For the first time ever, the 2019 Ford EcoSportnow comes with two engine options, which are both available in Trend and Titanium trims. Even better, both engine choices don't come with the dual-clutch transmission, which should be a breather for those concerned.
Now, if you’re wondering what separates the two engine choices, it’s basically the turbo that comes with the award-winning 1.0L EcoBoost engine. But for those who don’t want additional air going through the mill, the EcoSport 1.5 Trend should do the trick and here’s a full review in case it’s on your shortlist.
At P70,000 less, the EcoSport 1.5 Trend doesn’t differ too much from the 1.5 Titanium trim. In fact, they basically look the same, except for the grille that’s chrome with the Titanium but just silver on the Trend. It isn’t a huge trade-off and if you’re like me who’s not a fan of chrome, the Trend would be the better choice. Compared to the range-topping 1.0 EcoBoost variant, however, there’s a bit of a compromise, especially the HID projectors and daytime running lamps.
So, same SUV-esque appeal and same 17-inch wheels – that means the EcoSport also has the same towering 209mm of ground clearance that allows it to clear curbsides and shin-deep floods without any issues.
The differences between the range-topping EcoSport and the 1.5 versions aren’t day and night, but they’re noticeable. Gone are the leather trims, and in with fabric and polyurethane materials. Despite this, the EcoSport Trend doesn’t feel cheap, as opposed to what you’ll expect from a lower variant. I also noticed the intricate details on the polyurethane covering of the dashboard and door cards, which are a great touch, if you ask me.
Other things inherited include the open cabin feeling, several (and deep) cubbyholes and cupholders, the slidable center console that I absolutely adore, tilt-adjustable and telescopic steering wheel, and seat height adjuster. Rear legroom remains limited, as well, just enough for those standing 5’6” and below.
As for the omissions, the Trend doesn’t have a lit vanity mirror for the passenger, as well as the sunroof, overhead console with sunglass holder, and rear center armrest of the range-toppers. Nevertheless, the cargo area has the same volume, backrests up or down.
However, just like the range-topper, the EcoSport Trend’s ride comfort can be improved as you will still be thrown around the cabin during spritely drives on zigzags, while potholes and road imperfections would surely rattle each occupant of the car – that’s the price to pay for getting a car with almost the ground clearance of a midsize SUV. NVH insulation can also be improved.
Going down a trim level has its downsides, of course. The toys of the range-topper like the auto-dimming rearview mirror, push-start ignition, keyless entry, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and Apple Carplay/Android Auto ready touchscreen infotainment are all non-existent in the EcoSport Trend.
However, that doesn’t mean that this version of the subcompact crossover is spartan in terms of features. It still has the basic conveniences like speed-sensing door locks, headlight leveler, power-folding electronically adjustable mirrors, and 9-inch infotainment that could connect with your smartphone neatly. For those who are particular with tech toys in a car, the Trend could still deliver – except for the dismal display in between the analog gauge clusters and the lack of cruise control at this price point.
If you're a car buyer who’s for safety, as everyone should, the EcoSport 1.5 Trend is pretty much identicalto what the range-toppers can offer. It has just one less airbag (side curtain), while everything from the ABS with EBD, hill-start assist, hill descent control, traction control, electronic stability, rear-view camera with sensors, seatbelt reminders, and ISOFIX child seat tethers are all present in this variant. Not a bad deal for a lower trim level. Not bad at all.
Driving & Handling
Without the early kick from the turbo, the EcoSport’s 121-hp engine lacked grunt at low RPMs, which meant that at slow paces and in-city traffic, you would need to press deeper on the accelerator in order to get a satisfying pull. Don’t get me wrong; it does give you that pull, it just comes in at a more controlled pace. At highway speeds, however, the EcoSport 1.5 wasn't lacking.
The 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission was a huge improvement from the dual-clutch before, as shudders weren’t observed at all. Although, there’s a bit of delay when downshifting and upshifting, and the engine seemed to be excited to reach high RPMs more often than preferred. This greatly affected this car’s fuel consumption, which you’ll read about below.
Handling, on the other hand, was the same as the EcoBoost variant – weighted yet reasonably light steering that could still be improved. But as a city slicker, this crossover was a champion of going in and out of tight spaces. Of course, high ground clearance meant body roll galore when turning at speeds.
Sad to say, the EcoSport 1.5 suffered the same fate as the 1.0 EcoBoost in terms of fuel efficiency within heavy city traffic. I got 6.7 km/L in rush-hour plight – pretty disappointing, I must say.
However, faster paces at an average speed of 60 km/h returned 11.3 km/L, while an hour on a flat highway at 90 km/h average registered 17.2 km/L. What the EcoSport lacked in frugality within the confines of the city, it somehow made up for when driving at cruising speeds.
Going down a notch in terms of variant choices isn’t a bad thing, more so in the 2019 Ford EcoSport lineup. At P1,030,000, the 1.5 Trend is already a solid value proposition for a subcompact crossover – if you’re willing to turn a blind eye on its quirks. It’s perfect for those who want to cross the SUV category, but a bit skeptical about vehicle size and the need for seven seats.
Sure, the 1.0 EcoBoost is a tech-laden option, but the 1.5 Trend is still a cut above other choices in its subcompact crossover class.