Ford’s smallest SUV, the EcoSport, is coming to America. Its styling has been updated a bit from the current version of the car sold in South America, Asia, and Europe, but it will still look like a smaller version of the Ford C-Max. The diesel engine offered in Europe probably won’t make it to America but the US will most likely get at least two of the three engines available on the Continent — a 1.6 liter 120 horsepower four cylinder, a 1.0 liter three cylinder EcoBoost turbo making 123 horsepower, or a 2.0 liter four cylinder that has 160 horsepower. This year’s LA auto show kicks off November 18.
The EcoSport is a small crossover SUV built on Ford’s global “B” architecture which is shared with the Fiesta. Originally developed as a simple and inexpensive SUV for emerging markets, the EcoSport was first built in Brazil. Since then, production has expanded to China, Russia, India, Vietnam, and Thailand. Ford sold more than a quarter million EcoSport cute utes worldwide in 2015. The EcoSport is said to have a towing capacity of more than 1,500 pounds in European trim, so it should be suitable for hauling small camping trailers and boats on vacation.
In size, the EcoSport will compete with the likes of the Buick Encore, Honda HR-V, Chevy Trax, and Nissan Juke. Americans are buying a lot of those compact SUVs, which are easier to maneuver than a full luxobarge like the Chevy Suburban. Sales of smaller SUVs are up dramatically of late and Ford obviously wants a piece of the action.
The EcoSport for the US market will likely be built at Ford’s Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly plant in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico. That’s where the Ford Fiesta for the US market is manufactured. Another possibility is Ford’s assembly plant in Thailand. The date for the start of sales in the US has not yet been announced. Pricing details are also unknown, although The Motley Fool suggests a base model might sell for around $20,000 with a fully equipped Titanium version costing $26,000 or so. Ford may make more details available during the LA show next week.
Photo credit: Ford Motor Company. 2016 European model shown.