Ford EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium AT 2018 Review: The Way It Was Meant To Be
Ford has finally fixed their crossover
Ford’s EcoSport is one of the most popular cross-overs in several countries, especially here in the Philippines. The vehicle had its roots in South America and Southeast Asia, places where a relatively inexpensive vehicle with high ground clearance and SUV-like looks meant lots and lots of sales. But the EcoSport was far from perfect – it was plagued with an underpowered engine that wasn’t helped at all by the problematic PowerShift dual-clutch transmission.
This year’s EcoSport is quite different. With a newer, peppier 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine, traditional 6-speed automatic transmission and plenty of exterior and interior refinements, this ambitious crossover is finally deserving of the “sport” part of its name.
it looks…different, in a good way.
Absolutely. Ford’s chiseled away that chubby front of the previous generation and left us with a sportier, more menacing grill that conforms to the company’s new design language. The 2018 model also gets LED daytime running lights, bigger headlights and slightly redesigned fog lights.
The EcoSport is still recognizable from the rear since Ford hasn’t really change its posterior that much, though the crossover gets 17-inch alloy wheels this time around, paired with Michelin tires.
The EcoSport is pretty compact as crossovers come, which is a great thing when you’re driving around in a city like Manila. One of the main reasons why Ford sold so many of these in the past years is that it’s capable of handling a variety of road conditions in the city, from pot holes to torn up streets to flooded roads, thanks to its 209mm ground clearance.
It looks like Ford refreshed the insides too.
Pretty much. Gone is the archaic dash and spartan infotainment system, replaced by a new center stack that’s dominated by a 8-inch touchscreen display. Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is still present, but you’ll hardly use it thanks to the presence of both Android Auto and CarPlay. While you can use the car’s built-in navigation system without the aid of a phone, you’ll probably won’t touch it once you plug in your device via the two USB ports right below the HVAC controls and start using Android Auto/CarPlay. There’s also a powered sunroof, but that’s only available on the top of the line Titanium trim.
The three-spoke steering wheel has all the controls within easy reach, though if you’re not used to driving Ford vehicles the headlight control knob that’s placed near your knee to the left of the steering wheel takes a little bit of getting used to. The new EcoSport also has an electronic stability control (ECS) toggle (why you’d want to turn that off is beyond us), as well as Auto Start Stop, which automatically turns off the engine when you’re stuck in traffic to save fuel.
The seats look and feel absolutely fantastic, despite being leatherette. The Titanium variant of the EcoSport also gets a sunroof which isn’t present in the lower trims.
Ride comfort was pretty good during the time we spent with the EcoSport, despite being a relatively large, almost 6-feet tall Asian male. You can probably fit a couple of your larger friends inside the EcoSport comfortably provided you move the seats forward a bit, though just barely. A typical Pinoy family of five won’t have a problem fitting in the EcoSport, however.
Does the car still feel underpowered?
Absolutely not. The 3-cylinder, 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine produces around 125 horses and 170 Nm of torque which is more than enough for this little crossover. Many manufacturers are moving away from higher displacement engines nowadays, replacing them with smaller, more efficient engines with turbos so they get both fuel efficiency and performance when it’s needed.
We drove the EcoSport during the recent long weekend up to Baguio, where we put the 1.0-liter engine to the test. The 2018 EcoSport had no trouble going up to the City Of Pines, and I had the utmost confidence when it came to overtaking lumbering trucks hauling goods up that mountain road. That new six-speed automatic feels smoother, and quieter too since there’s no longer awkward clunks and sudden surges during the drive.
Surprisingly enough, the EcoSport is pretty nimble as well, at least for a crossover. You won’t want to throw this vehicle around in corners like a normal car because of it’s height, but it feels quicker around the corner compared to other vehicles in its class, at least to us.
The car sounds quieter too. Jamie, who used last year’s EcoSport commented that the car was noticeably quieter than he remembered. While the suspension has pretty much stayed the same from last year’s model, Ford has put in additional sound dampeners in strategic areas of the car to reduce road noise.
How’s the fuel economy?
Good, but not great. I picked up the EcoSport in Makati during rush hour traffic right before heading to Baguio during the start of a three-day weekend. I had to wade through horrible traffic first before I was able to start cruising down NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX before making the final push to Baguio.
Once there, I was still able to drive around the city that was now choked with visitors from Manila for a day before I had to top off my tank. From my rough calculations, it looks like the EcoSport did around 10 to 11 kilometers to a liter with a combination of city and highway driving.
Should people consider it for their next car?
Absolutely. If you were looking at the Ford EcoSport before but were worried about complaints about the car being underpowered or have concerns about Ford’s transmission issues, you owe it to yourself to at least take a test drive of the new model now. Ford has gone to great lengths to correct the issues of the previous models, and as a result, the 2018 refresh of the EcoSport feels like a completely different vehicle now.
The Ford EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium AT 2018 retails for Php 1,168,000.