Ford EcoSport In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

Good things, they say, come in small packages. The Ford EcoSport is a subcompact SUV that packs many goodies despite its small size. It has decent storage capacity, useful towing ability, and a spacious interior. In this piece, we look at EcoSport’s drivability in winter.

Here is the short answer about whether the Ford EcoSport is good for snow and winter driving:

The EcoSport has available Four-Wheel-Drive, which improves its winter driving capabilities. It also sports an Antilock Brake System, Electronic Brake System, Brake Assist, and other driver assistance technologies. These features and a heated steering wheel make the EcoSport ideal for winter. 

Is a Ford EcoSport Good in the Snow?

The Ford EcoSport may be small, but it’s capable on snow. At the very least, you can travel on light snow without your vehicle getting stuck.

Ford EcoSport models have standard Front-Wheel-Drive (FWD), which isn’t so good for snow driving. But upgrading to Intelligent 4WD will significantly increase your EcoSport’s handling in snow.

The Ford EcoSport also sports many features designed to provide greater traction in snowy conditions. For example, Traction Control will ensure your wheels maintain enough traction even in snow.

Still, the Ford EcoSport has some limitations when driving on snowy terrain. Ground clearance is a little over seven inches, which makes the Ford EcoSport bad at wading through deep snow. In fact, we’ll advise you to avoid buying an EcoSport if your area gets extreme snowfall.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

Despite its diminutive size, the Ford EcoSport drives safely and confidently in winter road conditions. This is mostly because of the various features it comes with. Here are some of them:

Intelligent Four-Wheel-Drive

Although front-wheel-drive is standard on EcoSports, Four-Wheel-Drive is offered as an option. If you plan to drive in winter, we highly advise paying the extra amount for 4WD. There are two reasons for this:

Improved Handling and Traction

Intelligent 4WD can use input from various sensors to boost handling and traction in less-than-optimal road conditions such as snow/ice. It works by analyzing vehicle data, including rate of acceleration, steering angle, wheel speed and accelerator pedal position.

Continuous monitoring of vehicle behavior while driving means intelligent AWD can quickly detect loss of traction. In such situations, I-4WD will send power to the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from losing control.

Under normal circumstances, however, the I-4WD sends more power to the front wheels. This helps lower fuel consumption, so you don’t have to trade off safer driving for increased fuel costs.

The intelligent 4WD works to minimize traction loss and provide better handling. This means you can drive safely in winter, which is famed for its low-traction surfaces.

Antilock Brake System

The Antilock Brake System stops your car’s wheels from seizing under hard braking. Wheel seizure resulting from braking is a common problem drivers face, particularly on water-filled surfaces.

The ABS counteracts wheel seizure by balancing brake pressure on each individual wheel. This stops any wheel from seizing because of disproportionate brake pressure.

A similar feature on the EcoSport SUV is Electronic Brake-force Distribution. EBD averts wheel seizure by sharing brake pressure between the front and the rear wheels.

Thus, no set of wheels receive too much brake pressure and seizes.

Electronic Stability Control

The Electronic Stability Control feature works to maintain vehicle stability on roads, a tricky thing to do in winter. Winter is infamous for giving us slick roads where it’s super-easy for vehicles to become unstable and lose control.

The ESC system constantly monitors vehicle operation to detect loss of stability in advance. It measures the following during driving to determine if the car is stable or not:

  • Wheelspin
  • Yaw rate (the car’s angle and direction)
  • Angle of steering

Using these pieces of data, the ESC can accurately predict when your SUV is about to lose stability (skidding, over-steer, under-steer, etc.). Then, the ESC will reduce engine power and apply the brakes to prevent your SUV from veering off the road.

Traction Control System

The EcoSport has Ford’s Traction Control System that improves road grip in slippery conditions. This feature is important in winter, where water on roads makes it hard for wheels to find proper traction.

The TCS analyzes real-time driving data to detect excessive wheelspin, which signals impending traction loss.

If a wheel loses traction, TCS will moderate engine speed to allow the wheels to make sufficient contact with the pavement. This restores traction in the affected wheels and enhances your vehicle’s stability.

Brake Assist

Due to the low traction, braking distances are often longer in winter road conditions. This significantly limits your ability to stop quickly and avert a potential crash or collision.

With the Brake Assist system on the EcoSport SUV, you can brake faster on either ice or snow. This way, you have lesser likelihood of being involved in a crash or collision when driving in winter.

Heated Steering Wheel and Front Seats

The excess cold can make driving in freezing winter temperatures very uncomfortable.  Fortunately, the EcoSport SUV has features to make your winter driving experience comfortable.

A heated steering wheel warms your fingers so they don’t freeze from the cold. Similarly, heated front seats allow you to stay warm.

Please also check our article on how long Ford EcoSports last.

Does an EcoSport Have Snow Mode?

The Snow Mode feature is absent on Ford EcoSports. Nonetheless, you still have intelligent 4WD that significantly helps with maximizing stability on snowy roads. 

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Ford EcoSport?

You can install aftermarket snow gear on your Ford EcoSport if you think they can improve handling capabilities in wintry conditions. Some snow gear/equipment you can fit your EcoSport with include:

  • Snow socks
  • Snow chains
  • Snow tires

Make sure you check your vehicle’s dimensions and choose snow equipment that fits around those dimensions.

For instance, know your tire’s size and choose snow chains and snow socks that fit. Similarly, measure your wheels to know what size of snow tires is suitable for them.

How Much Snow Can an EcoSport Handle?

The EcoSport has a little over seven inches of ground clearance, so we don’t expect it to handle a large amount of snow. At the very least, your EcoSport should be able to drive in snow 2-5 inches thick.

Now, if you live in an area where snowfall is often heavy, buying a bigger SUV may be a better option.

If you need a bigger SUV, check out our article on Ford Expedition in snow and winter driving.

How Do EcoSport Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

The EcoSport models use fuel injection, meaning they can operate even in cold weather.  This is unlike early carbureted vehicles that had troubles operating when the temperature dipped to subzero levels.

If your EcoSport only starts after multiple attempts in winter or cannot start, several things could be responsible. The first suspect is a bad battery–a bad battery cannot power the ignition, so your SUV cannot start.

Sometimes, maybe the battery is in good condition, but has low power. A weak battery will make it difficult to start your car. Depending on the charge level of the battery, the car may refuse to run until after four, five attempts.

Other possible causes of cold start problems on the Ford EcoSport include:

  • Spark plugs failure
  • Faulty fuel filter & fuel lines
  • Blocked air filter

Can a Ford EcoSport Drive on Ice?

While it isn’t the best on snow, the EcoSport shines on icy surfaces. The reduced center of gravity–resulting from low ground clearance–decreases rollover risk on ice.

Thus, an EcoSport is less likely to tumble over while driving on ice compared to a big SUV such as the Explorer.

It also has Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Control helps maintain stability on slippery roads. The intelligent AWD (if your model has it) minimizes traction loss on slick surfaces such as icy roads.

Make sure to also read our article on Ford statistics.

Does the EcoSport Have 4WD?

The EcoSport comes standard with front-wheel-drive (FWD), with intelligent four-wheel-drive (4WD) as an option.

That the 4WD is on doesn’t mean it’s in operation, however. The intelligent 4WD on EcoSport SUVs sends power to the front axle under regular driving. Even so, it will send power to the rear axle if it detects a potential loss of traction.

What About Older EcoSport Models And Winter Driving?

From our research, earlier EcoSport models are as suitable for winter driving as their newer counterparts. For example, first generation models came standard with ABS, Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Control. These are features that improve winter driving.

Do EcoSport Need Snow Tires?

If your EcoSport will see a lot of winter driving, it is wise to invest in a set of snow tires. Snow tires make winter driving safer by providing better traction and greater stability.

Using all-season tires in winter is not ideal because they provide less traction and control, which contribute to crashes and collisions. Yes, no one enjoys spending on extra tires, but remember this is for your own safety.

Can You Mount A Snow Plow On An EcoSport?

The EcoSport is a small subcompact SUV with an even smaller 1.0-liter engine. Based on this, avoid mounting a snow plow on your Ford EcoSport, if you want to preserve your vehicle’s life. 

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