Ford Motor Co. is finally preparing to bring its small crossover EcoSport to the United States. The car is designed to address a market segment below the Escape, allowing Ford to compete with the Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trax, and Subaru X Crosstrek. Crossover sales more than doubled in 2015, signaling a fundamental realignment of the auto industry. Consumers are expected to continue fleeing cars for the SUV and crossover segment. With shortages in the crossover market, Ford would be wise to bring the EcoSport to America.
New spy photos taken near Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan headquarters, show the EcoSport with some camouflage. The prototype is a subcompact crossover on the same platform as the Ford Fiesta. The car had a rear-mounted, full-size spare tire, but experts do not believe that version will be available in the U.S.
The grille seems inspired by the Edge, with more pronounced headlights.
There are also larger wheels and some tweaks in body trim, which you can view in the spy shots.
Ford’s New Utility Models
It is unclear when the EcoSport will arrive in America, but it could happen in late 2017 as a 2018 new model. Ford announced in January that it would be adding four new utility vehicles to its American offerings during the next few years. The company will be adding a new version of the Ford Bronco, but it is still several years away from market. The other rumored vehicles include a revival of the Ranger midsize pickup and an SUV under the Lincoln brand. Other rumors suggest that in the luxury SUV space, Ford will resurrect the Aviator name with an SUV based on the Explorer.
The first generation Ford EcoSport was manufactured in Brazil and sold between 2004 and 2012. The second generation was launched in 2012, primarily in the Indian, Chinese and South American markets. In 2015, a limited run was launched in Europe, where consumers are also hungry for the small utility vehicles.
The EcoSport is powered by a 1.0-litre, 3 cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine. The power output capabilities are 120 PS (88 kW; 118 bhp) and 170 N·m (125 b·ft) of torque. The engine featuresTwin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing, which adds to the turbocharged engine’s peak torque starting at 1,300 rpm .Additionally, the car can tow up to 700 kg.
The powertrains are variable according to the market demographic Ford is trying to reach. The newest EcoSport uses the 1.0-litre EcoBoost developed at Ford’s Dunton Technical Center in the UK. The cast-iron engine has two versions: 74 kW (101 PS; 99 hp) and 88 to 92 kW. The latter delivers a peak torque of 170 Nm from 1,300–4,500 rpm and 200 Nm (148 lb·ft) on overboost. The benefit of the cast-iron engine block is that it increased engine warm-up time by 50 percent. However, the engine causes quite a bit of vibration, which Ford addressed by using deliberately unbalanced flywheel, which conserves energy and produces greater efficiency.