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How They Compare: Ford EcoSport vs Honda HR-V

A blue 2020 Ford Ecosport, which wins when comparing the 2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Honda HR-V, is driving on a highway.

Let’s take a look at two standouts of the 2020 subcompact crossover SUV class: the 2020 Ford EcoSport vs 2020 Honda HR-V. You’ll find a lot of similarities between these two SUVs, but it really comes down to what you’re looking for in an SUV. Whether you are looking for a fun, sporty car like the EcoSport, or a little extra cargo space from the HR-V, these are two vehicles that prove why the subcompact crossover is the latest SUV segment to capture the imagination of the consumer.

What are you looking for when you’re shopping for a smaller SUV, anyway? You most likely want the functionality of a compact SUV, but maybe you’re also looking for better fuel efficiency or maneuverability in traffic. Wouldn’t it be great if you could zip in and out of traffic, turn on a dime, still take your friends or family with you around town, and didn’t have to spend as much on gas doing it? That’s the charm of this segment, and both of these SUVs are up to the challenge, but let’s see which one might be the right fit for you.

First Impressions

Well, let’s start with what these two SUVs look like because that’s a big part of buying a car. You want the vehicle to say something about yourself, even if it’s just how sensible you are. With these two, though, you’ll be saying that and much more. Both have unique styling and are unique-looking SUVs. With these two SUVs, you can see how the subcompact segment continues to evolve as it becomes more and more popular.

The Ford EcoSport is a great example of this. Taking its looks from the Escape while somehow looking even more rugged, the EcoSport has carved out its own place in the Ford SUV lineup. The EcoSport rides high, which allows for a better view of the road while also giving it an imposing look. This is a sharp-looking SUV that seems to be asking for a challenge—just looking at it, you know how well it would perform in difficult driving conditions.

While the EcoSport takes a more rugged approach to its design, the Honda HR-V goes with a more coupe-like look. With its sleek roofline, you can tell right away that this is not a car for the weekend warrior, this is an SUV built exclusively for in-town or city driving. Its urban looks are its charm, and the hidden rear door handle is a fun touch. The handle hides behind the rear window so that you can hardly see it unless you’re trying to open the door.

A blue 2020 Honda HR-V is driving around a treelined corner.

Performance

If you’re looking for a fun subcompact SUV to drive then, the EcoSport should be at the top of your list. Consider that the EcoSport’s performance is being compared to the Mazda CX-3. That’s always a good sign that you’re in the right place. And the EcoSport does not disappoint. This is one of the best-handling subcompact SUVs on the market. Take it for a test drive on a winding road, and you’ll see how responsive the steering and suspension are and how fun the EcoSport is to drive, regardless of where you’re going. And with all-wheel drive available on all trim levels, it is also capable of hitting the dirt roads and guiding you competently through snow.

While the HR-V is not necessarily known for its performance, it offers easy maneuverability and good handling. With tight, well-weighted steering and stiff suspension, the HR-V provides a comfortable ride. This is a great vehicle for taking out on the town and cruising on the highway. And with its tight turning radius and subcompact dimensions, you can count on finding a parking space even on the busiest of days. All-wheel drive is also offered for the Honda HR-V in all trim levels, which is nice to have the option if you live somewhere it snows or need to occasionally drive on a dusty trail. It’s a car-based SUV, though, so this is not an SUV that advertises its off-road capabilities. ‘

Features

For the EcoSport, you’ll find even the lowest trim level has many standard features. The S model comes with a 1.0-liter turbocharged (EcoBoost) inline-3 engine, as do all of the trim levels, with the exception of the SES model, which comes with a 2.0-liter inline-4 (AWD) that is also an option for any trim level. Other standard features include power windows, air conditioning, AM/FM/MP3 Sync audio with six speakers, FordPass Connect, and a rearview camera.

There are many cool options to choose from as well. How about a power moonroof for the SE trim? It’s always fun to see a moonroof included in one the lower trim levels. But don’t forget about Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. This is now included with the SE trim too. Automatic climate control, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat and the Reverse Sensing System, navigation, blind-spot warning, and a sport-tuned suspension? All good stuff.

The front black leather interior of a 2020 Ford Ecosport is shown with an infotainment system.

New for the 2020 year, you’ll also find included in the base S model a Wi-Fi hotspot and the ability to remotely start/unlock/lock and locate your vehicle via a smartphone.

The Honda HR-V does not lack options as well. With the base S model, you get the clever “Magic Seat” in the back, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, Honda’s Bluetooth Hands-Free Link system, and a 5-inch infotainment display. The Sport trim adds a 7-inch infotainment display and a faster steering ratio. The EX trim brings heated front seats, a power moonroof, satellite radio, a 6-speaker, 180-watt stereo system, and automatic climate control.

There are so many options for both vehicles, but another one to point out is the HR-V’s sensing technology. This is standard on the mid-range trim level (EX) and above. There are five total trim levels to choose from. Here you’ll find driver assists, such as collision and road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance. You’ll also find Honda’s Lane Watch, which uses a passenger-side camera to show if vehicles are in the driver’s blind spot when the right turn signal is in use.

More Good Stuff

So it’s true, these are both great options for a subcompact crossover SUV. It’s clear why the market for these vehicles has become so popular. If you consider that the HR-V has almost as much cargo space as a compact SUV and the EcoSport can tow up to 2,000 lbs, you start to understand just how impressive this segment of SUVs has become. Both start at around the same price, at just under $21,000 for the HR-V and a little under $20,000 for the EcoSport, so you’re really getting a lot for your money. At this low of a starting price, you can get a brand-new, fully loaded SUV for less than $30,000!

And we haven’t even talked about gas mileage. Consider all of the money you will save when you trade in your 10-year-old compact SUV for a brand-new SUV. Both of these SUVs hover around 30 MPG (HR-V 28/34 mpg; EcoSport 27/29 MPG), so get out there and take a look at what you’ve been missing out on this past decade. You won’t be disappointed.

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