BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — The rest of the world is already familiar with the Ford EcoSport. Now the small crossover is available to U.S. customers for the first time. Incidentally, it's the first car built in India to be sold here. As Ford begins to lean more heavily on its crossovers at a time when it plans to discontinue most of its cars, the EcoSport is the most diminutive in its lineup. It's available with two engine options: a 1.0-liter three-cylinder Ecoboost, and a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter. Front- and all-wheel-drive versions are available, each with a six-speed automatic transmission. Our tester was a 2.0-liter EcoSport SES with all-wheel drive, and it spent a week at the Autoblog office as we got to see how it fared in real-world driving conditions. Despite being new here, the EcoSport looks familiar, almost like a baby Ford Escape. It's a handsome little crossover with a stable appearance, thanks to the wheels pushed far to the corners. From a distance, it looks bigger than it is, and we were a little surprised how easily we could see over its roof as we approached it. In the parking lot, it blends right in with the copious other crossovers (mostly American ones here in Detroit) of various sizes. Ducking inside, it's more obvious that it's small, but we instantly noticed that the interior feels fresh and lively despite a lot of plastic. The swathes of black were broken up here and there by orange accents, like the matte plastic insert on the passenger-side dash. We particularly enjoyed the orange stripe pattern on the seats of our tester (which actually sported a white exterior). Right away, we got to poking around the eight-inch central touchscreen. Sync 3 comes standard on all but the S trim level, and it is great. It's something that a lot of cars just can't nail down. Sync 3 is clear, simple, and responsive, this is a great interface to use. We've sampled this version of Sync in a number of vehicles of late, and each has been a pleasure. We're glad to see it in the EcoSport. We had mixed feelings about the EcoSport's "motorized barstool seating position," as Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale calls it. It feels a little unnatural to sit so upright in a vehicle this small, but maybe it improves our posture. It's also not uncommon in the compact crossover segment, making a small crossover feel taller than it actually is, at least from the driver's seat. The front seat is a far better place to spend time than the second row, though. The legroom there is nearly nonexistent. The rising beltline also means there's not a lot of glass to bring in light, which didn't give us much hope for the cargo area. At the back of the vehicle, we stood for about two minutes, looking and groping at the tailgate in search of a handle with which to open it. Finally, we spotted a small asymmetry, and there was …
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