2020 Ford EcoSport vs. the competition: Your other local subcompact SUV options

When you’re shopping for an attractive subcompact crossover, your list will likely include the 2020 Ford EcoSport. With its stylish silhouette and smartly designed character lines, it’s a natural choice for those looking for a pretty urban ride. Expectedly, the EcoSport is one of Ford PH’s biggest sellers.


The EcoSport saw plenty of improvements in 2018, its last major update. One of the biggest changes that year was the introduction of the 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost inline-three, along with the unveiling of the new front fascia. The signature hexagonal grille remains, but Ford enlarged it to the point that it erases the slim grille opening above it, so the double grille of old now takes on a streamlined look.


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Cabin-wise, Ford appears to have taken great effort to make the EcoSport interior tasteful and ergonomic, without drawing too much attention. It has all of the things you need within reach, with plenty of head and leg room to go with its bevy of storage options. In fact, its interior—boasting a 2490mm wheelbase and 4228mm x 1980mm x 1679mm in dimensions—is one of the more spacious choices in its segment.


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The 2020 Ford EcoSport has a price range of PHP920,000 to 1.19 million. If you think this subcompact crossover offering from the Blue Oval is not for you, you’ll be glad to know belongs to one of the most robust segments in the country. Here are your other alternatives:


The bestselling car in the subcompact SUV in its class is probably not one that you would expect. Equally stylish and similarly priced, the Geely Coolray relies on a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gas engine to deliver its power to the front wheels, topping at 175hp and 255Nm. Paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the car comes in three different trims: Sport Turbo, Premium Turbo, and Comfort Turbo. Exterior-wise, the all-new Coolray has got projector-type headlamps, a Piano Black roof with panoramic sunroof, carbon-fiber front spoiler, and rear diffuser.


Inside, black color motif permeates the cabin, highlighted with silver and maroon (top trim only) accents that convey the crossover's sporty nature effectively. Meanwhile, a hexagonal-centric theme dresses up the dash and side panels, giving the entire cabin a sophisticated and inspired look. Leather seats, paddle shifters, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system multimedia touchscreen with QD link Android connectivity function enhance the Coolray's comfort and convenience utilities.


Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) brought a new vehicle to our local compact SUV market with the introduction of the Toyota Rush in May 2018. Equipped with a fuel-efficient 1.5-liter VVT-I engine and a choice between a 4-Speed automatic (gate type) and 5-speed manual transmission, the Rush is “Intended for those who balance work and play extraordinarily well, this new vehicle is built to make waves in the entry-level SUV segment,” according to its manufacturer.


The second generation Rush is sportier and sharper-looking than its predecessor, starting with the more dynamic front fascia characterized by the hourglass figure radiated by the upper and lower grille. If not downright pretty, it sure makes for an interesting façade. Other noteworthy exterior features include LED headlamps with line guide, roof rail, rear spoiler, and a fin-type antenna.


Though the Rush cabin isn’t really made for gawking, the overall interior feel is modern without going overboard. Space is good, but the third row on the G-Variant might be cramped for full-sized adults—not that the rest of the options here fare any better. That said, the E variant doesn't have a third row—an important shopping consideration if you’re looking for more space for cargo.


The Suzuki Vitara is one of the first compact SUVs to come out in the country—it’s been around since the 1990s, so it’s got some pedigree to back it up. The latest model, which launched in November of last year, is a completely-built-up unit from Magyar Suzuki Corporation in Hungary . Propelled by a 1.6-liter engine that delivers 115hp and 156Nm of torque, the car is available in two variants, both with 6-speed automatic transmission.


A unibody construction helps maximize interior space, especially when compared to the preceding model. A two-tone paint finish further gives the model an elevated European feel. Buyers also get to enjoy a panoramic sunroof, with reportedly the biggest opening area in its class.


The small SUV's practical exterior extends to its interiors, offering simple and straightforward features that aren't distracting and confusing to use.  Both GL Plus and GLX variants come with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports an AM/FM radio as well as USB, Aux, Bluetooth, and Android connectivity. Meanwhile, the higher GLX grade boasts of a more luxurious touch and a darker theme to the design, with the leather seats matched with suede highlights for added elegance.


The combustion engine-equipped Kona (completely different from the EV version) runs on a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine good for 147hp and 179Nm. This ICE is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends power and torque solely to the front wheels.


Inside, an intuitive 7-inch instrument cluster display makes critical trip information visible at a glance, but there’s also the 8-inch head-up display to keep trip details within line of sight. For infotainment, the Kona relies on a floating-type touchscreen with built-in navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functions, and even voice commands. All these make the Kona dash a busy place, but the overall look is cohesive nonetheless.


As for standard safety, the Kona covers all bases starting with six airbags, and anti-lock braking system (ABS), and on to the SuperStructure high-strength steel vehicle chassis and tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). In addition, the Kona boasts a slew of advanced driver assistance technologies, courtesy of the Hyundai SmartSense safety suite.


Meant as a replacement to the quirky Kia Soul, the Kia Seltos is built on the same platform as the Kona from sister company Hyundai. Both share the same engine producing the same power (147hp, 179Nm) but the Seltos entrusts its gear changes to an infinitely variable transmission (IVT) system. Meanwhile, a Drive Mode Select feature allows the driver to choose between five different driving modes (Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom) to control different functions including throttle, steering response, and transmission RPM shift points, among others.


Inside, driver controls take on an ergonomic and intuitive design, beginning with a head-up display that provides vital trip information while ensuring the driver’s eyes are on the road at all times. The roomy interior is made more welcome with comfortable seats and tasteful appointments such as automatic climate control (SX only), Push Start convenience (SX only), Smart Entry, and a 6-speaker, 8-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility.


Safety-wise, the 2020 Seltos comes equipped with a suite of standard safety features that you would expect to find exclusively in premium luxury vehicles, which would explain its higher price point. For Kia buyers on a budget, you may want to look into the recently introduced Kia Stonic, which is a few hundred thousand pesos more affordable.


The Honda HR-V is a bit pricier than the EcoSport, and although Honda has other subcompact crossover offerings, it’s the biggest seller in the bunch, that’s why it’s the one we chose to include here.


Under the Honda HR-V hood lies a 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC engine that outputs 140hp and 172Nm of torque. The HR-V’s engine comes standard with an Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which ensures smooth shifts while helping with fuel efficiency.


The updated HR-V has a redesigned exterior accentuated by the Solid Wing Face design that dresses up the grille and front bumper.


The HR-V also has plenty of storage spaces to go around, with four bottle holders and three cup holders—more than enough for any day’s worth of travel for vehicle’s full capacity of five people, including driver. Meanwhile, the spacious boot space also allows you to carry more luggage, so this car makes a great choice for small Filipino families who frequently go on road trips.


In addition to the leather-wrapped interiors that exude a plush sporty design, the HR-V also offers power-adjustable rearview mirrors with integrated turn indicators, power windows, powered central locking, and a nifty multi-view Reverse Camera with Guidelines.


The latest locally available Mazda CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G gas engine that dishes out 150hp and 195Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed automatic gearbox with Sport Mode that sends power to the front wheels alone.


The layout of the Mazda CX-3 makes every effort to ensure everything is within the driver’s easy reach. The addition of a new armrest further provides enhanced driving comfort. Meanwhile, the standard SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics with G-Vectoring Control delivers a more relaxed and balanced driving feel by adjusting power delivery and shifting vehicle weight on initial turn-in and throughout the corner. Passenger confidence and convenience at the rear is enhanced by a stowable padded rear center armrest with cupholders.


Other standard interior features include leather steering wheel, fabric-upholstered seats, push start/stop engine, and a 7-inch infotainment screen that runs on MZD Connect. Although Bluetooth connectivity is available, sadly, the system isn’t compatible with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto apps.


When it comes to style and flair, few crossovers can measure up to the Mitsubishi Xpander. From its futuristic Dynamic Shield front fascia to its sophisticated and well-placed character lines, the all-new Xpander can certainly give the EcoSport's aesthetics a run for the money. The LED position lights and combination tail lamps are easy on the eyes, and the 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels make a great introduction to the sleek and tasteful exterior.


With four variants available, including the top-ranging Cross variant, all Xpanders are equipped with a 1.5-liter inline-four 16-valve DOHC MIVEC engine that delivers 105hp and 141Nm of torque. A modern dashboard welcomes the Xpander’s occupants, placing great emphasis on ergonomics for everyone—the driver most especially. The high user-friendliness is matched by the use of high-quality plastic and fabric materials that help the Xpander cabin look particularly upmarket for the price point.


Photos from Ford, Toyota, Geely, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi

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