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Battle of the Compact SUVs: 2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Chevy Trax

A blue 2020 Ford Ecosport, which wins when comparing the 2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Chevy Trax, is driving on an empty highway.

 

When you think of classic American automakers, the two names that probably spring to mind first are Ford and Chevrolet. Both build affordable cars for the average American without skimping on quality, dependability, and creature comforts we all desire in a car. Both companies have made strong inroads into practically every type of car, truck and SUV, boasting market offerings that are broad and deep, and appealing to a wide swath of the car-buying public. Each automaker has taken heed of the growing popularity of the compact SUV vehicle class. Ford has the EcoSport, a sporty and fun compact SUV with great gas mileage and plenty of room for you and your passengers. Not to be outdone, Chevy has the Trax, a terrifically-compact SUV with an unexpected amount of room for cargo. But which compact SUV will win the battle of 2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Chevy Trax? Tune in and find out!

Common Attributes

The 2020 Ford EcoSport and 2020 Chevy Trax share a number of common features. Like most compact SUVs, the EcoSport and Trax have room for up to five passengers. In addition, both come with front-wheel drive standard, and four-wheel drive available as an optional upgrade, and feature a rear lift-gate for access to the trunk. Each can also hold up to 14 gallons of gas.

The base models of the EcoSport and Trax also come with similar standard safety features. The 2020 Ford EcoSport S boasts many excellent safety features built on Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 system, including a rearview camera, hill start assist, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction controls through AdvanceTrac with roll stability control, a torque vectoring control, SOS post-crash alert system, and nine airbags. The base model 2020 Chevy Trax LS also has many standard safety features, including a rear vision camera, StabiliTrak with traction control, ten airbags, daytime running lights, General Motors OnStar system, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Both the EcoSport and Encore have additional optional safety features, many of which become standard on higher trim levels. Outcome: Even.

A birds eye view of a silver and black 2020 Ford Ecosport is parked on the side of a street.

Price Points and Trim Levels

Each of these compact SUVs comes in a number of different trims with different pricing. The 2020 Chevy Trax LS is the base model and has an MSRP of $22,295. The two other trims, the LT with an MSRP of $24,195, and the Premier with an MSRP of $28,595. In contrast, the 2020 Ford EcoSport has four different trim levels, ranging from the base model EcoSport S with an MSRP of $20,485, the SE with an MSRP of $23,450, the Titanium with an MSRP of $26,265, and the fully-loaded SES with an MSRP of $27,380. The price points certainly favor Ford, as does having an extra, mid-level trim. The EcoSport SE is only about one thousand dollars more than the base model Trax LS, but certainly has more features. In addition, there is a $4,000 leap from the mid-priced Trax LT to the top-of-the-line Premier. Outcome: Advantage 2020 Ford EcoSport.

Infotainment

One of the most popular items on cars today is the touchscreen infotainment system that combines entertainment features like satellite radio, connectivity through smartphone technology, and key vehicle information. The Chevy Trax comes with the standard Chevy Infotainment3 System. This uses a seven-inch color touchscreen to integrate the various features, including 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, a 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio, USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A close up of the infotainment system found inside of the 2020 Ford Ecosport is shown.

Ford also has its own system called Sync3, which includes USB charging ports, Bluetooth, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, SiriusXM satellite radio, and connections to Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Unfortunately, this does not come on the base model Ford EcoSport S, and you will need to buy the next trim level up, the SE, in order to have this feature installed in your EcoSport. The base S comes with the Ford Sync system with USB charging ports and a 6-speaker AM/FM stereo. Outcome: Slight advantage 2020 Chevy Trax.

Engine and Fuel Economy Comparison

The 2020 Ford EcoSport features a standard 1.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine with auto start-stop technology, running on a six-speed automatic transmission. This three-cylinder engine produces an efficient 123 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 125 pounds to feet of torque at 6,000 rpm, and enables the EcoSport to tow up to 1,400 pounds of trailer. The EPA estimated that with this engine, the EcoSport gets 27 miles per gallon in city driving, 29 miles per gallon in highway driving, and 28 miles per gallon combined. The Ford EcoSport’s great mileage is due in large part to the automatic start-stop feature that reduces fuel consumption and vehicle emissions during city driving. When the EcoSport comes to a stop, the engine automatically shuts off and then seamlessly restarts when your foot leaves the brake pedal. Also available is a 2.0-liter Ti-VCT I-4 engine, which enables the EcoSport to tow up to 2,000 pounds of trailer — pretty amazing for such a small vehicle.

The 2020 Chevy Trax features a 1.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission — larger than the EcoSport. It produces 138 horsepower at 4900 rpm, and 148 pounds to feet of torque at 1,850 rpm. Fuel economy estimates on the Trax are also good, with the EPA estimating that drivers will experience 26 miles per gallon in the city, 31 miles per gallon on the highway, and 28 miles per gallon combined. One drawback with the Trax is there are no available engine upgrades. Every model of the 2020 Chevy Trax comes with the 1.4-liter engine. Outcome: Slight advantage 2020 Ford EcoSport.

Performance and Drivability

A black 2020 Chevy Trax is driving on a highway with a city skyline in the distance.

The Trax is a slightly larger vehicle than the EcoSport, and it shows in overall handling and drivability. The Trax measures 167.7 inches in length, 69.9 inches in width, and 65 inches in height, with a wheelbase of 100.6 inches. This affects the turning radius, which is fully 18.35 feet. In contrast, the EcoSport has a length of 161.3 inches, width of 69.5 inches, and a height of 64.8 inches, with a wheelbase of 99.2 inches. As a result, it is more maneuverable than the Trax, with a 17.5-foot turning radius. In addition, the Trax has a larger track than the Encore, 60.6 inches in front and back, compared with 59.8 inches in front and 59.7 inches in the rear for the EcoSport. Outcome: Advantage 2020 Ford EcoSport.

Room For Passengers and Cargo

Even though the Trax is a larger vehicle than the EcoSport, it does not offer more passenger space. If anything, passengers in the EcoSport will find more legroom than those in a Trax. The 2020 Ford EcoSport offers front seat passengers 39.6 inches of headroom, 42.9 inches of legroom, 51.6 inches of hip room, and 53.3 inches of shoulder room, and second-row passengers 37.5 inches of headroom, 36.7 inches of legroom, 50.9 inches of hip room, and 51.3 inches of shoulder room. In contrast, the front seat passengers in the Trax get 39.6 inches of headroom, 40.8 inches of legroom, 51.7 inches of hip room, and 54.1 inches of shoulder room, while rear seat passengers have 38.8 inches of headroom, 35.7 inches of legroom, 50.7 inches of hip room, and 52.8 inches of shoulder room. That is over two extra inches of legroom in the front seat, and one extra inch of legroom in the rear seat for passengers in an EcoSport.

The one area where Trax has an advantage is cargo space. There are 29.3 inches of cargo space behind the second row and 57 inches behind the first row of seats in the 2020 Chevy Trax. The Ford EcoSport has slightly less, with 20.9 inches of cargo space behind the second row of seats, and 50 inches behind the first row. Advantage: 2020 Ford EcoSport for passengers, 2020 Chevy Trax for cargo.

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