Did you know that the 2021 Ford EcoSport that’s on the road today actually got its start in Brazil? The EcoSport made its official debut on Brazilian soil in 2003 and helped save Ford’s presence in the market at a time when Volkswagen was the best-selling model in the country. Over a decade later, Ford brought the EcoSport to American soil, where the subcompact SUV has attracted many drivers looking for an affordable and maneuverable SUV that’s ideal as a daily driver and buzzing around town.
The EcoSport’s Journey From Brazil to America
At the dawn of the new millennium, Ford struggled to gain its footing in the Brazilian automotive industry after a failed partnership with the best-selling Volkswagen brand. VW cornered the market by selling affordable entry-level models that were in high demand. This forced Ford to sell higher-end models, which proved detrimental post-partnership when Ford didn’t have an entry-level car in its lineup that could compete with VW. This forced Ford to refocus its efforts and invest $4 billion to open a new factory that would lower production costs and churn out affordable models for Brazilian consumers.
The Fiesta rolled off the production line in 2002, and Ford anticipated following up with the Fusion until the automaker’s strategy shifted. SUVs were rising in popularity in Brazil, but every model was imported and expensive. An affordable SUV was a unicorn in the Brazilian market. Ford filled this need by developing the EcoSport, which made its debut in 2003.
Built on the Fusion platform, the EcoSport distinguished itself from the compact sedan with its taller height, larger wheels, and the addition of a spare tire to the rear hatch. Also boasting greater ground clearance, the EcoSport was everything Brazilian drivers were looking for as sales skyrocketed over the next decade without any competition from the likes of VW or other rivals. This widespread success paved the way for the EcoSport’s second generation, which marked an all-new design with its debut in 2012.
The second-generation EcoSport soon became a global vehicle as Ford introduced it in markets across Russia, India, Thailand, Romania, and China. In Brazil, the EcoSport was a best-seller and the only SUV in its class until 2015 when Honda introduced the HR-V and Jeep debuted the Renegade. By this time, Ford knew it was time to bring the EcoSport to American soil and debuted the 2018 model at the 2016 automotive show in Los Angeles.
Paving the Way to the 2021 EcoSport: 2018 to 2020
Marketed as “fun, capable, and connected,” the 2018 EcoSport gets off to a great start in America thanks to its host of available features, impressive cargo volume, and towing ability. The 2018 EcoSport is full of surprises with its available all-wheel drive and comfortable front seats. It also offers a wide variety of technology and safety features. The base trim is equipped with the SYNC 3 infotainment system, while higher-tier trims add a touchscreen display with advanced safety features like AppLink and 911 Assist. The EcoSport also comes with a range of active and passive safety and security tools, including anti-lock brakes, roll stability control, advanced airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The 2019 EcoSport improves upon the 2018 model by offering one of the best infotainment systems in its class. This is courtesy of Ford’s all-new FordPass Connect that gives you instant traffic data and adds a mobile 4G LTE hotspot to the SUV. Ford also adds a new Black Appearance package to the top-tier SES model that gives the EcoSport a sophisticated look with a black roof and a black hood decal.
The EcoSport’s popularity continues into 2020 as Ford pushes ahead with the compact SUV that’s easy to maneuver and is ideal for running errands in town. As with the previous model, SYNC and FordPass Connect are standard on every trim, but you’ll find a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is a notable upgrade from the 6.5-inch touchscreen found on older models. Ford also adds novelty features like a cooled glovebox that does a decent job of keeping your beverage or lunch cooled even in the harsh summer heat.
Top Features on the 2021 EcoSport
Starting at $20,395, the 2021 EcoSport is one of the most affordable subcompact SUVs available and offers outstanding value thanks to its array of safety, technology, and convenience features. Ford promises “fun, freedom, and feel-good driving” when you’re behind the wheel. Does Ford keep that promise?
Sophisticated and Sporty
The biggest changes to the 2021 EcoSport are the addition of several new appearance packages that give the SUV a sportier design. Ford introduced the SES Black Appearance Package in 2019, which is now standard. For 2021, Ford adds the SE Appearance Package as well as an optional Overlander decal that you can add to the hood, side, and tailgate on the SE and Titanium trims. Ford also adds two new exterior colors––Blue and Luxe Yellow––to the EcoSport’s palette.
Small But Capable
Ford gives you the choice between two engines on the 2021 EcoSport, both of which are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with automatic start-stop technology. The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine delivers 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-liter Ti-VCT engine, which is paired with Ford’s intelligent four-wheel drive, gives the SUV even more power by producing 166 horsepower and 149 lb-ft of torque. This makes the 2.0-liter EcoSport even more fun to drive since it’s quick to respond even at slow speeds.
Ford continues to equip the EcoSport with the latest technology, and that’s what makes the SUV a great value. Like previous models, you’ll find the 2021 EcoSport offers an 8.0-inch touchscreen display that’s home to the SYNC 3 infotainment system. Through the system, you can use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to sync your smartphone or apps like Ford+Alexa that allows you to use a simple voice command to add items to your shopping list, stream your favorite music, respond to text messages, and more.
Safe and Confident
Ford gives you all the confidence you need when you get behind the wheel of the EcoSport with the standard Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of safety and driver-assist tools that enhance your view around the SUV and minimize the potential for collision. The available Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert makes changing lanes easier, while the Reverse Sensing System alerts you to obstacles behind the SUV with a series of audible beeps. Other tools include Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation and Hill Start Assist.
Where Will the EcoSport Take You?
If you do a lot of in-town driving, the 2021 EcoSport is a great option. Although it’s the smallest SUV in Ford’s fleet, the EcoSport is surprisingly spacious and easy to maneuver. This maneuverability makes it ideal for navigating busy city streets and tight parking spaces where oversized SUVs, trucks, or sedans are cumbersome and out of place.
The EcoSport’s affordable price tag is also worth mentioning, but it’s the SUV’s long list of safety, tech, and convenience features that truly add to its value. Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is one of the best in the industry, and the fact that it’s included on the EcoSport is a huge perk that will make your commute stress-free and enjoyable. Add in Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of safety tools, and there’s no question that the EcoSport is an outstanding option for anyone who does a lot of in-town driving.