The EcoSport is 161.3 inches long and sits on a 99.2-inch wheelbase and is positioned below the Escape. Photo by Vince Taroc.

The EcoSport is 161.3 inches long and sits on a 99.2-inch wheelbase and is positioned below the Escape. Photo by Vince Taroc.

The newly introduced 2018 Ford EcoSport subcompact SUV is available to fleets in four models: S, SE, Titanium, and SES. The EcoSport is 161.3 inches long and sits on a 99.2-inch wheelbase and is positioned below the Escape. It is 16.8 inches shorter in length than the Escape with a 6.7-inch-shorter wheelbase. 

I had an opportunity to test drive the SES four-wheel-drive model powered by the 2.0L Ti-VCT direct-injection I-4 engine, which is mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. The engine generates166 hp and 149 lb.-ft. of torque. The Intelligent 4WD system, which is only available on the EcoSport SES model, can distribute power between the front and rear wheels for better traction.

A more fuel-efficient 1.0L EcoBoost three-cylinder engine is standard in the front-wheel-drive S, SE, and Titanium EcoSport models. The 1.0L engine generates 123 hp and 125 lb.-ft. of torque.

All EcoSport models come standard with Auto Start-Stop capability for enhanced fuel efficiency. The 1.0L engine is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city, 29 highway, and 28 combined. The 2.0L engine is EPA-rated at 23/29/25 mpg.

Driving Impressions

I found the EcoSport to be nimble in congested urban traffic and easy to maneuver into tight parking spots. Due to its SUV design, the EcoSport sits high offering good driver visibility of the road ahead. The driver’s seat is ergonomically designed to provide comfortable seating during an eight-hour work day. The wide driver-side door provides easy ingress and egress for company drivers and there is good headroom for the front seat vehicle occupants. The interior cabin is relatively quiet, insulating occupants from exterior road and traffic noise.

The EcoSport offers 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats accessible by a side-hinged cargo door. Photo by Vince Taroc.

The EcoSport offers 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats accessible by a side-hinged cargo door. Photo by Vince Taroc.

Cargo-Carrying Capabilities

The EcoSport can seat five passengers. The back seat can be cramped depending on the physique of the rear passengers, but two adult passenger can travel in comfort and the rear seatbacks can recline for additional comfort.

The EcoSport offers 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which is adequate for urban fleet applications; however, the side-hinged cargo door may be constrained in a tight parking space. In addition, the lack of a top-hinged tailgate eliminates a ready canopy to shelter a driver in inclement weather when off-loading merchandise from the rear of the vehicle. The rear seatbacks (split 60/40) fold easily once the seat cushions are flipped forward. Fold-flat rear seat backs expands the EcoSport’s rear cargo space to 50 cubic feet.

Technology & Safety Features

The EcoSport is equipped with Ford’s SYNC3 AppLink, which is able to integrate Waze and Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant into the vehicle. Corporate drivers can optimize their connectivity in the EcoSport using an embedded 4G LTE modem with WiFi hotspot. It will allow users to connect up to 10 devices from up to 50 feet outside the vehicle. In addition, drivers can start, unlock, and locate their vehicle from anywhere using the available SYNC Connect and FordPass.

All EcoSport models are equipped with a rearview camera to minimize backing accidents, which are the most common fleet accident.

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, and SOS Post-Crash Alert System. An anti-lock brake system is standard equipment.

Related Photos: Ford's 2018 EcoSport

Author

Mike Antich
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Mike Antich has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Mike Antich has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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