The smallest crossovers make big compromises to hit various targets: price, fuel economy, even overall length, so they don’t compete with other models in their lineups.
We give it an 5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
By the numbers, the Ecosport sits 161.3 inches long, and rides on a 99.2-inch wheelbase. It’s small, compared to the Honda HR-V’s 102.8-inch wheelbase and 169.1-inch overall length. Still, the Ecosport grabs all the cubic inches it can, at least inside the passenger cabin.
I drove an Ecosport Titanium with leather upholstery. Base models wear cloth and may have different bolstering, but in the Titanium, the driver seat pads out the seatbacks and bottom cushion with thick, supportive bolsters. It’s not wide enough to avoid constant, regular contact between the driver’s right knee and the console–contact so frequent LinkedIn should study the algorithm.
The Ecosport sits high and so do its seats, and that translates into a good driving position. The view ahead is fine despite the car’s tall hood; to the rear quarters, it’s compromised by the upturned rear pillars and small windows.
Back seat space is the Ecosport’s best asset in a class full of cramped pseudohatches. The tall stance makes it easy to climb inside. The door cuts are wide enough for big feet. Two six-foot-tall passengers can ride in back, with a credit card’s worth of space between their heads and the headliner. The rear seatbacks recline at a good angle for road-trip comfort, and they fold down to boost storage space.
Fold-down mode expands the Ecosport’s rear cargo space, which at 20.9 cubic feet is at least a roll-aboard shy of the HR-V, and the Ecosport lacks the Honda’s nifty fold-up rear seat bottoms. It’s ultimately less useful, and that fact is amplified by the anachronistic side-hinged rear door. The Ecosport can tote a couple of bags or some weekly foodstuffs, but only if you can get the cargo door open in a tight parking space.
Packaging foibles can be overcome, but Ford can build a better interior than this. The Ecosport bristles with hard and soft black plastic trim, lots of pieces, assembled in a jigsaw puzzle on the dash that casts lots of different reflections on the windshield. Some stalks and buttons are common to decade-old Fiestas. It looks cobbled together, rather than assembled. The Ecosport, for lack of complete interior trim, flashes more square inches of body color paint inside than a Fiat 500, which puts it on the dash on purpose as a styling statement.
Those aren’t critiques of the Ecosport’s country of origin. It’s assembled in India, the first U.S.-sold vehicle to come from that country. These are critiques of a relatively high-priced product that wears relatively low-rent finishes by design–and despite all that, does a fine job of smothering road noise that drowns out passengers in some rivals.
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