MSRP
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2020 Ford EcoSport Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 5.5

The 2020 Ford EcoSport is agile and composed, but it lacks the polished performance of its rivals. The powertrains are often sluggish and noisy, the ride quality ranges from average to stiff, and fuel economy is mediocre.

  • "It feels frenetic and over-caffeinated in dense urban traffic. The transmission is indecisive about whether it needs to save fuel or deliver quick acceleration, yet it's not particularly good at either. Long intervals between gear changes means the EcoSport tends to bog down during upshifts." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • Driving through the city, the lack of power (more on that shortly) is almost overcome by the EcoSport's nimbleness. The steering, responsive to the point of being almost twitchy, is worthy of praise. We like the balance of heft that builds up the further from center you turn it -- and it makes the EcoSport entertaining fun to drive around town. Low speed cornering won't throw it off balance, so saw away at the wheel. On the flip side, high-speed cornering is less confident. … High-speed cruising requires a lot of course corrections. If there was ever a car that could benefit from a lane-keeping assistance system, this is it. Changing lanes at highway speeds is a cinch, though, and it's easy to dart this thing through congestion. Responsive steering and good visibility means we had plenty of confidence hopping into gaps with a flick of the wheel." -- Autoblog (2018)
  • "The EcoSport's decent ride is a pleasant surprise in a vehicle with such a short wheelbase. … 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 (2018)

Acceleration and Power

In contrast to its name, the EcoSport isn't very sporty, nor is it very efficient. With either of its engines, this Ford struggle to get up to speed, and you'll need plenty of room to accelerate. At times, the powertrains drone noticeably.

Most EcoSport trims come standard with a 123-horsepower 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. It gets 27 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, which is slightly below average for a subcompact SUV

The upgraded 166-horsepower engine – a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder – is available in every trim level and standard in the EcoSport SES. Its lower fuel economy rating of 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway will add an extra $200 to the annual fuel budget of the average driver.

  • "The three-cylinder engine is woefully underpowered. Even with the turbocharger spooled up, it takes a long time to bring the EcoSport up to highway speeds. In Edmunds testing, 0 to 60 mph took 11.4 seconds – one of the slowest paces in the segment. Further slowing things down is the automatic transmission's indecisive nature." -- Edmunds
  • Based on power-to-weight ratios, it's understandable why EcoSport models with the smaller, 3-cylinder EcoBoost are among the slower entries in the segment. There is noticeable turbo lag upon acceleration from a stop, and power doesn't really come on strong until the revs pass 2,000 rpm. Models fitted with the 166-horsepower 4-cylinder engine have a bit more power on hand, but fuel economy suffers greatly." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • The little 2.0-liter engine really struggles to get the car up to speed. We counted off a slow 10 count getting this thing up to 60 miles per hour from a stop. The coarseness of the engine note under hard acceleration makes it feel even longer. If traffic is flowing well, the harsh engine noise continues as the EcoSport struggles to match pace with other cars on the road. The six-speed automatic downshifts with little provocation, which is certainly necessary for response, but not great for in-car conversation. At steady speed, the engine drones tediously. We'd have loved to have another gear or two for this car to work with, for less frequent shifts and lower cruising revs." -- Autoblog (2018)

Handling and Braking

The EcoSport comes standard with front-wheel drive and 16-inch wheels. All-wheel drive is standard in any model equipped with the four-cylinder engine, and uplevel trims come with 17-inch wheels. Most reviewers say this SUV is nimble and easy to drive, thanks in part to its responsive steering. The suspension system keeps the EcoSport reasonably composed, but it can feel too stiff for some travelers.

  • The EcoSport delivers a choppy, bumpy ride on most road surfaces. It won't rattle your teeth, but this car lacks the refined damping of a competitor such as the Mazda CX-3. It handles road undulations well, but it gets bounced around by the sharper impacts of bad, rashy pavement." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • Where the EcoSport shines brightest is on twisting roads. The suspension and steering deliver a performance on par with the Mazda CX-3, making this one of the best-handling subcompacts on the market. The ride, however, can get a bit choppy over rough pavement, and interior noise levels are also quite noticeable." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "Handling is a high point for this subcompact SUV. With its quick steering and limited body roll, the EcoSport is much more engaging than most of its competitors. It handles more like a sporty car than a dull SUV. Yes, driving the EcoSport has been a pleasant surprise. The ride isn't too bad for the class, either. The ride in this wee Ford suffers from some jitter, but it's tolerable." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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