Say hello to the Ford EcoSport, the cute ute the Dearborn, Michigan company hopes tics all the right boxes for some buyers – and they just might have a winner. Small in size, but useful in orientation, workable off-pavement, but capable in the city, the EcoSport aims to be the most versatile answer for urban drivers.
You can tell who Ford is going for with the first thing they mention in their press release for the EcoSport.
“Ford introduces all-new EcoSport for North America today during the world’s first-ever Snapchat vehicle reveal.”
I wonder who Ford thinks their target market is? Grandma and Grandpa? No. That guy that works nights at the loading dock? Probably not. Gladys, your doctor’s receptionist that hates life and all it has to offer?
Clearly, Ford is skewing younger with that marketing tactic, and the EcoSport itself is loaded with and emphasizes features and tech stuff that simply does not matter to the older crowd. The EcoSport offers a wide variety of colors, trim levels, and available features that allow buyers to personalize their ride and “stand apart from the crowd.”
There are ten exterior color choices, seven ambient lighting options, and four trim level offerings: S, SE, SES, and Titanium.
The SES series features “Intelligent 4WD” (i.e., all four wheels are powered), sport-tuned suspension and steering, and unique styling cues inside and out. These “unique styling cues” include copper accents for the interior and sport seats. Okay. Might work. Copper is a difficult color tone to work within some cases, but whatever, we’ll trust the Ford guys to make the right choices.
All EcoSport versions feature a swing-gate-style tailgate.
Crank It Up
Since you young people like pop music and your rocking and rolling, the EcoSport includes a B&O PLAY audio system, which is standard on the EcoSport Titanium. The B&O PLAY system has 10 speakers, including B&O PLAY-branded tweeters and woofers in the front doors and a subwoofer in the back.
The sound system cranks out 675-watts of power and should have enough grunt to blow your passengers into orbit if you select the right music.
Ford says the B&O PLAY audio system “unlocks the power of your favorite music and transforms every drive into a “living big” experience.” Which is hysterically cloying and should make anyone under the age of, oh, 25, reflexively cringe if they ever read it. I am, obviously, not under the age of 25, and I cringed so hard I suffered a mandibular cramp.
HD Radio, SiriusXM, and a dual FM radio antenna that boosts the range and clarity of FM signals are all available.
Connectivity & Technology
Ford says their compact ute makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family with SYNC 3, Ford’s communications and entertainment system. When Ford introduced the SYNC system, everyone was genuinely impressed with it, so Ford never messed with it much, just doing upgrades and smart improvements here and there along the way.
SYNC 3 is faster, more intuitive, and easier to use, says Ford. The system provides more conversational voice recognition and enhanced response to driver commands. It is optimized for hands-free use and is coupled with a touch screen similar to a smartphone or tablet.
EcoSport drivers also have the ability to start, lock, unlock, and locate their vehicle from almost anywhere using available SYNC Connect with FordPass. The mobile app lets owners view vehicle information, such as the fuel level and odometer reading, when not in the vehicle.
Which is simultaneously handy, fun, and kinda creepy.
USB ports, you ask? Yup! The EcoSport features two fast-charging USB ports to ensure devices are always powered up. Also, there’s a 12-volt power outlet, and an available 110-volt outlet positioned behind the center console, and another 12-volt outlet out back. You know, for tailgate parties or car camping.
Things like this are turning into a pet project of mine. The more we (and by we, I mean I) have computers in our pockets, the more power outlets we should have. I want USB ports in couches. I want USB ports in my coffee table. So thanks Ford, this is leaning in the right direction.
Engine & Powertrain
You get your choice of two different engines when buying an EcoSport. Either a 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Sadly, Ford does not provide power and torque figures (yet), but hey, this is an EcoSport, not a Raptor, so calm down. Buyers that opt for the 2.0-liter mill get Ford’s Intelligent 4WD as standard.
Both engine choices come with six-speed automatic transmissions.
Packed & Ready
The EcoSport is also slathered with convenience bits and bobs. Handy little things are seemingly everywhere, like 30 different storage pockets, bins, and hooks. A cargo management system features a movable floor board and fold-away second-row seats to provide a flat area for moving furniture and other larger items.
Impressive, considering the Ford EcoSport is nearly a foot-and-a-half shorter than the Escape.
It appears Ford is really touching all the bases with this little guy. It seems like it could be a very good choice for a person that’s in the market for an efficient and widely useful vehicle. Expect the EcoSport on Ford showrooms in early 2018.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life around racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.