The subcompact crossover market is exploding, and now Ford is taking note. Since the beginning of last year Ford has been selling its EcoSport crossover in the European market, and now it might be coming home to the United States.
The EcoSport pronounced “echo-sport” will line up in the showroom war against competitors like the Nissan Juke, as a fun to drive by practical and economical family car. Originally developed for both the Brazilian market, the EcoSport has been a surprising success in Europe. And now according to the Detroit News Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally, there might be a market in the United States.
Mechanically its strongly related to the Fiesta, but it gets other engines in the European market. The base engine is the 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. At up to 123 horsepower, this engine produces both incredible efficiency and surprising pop from a displacement smaller than some servings of soda.
But the car can also get the 1.5-liter EcoBoost or a 1.5 turbo diesel. Unfortunately we aren’t likely to get the diesel in the United States, but the shared development with the Fiesta offers some interesting potential for shared engine options.
Where the EcoSport is really going to have to make its mark is on price. Having originally been designed as an entry level car for markets where price is a more important selling point than refinement, the EcoSport may not be able to outshine competitors like the Juke or the Mini Countryman on an even playing field.
Fortunately for Ford, because of the shared background with the Fiesta and low production costs, the EcoSport may not need to be on such an even playing field. This suspicion appears to be shared by Ford as the car will be aimed at younger buyers who are increasingly turning to small cars.
I hope that Ford follows through on its hints and brings the EcoSport to the United States, because the small car market here can benefit from the competition.