New but old. The current-generation Ford EcoSport may be new to the U.S. market, as it arrived on our shores for the 2018 model year, but it’s been available in the emerging markets since 2012. Sure, Ford massaged its looks a little before shipping it to the States, but it still lags in style and class.

Despite its dated looks and materials, the 2020 Ford EcoSport competes in a class that focuses more on value, and there's plenty to be had in this subcompact crossover. This is especially true in its higher trim levels.

City-friendly size with room where you need it. The EcoSport has one thing in mind: tight spaces. This subcompact crossover measures just 161.3 inches long and 71.9 inches wide, giving it a city-friendly footprint. No matter how much traffic you run into, the EcoSport can zip in and out of it with ease.

This tiny footprint does, however, give it odd proportions that include a stubby nose, a high roofline, and tiny rear doors. Also, despite being just three model years old, the EcoSport’s design is surprisingly dated.

Inside, this tiny crossover surprises with 37.5 inches of rear head room and 36.7 inches of rear leg room. Sure, this is nothing compared to larger models, but it's well above average for the subcompact crossover class. For reference the Hyundai Kona has just 34.6 inches of rear leg room, the Jeep Renegade has 35.1 inches, and the Mazda CX-3 has 35.

If you want a more family-friendly crossover, you’ll have to move to the Honda HR-V, which offers a whopping 39.3 inches of leg room and 38.3 inches of rear head room.

Ford Ecosport

Hefty curb weight kills performance. Under its hood, the Ford EcoSport comes standard with a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that delivers 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. Optionally, buyers can move into a more satisfying sounding – at least on paper – 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 166 hp and 149 lb-ft of torque.

The 2.0-liter engine rings in slightly above average for its class, with the HR-V topping out at 141 hp, the Kona starting at 147 hp, and the CX-3 topping out at 148 hp. The only competitor that significantly outmuscles the EcoSport is the Renegade with 177 to 180 hp.

Despite having the on-paper power to deliver decent performance, the EcoSport with the 1.0-liter engine weighs upward of 3,000 pounds. Think more power will help? Think again. The 2.0-liter engine adds an extra 300 pounds of heft, essentially offsetting its power gains.

Great optional audio, but a chintzy interior. Outside of luxury brands, subcompact crossovers aren’t known for great features, but the Ford EcoSport bucks this trend with its optional audio system. This crisp-sounding nine-speaker Bang and Olufsen system boasts a subwoofer and plenty of range at all volume levels.

Also, the optional SYNC 3 infotainment system leaves nothing to be desired with its clear 8-inch touchscreen, easy-to-use interface, and quick response times. This system also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make your life a little easier.

Despite its sharp audio and infotainment system, the Ford EcoSport’s interior has a hard time hiding its cheap roots. It has plenty of class-killing plastic strewn throughout, even on critical touchpoints. Moving into higher trims offers some relief in this area, but there's still plenty of cheapness.

Final thoughts. The 2020 Ford EcoSport may not have the style of some of its competitors, but it makes up for it with an above-average rear-seat room without a huge compromise in cargo room.

Also, its optional Bang and Olufsen audio system and 8-inch SYNC 3 infotainment system give you the crystal-clear audio and in-car tech younger buyers crave without stepping into a premium brand.

Buyers who need more interior room will find out that’s a hard task in this class, but the HR-V is an excellent option with 39.3 inches of rear leg room and up to 58.8 cubic feet of cargo room.

Seeking a more upscale look without a premium price? The CX-3 offers a stunning cabin and a sharp exterior design. Those looking for a crossover that can handle off-roading can look to the Renegade and its surprisingly capable Trailhawk trim.

Check prices for the 2020 Ford EcoSport »