Ford EcoSport: A Global Player US Subcompact Crossover

In the rush to fill a void in its US line-up in the hot sub-compact SUV Crossover market, Ford Motor Company reached across its global manufacturing empire and with little fanfare, this year started importing the modest but engaging EcoSport built in Chennai, India.

This sturdy little car-based high rider has been sold for years in Europe but arrives late to a party dominated at the Kia Soul, Buick Encore, Jeep Renegade and offerings from Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Honda.

In terms of styling the Ecosport fits in as a smaller version of the Escape and the new Edge, sharing the same heads up profile and front grille and headlamp array.

The Ecosport is quite roomy, with wide door openings and a handy left side-hinged swinging tailgate for the smallish rear cargo bay. The interior has been spiffed up for the US market with a command and control screen and popular tech interfaces.

Though not a power player with a base 123 horsepower turbo 1.0-liter three-cylinder, or an upgraded 166 horsepower 2.0 liter 4 cylinder for the sporty SES and deluxe Titanium trims, the Ecosport is quite capable for town and country driving. Expect some road noise and wind buffeting on the highway.

With a base price at $20,000 and topping out fully loaded at $26,000, the Ford Ecosport is competitive but not compelling.