A design that mimics that of the larger Escape begins up front with styling cues that include Ford's corporate crossover grille, high-riding headlights, and geometric-shaped enclosures below those lights that, in upper trims, house fog lights. It continues along the sides with prominent wheel arches, a prominent lower swage line, and an upper character line that bisects the front and rear door handles. In back, the biggest surprise is a door that's hinged from the left, rather than the top, with the release cleverly concealed in the right rear taillight – making opening and closing easier for those who are vertically challenged.
Park one next to its bigger brother the Escape and the difference becomes apparent: 16.8 inches shorter in overall length with a wheelbase that's six inches shorter, a width that's three inches narrower, and a height that's 1.2 inches lower. It's wrapped around a neatly formatted cabin that, in our SES example, featured door, dashboard, and center console trim that was color-matched to the EcoSport's copper-colored Canyon Ridge metallic paint finish, with the same color woven into the cloth seat fabric.
Both the front and rear seats are supportive and nicely bolstered, the driving position is high with good outward visibility out the front, sides and back. The rear seats split, recline, and fold forward for additional cargo space, with sufficient headroom to allow a pair of six-footers to clear the ceiling.
Rear seat leg room, on the other hand, doesn't match the headroom and rear seat passengers will find legroom at a premium, especially if seat in front is in its rearmost position. Likewise, maximum cargo volume is just 20.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded – low in itself - but also doesn't consider the fact that the rear seatbacks don't fold flat, but rest at an angle on the seat cushions – resulting in an awkward storage space, as well. Case in point: in order to transport a mountain bike without removing the front wheel, we had to push the front passenger seat to its forward-most position and stuff the front wheel in that space in order to close the rear hatch. And speaking of the rear hatch, as it opens from the side, this could present problems if loading or unloading is necessary and the EcoSport is parallel parked without much clearance between the bumper and the bumper of the vehicle behind it.
The biggest issue, however, is with the interior, itself. Awash in a sea of black plastics, it looks and feels cheap – even those surfaces that are padded. What's more, on our tester it even sounded cheap:. Driving with the sunroof open, the sunshade rattled annoyingly every time a bump or road imperfection was encountered. The only way to stop the annoyance was to either close the sunroof, or jam a hand, towel, or rag between the headliner and the sunshade.