2019 Ford EcoSport vs. 2018 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the EcoSport and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are almost 5 times as many Ford dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the EcoSport’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the EcoSport’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Forester doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford EcoSport uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. engine for maximum performance). The Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The EcoSport has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Forester doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Ford EcoSport as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Subaru Forester is only certified to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV) standards.

Transmission

The Ford EcoSport comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forester.

The EcoSport offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Forester doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The EcoSport stops shorter than the Forester:

 

EcoSport

Forester

 

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The EcoSport’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The EcoSport has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Forester’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The EcoSport Titanium handles at .80 G’s, while the Forester 2.0XT Touring pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Ford EcoSport may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 400 pounds less than the Subaru Forester.

The EcoSport is 1 foot, 7.6 inches shorter than the Forester, making the EcoSport easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Subaru Forester is limited to 1500 pounds. The EcoSport offers up to a 2000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the EcoSport and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the EcoSport is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The EcoSport’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The EcoSport Titanium/SES’ standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

The EcoSport has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Forester has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.

The EcoSport has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Model Availability

The EcoSport is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the EcoSport is less expensive to operate than the Forester because it costs $270 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the EcoSport than the Forester, including $253 less for a water pump, $253 less for a starter, $315 less for fuel injection, $7 less for a fuel pump and $61 less for front struts.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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