Ford was one of the early contenders in the compact-crossover segment, beating most of its competitors to market when it launched the Escape back in 2000 as a 2001 model. The company has been absent from the subcompact-crossover game in America, however, an oversight felt more keenly by the day as tiny utes surge in popularity. Fortunately for Ford, it already had such a vehicle in its global quiver in the form of the EcoSport, which has been on sale elsewhere for some time and is being freshened inside and out for 2018. Underscoring its importance to the American lineup, Ford chose a U.S. city, , as the site of the revised model's official global debut.
Built on Ford's B-segment (think ) platform, the EcoSport looks like a pre-adolescent version of the . Final dimensions have not been released, but for reference, the pre-facelifted version of the EcoSport was 158.2 inches from stem to stern, was 69.5 inches wide and 64.3 inches tall, and rode on a 99.2-inch wheelbase, making it roughly the size of a Nissan Juke; we don't expect those numbers to change much for the updated version. The U.S. model would be longer if Ford included the external rear-mounted spare tire found on EcoSports in other markets, but we will get the same side-hinged rear hatch. Small and whimsical though it may be, the EcoSport fills a huge hole that opened up as other automakers started introducing littler CUVs.
Since the EcoSport has never been sold here, most of us won't know (nor likely care) what features have been modified or changed as part of the EcoSport's mid-cycle update. But for those who do, the updated features include the headlamps, the front and rear fascias, the taillamps, and a larger, higher-set grille. Four trim levels will be offered at launch: S, SE, SES, and Titanium. The SES gets its own exterior styling cues, as well as copper accents on the dash, door panels, and seats.
Inside, the EcoSport's new dashboard is home to an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system powered by Ford's Sync 3 software. Ford also is touting the gadget-friendliness of the EcoSport—it gets two USB ports and one 12-volt outlet up front, another 12-volt outlet and an optional 110-volt plug in the rear seating area. Ford has somehow managed to create 30 storage pockets, bins, and hooks of varying sizes throughout the cabin, and Titanium models boast a 675-watt B&O Play audio system with 10 speakers.
The EcoSport will be offered with two powertrains: a 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost inline-three engine paired with front-wheel drive and a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder with all-wheel drive. Both powertrains feature a six-speed automatic transmission. Neither engine has been mated to this transmission before, so Ford isn't ready to announce final output figures until closer to launch, but you can likely expect somewhere around 120 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque for the 1.0-liter model and 140 horses and 140 lb-ft for 2.0-liter versions. However distant the possibility, we would love to see Ford whip up an EcoSport ST at some point given how awesome the Fiesta ST has proved to be. Just a suggestion.
The 2018 EcoSport goes on sale in the U.S. in early 2018.