Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A silver 2022 Ford EcoSport SE is shown from a high angle on a city street.

The Whole Experience: 2022 Ford EcoSport SE

So you’re looking for a car that is just the right size. Maybe you’ve been looking around, and it feels like everything you find is either too big or too small. Too big might mean too expensive, and it also might make for an overwhelming experience over time; too small means not enough space, no room to grow, and probably frustration over time. So, you need something that fits just right. This is where the 2022 Ford EcoSport SE enters as the ideal happy medium.

As a compact SUV, it has the exterior compactness you desire to make parking, maneuvering, and general living easier, but it provides the interior space you desire to make your life more convenient. But, driving is a multifaceted experience, and while finding the ideal size is great, size is not the solution to every problem. What about the actual driving experience?

The EcoSport SE Driving Experience

To me, there are three components that are the most vital to the driving experience as a whole: performance, design, and technology. Now, one or two of those may jump out at you as more of a personal priority than the other one(s), but stop and think about this for a moment.

Performance may not be your number one; you may think, “I honestly don’t even know the difference between horsepower and horses.” That’s fine. You don’t have to be a rip-roaring road-runner for performance to matter. The EcoSport SE is not the kind of vehicle where horsepower and torque are the most important performance specs because this isn’t meant to be a “performance” vehicle; it is meant to be a vehicle that performs.

Do you understand? Let me explain further. Different cars have different priorities. Right? So, a Mustang obviously prioritizes speed, crazy high-performance specs, and sporty design. An F-150 prioritizes torque, towing capability, and off-roading features.

Chances are that if you’re looking at an EcoSport, you are looking for something more family-oriented, fit for the suburbs, the occasional road trip, and maybe even some hiking here and there. But you’re probably not looking to go to the racetrack or do any intense off-roading. That means that you’ll be paying attention to different performance specs than you would on a Mustang or an F-150 because a compact SUV is a whole different story from either a performance vehicle or a pickup truck.

So what do you pay attention to in a compact SUV like the EcoSport SE? Handling. With the EcoSport SE, it’s not as much about having the highest numbers on the charts. It’s about how the vehicle handles itself on different terrain, making sure that you and your family (or other passengers) have the tools at your disposal to have a safe, smooth, easy, and even pleasant drive no matter what the circumstances may be.

This is where most people’s perspective begins to change; we hear “performance,” and we often think, “that’s not important to me.” We hear “handling, traction, and safety,” and we think “that has to be a top priority.” With that in mind, the 2022 EcoSport SE certainly makes it a top priority!

Two friends are shown driving in a 2022 Ford EcoSport through a city.

Handling the Road (or the Not-Road)

If you’re seriously considering a 2022 EcoSport SE, you’ll be very pleased to know that the vehicle comes standard with Ford’s innovative Intelligent 4WD system. Chances are you’ve heard of 4WD before, but this system redefines the whole process. The word “intelligent” is key to understanding the benefit of this 4WD system because it means that the EcoSport SE is actually monitoring the road for you, identifying how best to distribute torque between its four wheels.

Now, I mentioned before that the EcoSport SE is different from an F-150 in that the F-150 will focus on torque, towing, and off-roading. Do not take this to mean, however, that the EcoSport SE must only stay on the road. Obviously, if you’re looking for a serious rock-climbing, water-trudging, obstacle-crushing off-roader, then you should probably be looking at something bigger than a compact SUV that leans on the small side. However, the EcoSport SE can certainly do its fair share of appropriate off-roading. In fact, that is the big difference between Ford’s Intelligent AWD system and the Intelligent 4WD (the one on your EcoSport SE): the 4WD system is much better equipped to handle off-roading adventures. Why?

Well, in the case of the EcoSport SE, it’s thanks to the Terrain Management System. The name is relatively self-explanatory as the vehicle is able to emphasize certain performance capabilities over others in order to make itself most appropriate for the given terrain. The real kicker, though, is that you get to tell the vehicle how to optimize itself by driver-selectable drive modes. With Normal, Mud/Ruts, Sand, Snow/Gravel/Grass, and Hill Descent Control, the 2022 EcoSport SE is ready to tackle whatever you throw its way. While you may stay in Normal mode from day to day, you should definitely get your EcoSport SE out on the weekends to test out these other drive modes and see just how well it can do in dynamic terrains. Whether you’re on the road or off, the EcoSport SE’s commitment to handling and traction will have you performing at the high level of safety and ease that you desire.

A couple is shown standing near a 2022 Ford EcoSport parked near a hiking area.

Why the SE Trim?

I mentioned before that there are three components that make up the whole of the driving experience: performance, technology, and design. So far, I’ve only talked about performance, which is the argument for the EcoSport in general, but technology and design usher in the argument for the SE trim specifically. The 2022 EcoSport has four trims: S, SE, SES, and Titanium. If you’re trying to keep costs on the lower side, then you can easily let go of the SES and Titanium trims because most of the key differences are not of great significance. Now, obviously, there is always the base level trim in the S, and it certainly provides a nice driving experience, but going just one step up to the SE really opens the door for some nicer features.

With a Power Moonroof, the SE lets the light flood in, whether it’s rays of sunlight at the golden hour or the luminescent glow of stars. Open up that moonroof, and you’ll have the breeze flowing in, providing the perfect environment to connect via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and play your favorite songs over the vehicle’s six-speaker audio system (you can even make it seven if you want!).

The EcoSport SE’s interior pays close attention to detail, with all kinds of small but important features that make your life easier and your driving experience more refined. Things like cargo floor tie-downs, 12-volt power points, USB ports, Ice Blue Interior Lighting, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are not essential items, but they either help with practical day-to-day tasks or provide you with a nice environment in which to drive.

You can even take advantage of certain available features to take your interior experience to the next level. Personally, I suggest looking into ambient lighting; the interior ambiance is directly affected by lighting, and with seven color options (red, blue, purple, orange, aqua, white, and yellow-green), you’ll be able to set the mood for whatever the occasion may be.

In terms of technology, the SE is equipped with an 8-inch LCD touchscreen, programmed with Ford’s SYNC 3 system. This is an ideal size for an infotainment screen as it is large enough to be practical but not too big. The SYNC 3 system will take your connectivity above and beyond, and you’ll be able to connect your personal devices with great ease, giving you access to your favorite apps while on the road. So, if you want to experience the EcoSport’s handling and attraction while enjoying a nicely-refined interior, the SE is the trim to go with on your 2022 EcoSport.

Crafting the Experience

Like I said before, the driving experience is not crafted by one component; it is the collaboration of performance, technology, and design that makes up the whole of the driving experience. Performance is, of course, what literally crafts the driving aspect of the driving experience, and the EcoSport as a whole provides you with excellent handling and traction, meaning safe and easy driving. But, when it comes to crafting the experience part of the driving experience, the SE trim steps in to make the difference. With a detailed design and increased technology, the 2022 EcoSport SE works to ensure that the vehicle’s driving is well-balanced with experience, making sure that you enjoy your time in the car.