Discover Worst Ford EcoSport Problems and Reliability Issues Years to Avoid

Patrick Oziegbe
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Are you in the market for a used car? If you’re considering the Ford EcoSport, you need to know which model years to avoid like the plague.

While the EcoSport is a stylish subcompact crossover SUV with a flexible interior and impressive fuel economy, not all model years are created equal.

In fact, if you’re looking for a reliable ride that won’t give you headaches, you’ll want to steer clear of the 2014 and 2018 EcoSport models.

These years have been plagued with issues like faulty audio systems, shuddering when coming to a stop, and overall poor reliability.

But don’t worry, armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the used car market and find the perfect Ford EcoSport that won’t let you down.

Ford EcoSport History

Ford EcoSport Problems
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Introduced in 2003, the Ford EcoSport is a popular subcompact SUV that stands out in the increasingly saturated SUV market.

Since its debut, the EcoSport has evolved through several generations, and today, numerous Ford EcoSport models are available for you to choose from.

Initially designed for the Brazilian market, Ford expanded the EcoSport’s presence to other regions, including the European market in 2013.

In 2018, the subcompact SUV made its way to the American market, offering an attractive option for buyers looking for a smaller, efficient, yet versatile SUV.

Throughout its history, Ford has incorporated various updates and improvements for the EcoSport.

However, not all model years are created equal as you’ll be fine to steer clear of the 2014 and 2018 Ford EcoSport models.

These years have reported the most complaints, with issues such as an unreliable audio system and the vehicle shuddering when coming to a stop.

On the other hand, the 2017, 2012, 2020, and 2013 Ford EcoSport models have proven to be more reliable. These years offer a better driving experience and fewer critical component issues compared to the worst years.

The Model Years to Avoid

Common Problems

Which are the model years with frequent issues? The 2014 and 2018 EcoSport models are known for their common problems, and you are better off avoiding them.

The 2014 model year had the most complaints, starting with an unreliable audio system that could lead to inconvenience.

More concerning, this model displayed a tendency to shudder when coming to a stop, which is quite alarming, especially for a vehicle with as low as 5,000 miles.

The 2018 model also faced several issues, such as:

  • Engine problems
  • Transmission issues
  • Poor-quality interior materials

Major Issues

Besides the common problems mentioned above, the 2014 and 2018 models were plagued by more severe issues that impact the Ford EcoSport’s reliability and performance.

In the 2014 model, the following major issues were reported:

  • Failed transmission control module
  • Engine stalls or cuts out while driving
  • Transmission shudders violently at low speeds

Similarly, the 2018 Ford EcoSport experienced significant problems, including:

  • Unresponsive touchscreen infotainment system
  • Premature brake wear
  • Engine overheating

When shopping for a used Ford EcoSport, it’s essential to prioritize reliability and performance.

By avoiding the 2014 and 2018 models, you can steer clear of common and major issues that plagued these vehicles. Instead, consider more reliable EcoSport models like those from 2017, 2020, or 2021 to ensure a better overall experience.

Transmission and Engine Issues

There are certain year models that you should be aware of due to transmission and engine issues.

Some of the main concerns include automatic transmission, EcoBoost, engine failure, low oil pressure, and engine problems.

In some 2014 and 2018 Ford EcoSport models, you may encounter an issue with the car shuddering when you come to a stop.

This is primarily linked to the automatic transmission and may impact your driving experience.

  • 2014: Unreliable audio system, car shuddering
  • 2018: Car shuddering

Moving on to the engine, there have been reports about the 2018 and 2019 EcoSport models experiencing issues with the oil pump belt tensioner. This can lead to engine failure and low oil pressure.

Unfortunately, the only solution to this problem is replacing the entire engine, which can be both expensive and time-consuming.

Interior and Audio Problems

Some year models – particularly, the 2014 and 2018 models – have been known to suffer from various interior and audio-related issues.

As a potential buyer, you should be aware of the common complaints, so you can make an informed decision and avoid any potential headaches down the road.

Lack of comfort in the rear seats

One issue you may encounter is the lack of comfort in the rear seats. The second-row seats could be particularly uncomfortable for taller passengers due to limited legroom and headroom.

Additionally, the seating position might be too upright, causing discomfort during long drives. While these concerns may not be deal-breakers, they are worth considering if regular rear seat usage is important to you.

Unreliability of the audio system

Another common complaint mentioned by owners is the unreliability of the audio system.

The sound system in the 2014 Ford EcoSport models has been reported to have problems such as inconsistent volume levels, sudden loss of audio, and audio skipping during playback.

If you appreciate good audio quality and a hassle-free listening experience, it’s worth keeping these potential issues in mind.

As you continue your search for the ideal used Ford EcoSport, remember to carefully assess the condition of the interior and audio system during a test drive. By doing this, you can better understand if the vehicle meets your needs and expectations before making a purchase.

Pay special attention to the sound system’s performance and the comfort of the rear seats, as these are areas where some EcoSport models have had issues in the past.

Best Model Years to Buy, Used

Good news is that there are a few model years that stand out as the best options. These years have proven to be reliable and come with minimal complaints.

Let’s take a closer look at each one, so you can make an informed decision on your used Ford EcoSport purchase.

  • 2012 Ford EcoSport: This 2012 model is highly regarded for its offering of excellent design, new technology, and a focus on safety. With its 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, you’ll be getting both efficiency and power, making it a great choice for your next vehicle.
  • 2016 Ford EcoSport: Another solid option is the 2016 EcoSport. This model year has received no complaints, making it a safe and dependable option when buying used.
  • 2017 Ford EcoSport: The 2017 model is also highly recommended due to its reliability and performance. Like the 2016, it has no consumer complaints, so you can feel confident in your purchase.
  • 2020 Ford EcoSport: For a more recent option, consider the 2020 EcoSport. This model year has proven to be reliable and well-performing, with no known issues. Plus, its up-to-date technology and features are an added bonus.

Comparing Ford EcoSport Models

In this section, we’ll discuss the different trim levels and alternative Ford SUVs available in the market.

Trim Levels

Ford offers the EcoSport in four main trim levels: S, SE, Titanium, and SES. Each of these trims comes with its own set of features and options:

  • S: The base S trim provides essential features such as a rearview camera, Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and more. This trim level is ideal if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option.
  • SE: The SE trim offers additional features such as a power sunroof, heated front seats, and a larger touchscreen infotainment system. This could be an excellent choice if you want some added comfort and convenience.
  • Titanium: The upscale Titanium trim focuses on luxury, including leather seats, a premium sound system, and advanced safety features. It may be a good fit for those who prioritize style and elegance in their ride.
  • SES: The sporty SES trim comes with a more powerful engine, sports-tuned suspension, and unique styling elements. If you’re looking for a more performance-oriented EcoSport, this could be your pick.

Alternative Ford SUVs

If you’re willing to explore other options within the Ford lineup, there are several alternative SUVs that may cater to your needs:

  • Ford Puma: A subcompact SUV that’s similar in size to the EcoSport but comes with a more advanced infotainment system and larger cargo space.
  • Ford Edge: This midsize SUV offers more room and improved engine options compared to the EcoSport, making the Ford Edge suitable for families or those who need more power.

When choosing a used Ford EcoSport or any other Ford SUV, it’s crucial to consider factors like fuel economy, size, and features.

Keep in mind that models from 2014 and 2018 had the most complaints, so it’s wise to look for alternatives in other years when buying your used EcoSport. Happy car hunting!

Close Rivals and Competition

Nissan Kicks

The Nissan Kicks is a popular competitor in the subcompact SUV area. Its performance and fuel efficiency make it an attractive option for buyers.

With its lower starting price compared to the EcoSport, you might find the Kicks appealing if you’re on a tight budget.

Additionally, the Kicks offers a smooth and comfortable ride, which is something to consider if you often drive long distances. Here are Kicks SUVs to avoid.

Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3 is another strong competitor to the Ford EcoSport. Known for its sporty driving experience and attractive exterior design, the CX-3 can be an enticing choice for those who prioritize style and on-road performance.

The Mazda CX-3’s interior is often praised for its quality, making it a great option if you value comfort and well-built cabin. However some Mazda CX-3 models have problems to avoid.

Kia Niro

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly alternative, the Kia Niro should be on your radar, though some Niro versions are not dependable.

This hybrid subcompact SUV offers excellent fuel economy and comes equipped with various desirable features, giving it an edge over the EcoSport for some buyers.

Keep in mind that the Niro’s starting price is higher than the EcoSport, but you may find the cost difference justifiable given the benefits it provides.

Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V has established itself as a reliable and practical choice in the subcompact SUV market. It boasts a spacious interior, impressive cargo space, and a reputation for reliability.

Its better fuel efficiency compared to the EcoSport makes it a popular choice for cost-conscious buyers. The Honda HR-V could be an excellent pick if you seek versatility and dependability in your vehicle, but be avoiding Honda HR-V versions with issues will save of headaches.

Toyota C-HR

Lastly, the Toyota C-HR brings a unique, eye-catching design as well as a reputation for dependability to the table.

While C-HR performance may not be class-leading, its combination of reliability, style, and comfort can make it an attractive alternative to the EcoSport. It’s worth checking out the C-HR if you value Toyota’s reputation for quality and durability.

Test Drive and Purchase Considerations

When looking to buy a used Ford EcoSport, it’s essential to consider a few factors during your test drive and purchase process to ensure you’re getting the best vehicle for your needs.

First and foremost, avoid purchasing a used EcoSport from 2014 and 2018 as these are known to have the most complaints, including issues with the audio system and car shuddering when coming to a stop.

During your test drive, pay attention to the engine power and average mpg of the vehicle. The base S model comes with a non-turbo four-cylinder engine that provides adequate performance for daily driving.

Compare the EcoSport’s cubic feet of cargo space with competitors like the Citroen C3 Aircross and newer models like the 2021 Ford Escape or 2020 Ford Edge to see if it meets your storage needs.

When searching for a used EcoSport, explore different locations and dealerships to get a broader view of the used car market.

Don’t be afraid to travel a bit further to find a low-mileage vehicle in excellent condition.

You might also want to consider similar vehicles like a used Ford Escape, which offers more space and better fuel efficiency.

Before finalizing your purchase, ensure the car has a clean history and hasn’t had any issues prior to the sale.

Have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle for any potential problems or maintenance concerns that could arise in the future.

By keeping these factors in mind during your test drive and purchase process, you’ll be better equipped to find the perfect Ford EcoSport that suits your needs and offers a reliable and enjoyable driving experience.

Additional Information and Resources

It’s important to know the average mileage and build quality when considering a used EcoSport.

For a more comprehensive view, check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for any government fees or applicable manufacturer incentives tied to the EcoSport. The NHTSA also offers data on the EcoSport’s safety ratings and any recalls.

Furthermore, consider the total cost of ownership, which includes auto insurance and applicable tax. Keep in mind that manufacturer incentive data might not be up-to-date, and the absolute accuracy of information can vary depending on the time of your request.


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