and bumps have no effect on the driver or the passengers. Motoring through traffic is never fun but the EcoSport makes it more bearable. This crossover is at its best at slow speeds as it feels light and athletic.

The steering is decent enough and helps you navigate rough areas. The acceleration is decent for both engines and while this crossover is not built for speed, there are times when you’ll feel its acceleration. Its 6 speed automatic is reliable and easier to manage than the variable automatic transmission found on other vehicles.

Steering and Handling

The ride is comfortable even on rough surfaces. Not surprisingly the best suspension is on the Titanium trim though the suspension on the basic models are also adequate. But it’s on the Titanium you’ll feel the difference as your body doesn’t recoil from shocks and bumps.

The handling is good on busy streets and highways. Handling and brakes are excellent and steering is good. The brakes offer reliable feedback and requires just 174 feet to brake fully. Stopping distance is at 182 feet for the heavier AWD edition but again that is not a shock.

Infotainment

Controls are straightforward and that’s a good thing since its infotainment system has lots of features. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported, and its Sync 3 system is intuitive and simple to use.

The S basic trim is equipped with a 4.2 inch display, a couple of USB ports and Bluetooth support. The higher trims have all the features of the basic trim plus SiriusXM navigation and satellite radio. The more expensive trims have 8 inch touchscreen displays.

You can upgrade the low trims so they can have these features. Other features include a 5 year Sync Connect service subscription, a 110 volt on one of the back seats and a 4G LTE mobile hotspot.

With the Sync Connect service you’ll be able to check the EcoSport functions, lock and open doors and start/stop the engine, all from your smartphone. Other optional features include mobile Wi-Fi support, navigation, real time weather and real time traffic updates.

Bottom Line

The EcoSport faces some really stiff competition but it holds up well thanks to a good set of features. There are enough features here to satisfy most drivers and the infotainment set is solid. Add the fact the EcoSport is easy to maneuver and it is no wonder this has gotten a lot of good feedback.

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