Cars

The Ford EcoSport is the B-Segment SUV that Won’t Break the Bank

A review of the 2019 Ford EcoSport Titanium 1.5L.
IMAGE ERIC TIPAN
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Small SUVs – the B-segment type – didn’t exist until 15 years ago when Ford debuted the EcoSport in Brazil where it became one of the country’s best-selling models.

Now, just about every automaker has one but it behooves us to give this subcompact crossover its due as the forerunner in what is arguably one of the hottest segments in the auto market.

While the EcoBoost engine is offered in the top trim, it is intriguing to find out how the EcoSport Titanium 1.5L matches up against similarly specced competitors.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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Ford EcoSport - Size

The EcoSport is unique by the fact that it’s the smallest SUV that comes paired with the smallest engine in its segment.

Other units with the same engine size classify more as an AUV (Asian utility vehicle) or an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), while others comparable in size come with bigger engines.

Tall yet short and high but slim, it may seem like it’s neither here nor there—a very niche-market kind of vehicle—but it appears to have answered the basic needs of auto buyers.

Based on size and displacement, it’s in a class of its own.

The only downside to this is space. Sitting room is fine but five overnight bags may be all that fits in the cargo area.

Infotainment system

What stands out inside is the eight-inch colored and capacitive touchscreen that already sports SYNC 3, and to make it more appealing to techies, if you plug in your mobile unit, it will automatically launch either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

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What’s great about SYNC 3 is the fact that it comes with enhanced voice control. That means you don’t need to speak with a twang, just say it in a conversational manner, in order for commands to be understood.

If you opt not to plug via the two USB ports in front , you can still connect via Bluetooth. Access your apps with AppLink using voice control.

The screen is bright and colorful, with big easy-to-see buttons, and the operating system responds instantaneously with every tap of the finger.

There are two extra USB ports right behind the center console so rear passengers can charge their mobile devices as well.

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Amenities and safety features

Reach for the door handle and it auto unlocks if you have the smart key on your person.

It has a push Start/Stop button, power door locks that are speed sensitive, and even a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and trip computer controls.

Slide the gear shifter to reverse and the rearview camera and rear park assist (sonar) are activated. The camera needs to be adjusted a little bit though because it is pointed at whatever you’re backing up to in an odd angle.

The six-speed automatic transmission is aided by Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control, which makes it almost idiot-proof to drive down or up on inclines.

Fabric seats are more on the firm side and are only manually adjustable but it does a great job of putting your body in the correct driving position. If you fix it properly, you won’t feel any aches after hours of driving in traffic.

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Engine

The 1.5L engine won’t break any records and would even be hard-pressed to excite on SLEX but it gets high marks for its performance in the city.

It is responsive to throttle input and feels very light and nimble. That makes is easy to squeeze in tight spaces and even in gaps when they open up in traffic.

Overtaking won’t be a problem along EDSA but you’ll need to rev that engine up to 3k+ RPM to get some juice out of it when passing cars cruising at 80 kilometers per hour and above.

The transmission is smooth enough to be almost inconspicuous and helps keep consumption down to a very good 9.8 kilometers per liter even in bumper-to-bumper situations.

Photo by ERIC TIPAN.
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Bankable

For a crossover, the suspension is a little stiff and a tad unforgiving of poorly fashioned speed bumps but that seems to be its only weakness.

The 2019 Ford EcoSport Titanium 1.5L is tech-loaded, thrifty, an easy drive because of how compact it is, and best of all, it’s priced at just a shade over a million pesos (P1.1 million).

Looking to satisfy your cravings for an SUV? You’d do well to keep a keen eye on this B-segment crossover.

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Eric Tipan
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