Should You Take the 2021 Ford EcoSport Off Road?

The 2021 Ford EcoSport might be able to handle a pothole here or there, but it’s not well suited for the trail.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
The 2021
Ford EcoSport
fails to live up to its sporty name. Across the board, its ground clearance, torque, and drivetrain are unsuitable for off-road purposes.
When a truck or SUV can leave the highway and take to the trail, a whole world of possibilities opens up for the adventurous driver. That being said, it’s vital that your rugged-looking SUV can actually walk the walk when it comes to off-roading. 
But how can you be sure that your truck or SUV is trail-ready? 
icon
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now
Read on—
Jerry
, the
licensed insurance broker
and No. 1-rated car insurance
super app
, is here to break down the 2021 Ford EcoSport’s off-road rating. Learn about its key specs—from ground clearance and torque to drivetrain and tires—as well as some viable alternatives if the EcoSport doesn’t meet your off-roading needs. 

Can the 2021 Ford EcoSport go off road?

Technically, yes—but we wouldn’t recommend it. Despite its sporty design, the 2021 Ford EcoSport is unsuitable for anything more intense than a pothole-riddled city street or gravel road. 
But for an MSRP of only $20,395, we aren’t surprised that the Ford EcoSport isn’t better equipped to tackle off-road terrain. 
That cool 20 grand does, however, include a 123-horsepower, 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine as a standard feature—with the option to upgrade to a more powerful 160-horsepower I-4 engine. 
So, what exactly makes the EcoSport unfit for off-roading? Let’s take a closer look at some of the SUV’s key specs. 

Ground clearance

Perhaps one of the most important numbers to check out before taking to the trails is your vehicle’s ground clearance. When it comes to the 2021 Ford EcoSport, the SUV boasts a ground clearance of 7.8 inches—making it less than ideal for off-roading. 
As a general rule, you should only go off road in a vehicle with a ground clearance measurement between 8.8 and 10.8 inches. The EcoSport’s clearance is an inch shorter than the low end of that range, increasing the potential of damaging your car’s undercarriage should you go off road. 

Torque

The ideal off-road vehicle is going to be a powerful one, both in terms of horsepower and torque. However, when it comes to the latter, low-end torque is preferable. 
Low-end torque refers to high amounts of torque (pound-feet output) at a lower overall rpm. This is necessary while off-roading because power is always going to supersede speed. 
The 2021 Ford EcoSport’s standard 1.0L engine offers a maximum torque of 125 lb-ft @ 6,000 RPM, while the larger 2.0L engine creates 149 lb-ft @ 6,000 RPM. Regardless of the engine choice, the result is the same. The 2021 Ford EcoSport offers a low power output at a relatively high rpm—the opposite of good low-end torque. 

Tires

As a standard feature, the 2021 Ford EcoSport comes with a set of P205/60HR16 tires. If that means absolutely nothing to you, here’s a quick breakdown. 
The EcoSport’s tires are approximately 205 millimeters wide with an aspect ratio of 60%. A tire’s aspect ratio is a measurement of the height of its sidewall—the distance from the rim to the tread of the tire. In this case, that would be 60% of the total width, or 123 millimeters
The final piece of the EcoSport’s tire code, HR16, suggests that the tires are designed to be outfitted on a set of 16-inch wheels. While P205/60HR16 tires are all-weather tires, they are not
all-terrain tires
, making them less effective at handling off-road conditions. 

Drivetrain

When it comes to off-roading, having all-wheel drive is a must. The standard drivetrain on a 2021 Ford EcoSport, however, is rear-wheel drive. That being said, when drivers upgrade to the EcoSport’s larger I-4 engine, they can also upgrade to all-wheel drive. 
icon
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now

Angles

Off-roading is all about angles—specifically, the approach angle and departure angle. Here’s what each means: 
  • Approach angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
The 2021 Ford EcoSport really shows its colors as a highway-oriented SUV with respect to its approach and departure angles of 25 and 35 degrees. Sure, that’s enough to handle a bumpy road or a hilly neighborhood, but it’s not going to stack up against serious rocky terrain. 

Off-road rating: In a Pinch

Using our super-technical DIRT classification system,
Jerry
has determined the 2021 Ford EcoSport’s off-road rating. The DIRT system is broken down in the table below: 
Rating
Meaning
Description
D
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
I
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
R
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
T
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
We give the 2021 Ford EcoSport an I rating—In a Pinch. If equipped with the more powerful I-4 engine and all-wheel drive, the EcoSport should be able to tackle very mild off-road conditions.
However, it’s better suited for the highway when it comes to daily use. If you’re looking for an SUV that can do some serious rock-crawling, we’d suggest looking elsewhere. 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2021 Ford EcoSport

If the 2021 Ford EcoSport really isn’t cutting it when it comes to the off-road SUV of your dreams, here are some great alternative models that are more powerful, more eco-friendly, and give you more bang for your buck.
Alternative
Model
Price
Description
Best affordable alternative
$21,960
While the Jeep Renegade Sport is slightly more expensive than the EcoSport, its off-road capabilities far exceed the Ford SUV for only $1,000 more.
Best eco-friendly alternative
$25,935
The Outlander’s plug-in hybrid powertrain will not only help save you money at the pump, but it’ll also help save the environment!
Best alternative for serious off-roading
$61,110
Standard all-wheel drive and 415 lb-ft of torque are just the beginning of the Bronco’s top-of-the-line off-road specs, but they’ll come at a price!
MORE:Cheap off-road trucks
rating reverse-full
"I’m earning
awesome rewards
every week, just for driving safe!”

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

While off-road vehicles can open up a world of possibilities, they can also open up the possibility of damaging your car in the process. As a result, off-road-capable vehicles tend to be more expensive—not only to purchase but also to insure. 
That being said, you can rest assured that you’re always getting the best deals on car insurance when you shop with
Jerry
—the No. 1-rated insurance comparison
super app
. Jerry partners with 50+ of the nation’s top insurance providers to bring you customized, competitive quotes in just 45 seconds! How’s that for a speedy turnaround? 
Oh, and the best part? Jerry users save an average of $800+ each year on car insurance! That’s enough to outfit your truck or SUV with an all-new lifted suspension or a new set of all-terrain tires to boost its off-roading prowess.
“I thought I was already paying the lowest rate possible for my age group, but
Jerry
found me a better deal for the same coverage with Travelers! Everything went so smoothly that I couldn’t help but make a change right away.” —Athit S. 
RECOMMENDED
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
avatar
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings