The diminutive EcoSport may have outwardly goofy styling and tiny-looking wheels, but its best characteristic is surprisingly nimble handling on the road and around our test track.

The EcoSport drives more like a sporty car than a dull SUV, with even-keel cornering and some welcome feel through the steering wheel.

But the vehicle is ultimately held back by its lackluster 2.0-liter engine. 

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The EcoSport’s modest horsepower delivers feeble acceleration. And the transmission has to work hard to make any meaningful progress, resulting in frequent and uneven shifts. A stiff and jittery ride detracts from the driving experience, as does the buzzy engine and road noise that contribute to an uncomfortable cabin din. The vehicle’s 24 mpg overall is unimpressive for such a small SUV.

With its upright stance, getting in and out of the EcoSport is a snap. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear seats are tight. The controls are easy to use, especially with the optional Sync 3 infotainment system. There is limited cargo space, and the back door swings awkwardly to the side (as opposed to a liftgate that swings up). Drivers need to leave extra space behind to swing that door open.

Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning is optional on higher trims, but neither forward-collision warning nor automatic emergency braking is available.

Read the complete Ford EcoSport road test.

2018 Ford EcoSport in studio

HIGHS: Handling agility, easy controls, access
LOWS: Ride, noise, acceleration, cargo space, price, transmission
POWERTRAIN: 166-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 24 mpg on regular fuel
PRICE AS TESTED: $28,130

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the June 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.