$15,074 - $22,017

2018 Ford EcoSport Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Ford EcoSport was new.


Performance: 6.5

The all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport is less athletic than most subcompact SUVs. The base engine is sluggish, and the larger, optional engine is just passable. Fuel economy numbers are average as well. The EcoSport is exceptionally agile, but it isn't as fun to drive as other small crossovers, and its ride quality gets a bit jarring over rough roads.

  • "Ironically, at least in front-drive form, the EcoSport is neither 'Eco' nor 'Sport.'" -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The EcoSport comes standard with a 123-horsepower, turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. There's no way around it: This engine is unimpressive. It accelerates with the urgency of someone napping by the pool, and it feels underpowered on the highway.

For a better driving experience, you want the available 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 166 horsepower. It doesn't turn this crossover into a speed demon, but it delivers respectable acceleration and doesn't feel as overmatched at higher speeds. Be aware that to get this engine, you also need to upgrade to all-wheel drive.

According to EPA estimates, the EcoSport gets 27 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with its base engine. Those numbers are OK for the class. With the larger engine, the EcoSport gets 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

While some class rivals aren't recommended for towing, this Ford is capable of pulling up to 2,000 pounds.

  • "Our tester averaged 10.2 seconds in the 0-60 sprint, making it one of the slowest vehicles in the class. Floor the gas from a stop, and the little turbo provides a surprisingly decent jump off the line, but though speed increases linearly, it doesn't increase very rapidly. Stab the throttle from speed, and the transmission usually kicks down fairly quickly, but again, there's not much oomph there, making highway passing and merging a bit tricky." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We've tested the three-cylinder in a Fiesta and Focus in the past and, to be frank, it's slow. A Focus powered by this engine took a lethargic 10.6 seconds to accelerate from a stop to 60 mph. It's going to be even pokier in the larger, heavier EcoSport, especially if you have passengers in tow." -- Edmunds
  • "Our 2.0-liter EcoSport, like most subcompact SUVs, has to work hard to merge on the highway. The standard six-speed automatic transmission isn't the smoothest, but it makes the most of the engine's modest 166 hp with prompt downshifts. If you're considering buying an EcoSport, we wouldn't bother with the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine. We tested that small engine in the Ford Fiesta and Focus, and its meager power isn't offset enough by good fuel economy to put up with it." -- Consumer Reports

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive comes standard in the EcoSport, and all-wheel drive is available. This Ford's small size makes it highly maneuverable and relatively agile, though it doesn't have the sporty feel of rivals like the Mazda CX-3. Ride quality is a mixed bag. Some argue that the EcoSport rides smoothly most of the time, while others say it feels jittery over bumps. Either way, don't expect larger bumps to go unnoticed.

  • "The EcoSport's decent ride is a pleasant surprise in a vehicle with such a short wheelbase. On our example, 17-inch wheels were wrapped with 205/50R-17 tires, and their forgiving, all-purpose nature no doubt helped take the edge off bumps. The suspension manages a reasonable degree of body control, and the steering weights up appropriately once you get beyond parking-lot speeds. Although there's nothing energetic about the EcoSport's responses, they're not particularly sluggish, either. The wee SUV simply goes where you point it, and of course it's a cinch to maneuver in tight confines." -- Car and Driver
  • "Among subcompact crossovers, Ford's EcoSport is one of the most diminutive choices available. It's 8 inches shorter than the Honda HR-V and 7 inches shorter than the Mazda CX-3. If you're looking for a crossover that's nimble and maneuverable, the EcoSport is a compelling choice." -- New York Daily News
  • "EcoSport's short length also means a short wheelbase, and that probably doesn't help ride quality any. Reactions to bumps are somewhat abrupt and hoppy, though the ride is fine on smoother roads and on the highway, where wind and road noise are reasonably subdued. Handling is nimble and the turning circle tight, but again, it doesn't quite live up to its 'Sport' moniker." -- Consumer Guide

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