The US version of Ford’s tiny EcoSport SUV made an appearance on the web today, including on Motor1 and other forums, ahead of its motor show debut in Los Angeles this Wednesday.
North America’s 2018 EcoSport is the facelifted version of the global model that’s produced in various parts of the world, including Brazil, India and Thailand. It’s unclear where the North American vehicle will be built, but Mexico does sound plausible.
Positioned below the Escape in Ford’s crossover and SUV lineup, the EcoSport will go up against the Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade and Nissan Juke in the increasingly competitive subcompact SUV segment, where sales have more than doubled over the past couple of years.
From a quick look at the images posted, it seems that the 2018 EcoSport, which will most probably reach other markets next year as the facelifted model, has adopted a front that mimics the latest Escape and Kuga SUVs with a single (instead of double) grille, together with changes to the bumpers, lights and wheels.
We didn’t see any pictures of the interior, but Ford’s PR says that it inherits Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment tech that works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, coupled to an eight-inch touch screen, with a premium 675-watt B&O PLAY audio system also being available.
The EcoSport will arrive in the USA in early 2018 in four trim level offerings named, S, SE, SES and Titanium, 10 colors, and a choice of two gasoline engines, a 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost, or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, both paired to a standard six-speed automatic transmissions. The bigger engine gets Ford’s Intelligent 4WD as standard.
Placing the specs aside, there’s a looming question whether Ford has addressed all the criticisms in regards to quality and handling, especially in Europe where journalists found the EcoSport severely lacking compared to the competition. Autocar’s Matt Prior wrote that last year’s revised EcoSport’s “perceived quality is regrettable, its diesel powertrain is rough and flat, and its chassis is so rudimentary that it could even damage Ford’s prized reputation for dynamic excellence.”