A Full Review on Ford Escape
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Ford is an American automotive company that is known for its rugged, dependable vehicles. Although it recently shifted its attention away from manufacturing cars for the domestic market, it’s still going strong in the SUV category, where the Ford Escape continues to compete with other big names in its class.
The Ford Escape has a spacious interior and family-friendly features inside the cabin. Its selection of engine choices is worthy of praise. However, it’s competing against other top options in the compact SUV category, like the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.
That presents a dilemma: Should you buy the Escape or opt for one of its competitors? We’ll discuss how this vehicle stacks up in various categories with our Ford Escape review.
The Ford Escape: updates and new features
The last redesign for the Ford Escape happened in 2020, so you won't see any significant changes between 2021 and the year before it. Mostly, it's received cosmetic improvements and slight feature shifts.
Ford expanded the hybrid powertrain to the SEL trim, and it's now also standard in the Titanium trim. They've also added additional driver aids to the Co-Pilot360 Suite.
For the standard model, you'll also find a more adjustable driver's seat, along with a 4.2-inch display screen and Bluetooth options. The 2020 edition gained a redesigned engine. Both 2018 and 2019 models saw a few minor improvements, but nothing significant.
Ford Escape horsepower and fuel economy
Does the Ford Escape have four-wheel drive? The short answer is yes. But, for the 2020 and 2021 models, there are four trim levels to the Ford Escape. Each has its own engine stats and powertrains.
In the S trim, expect to see a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine that gives you 181 horsepower with eight-speed automatic transmission. These stats climb upward until you reach the Titanium trim, where you can choose between a standard hybrid machine or the optional 2-liter, four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission. You can also buy a plug-in hybrid version of the Ford Escape.
In all trim levels, front- or all-wheel drive is available. All-wheel drive is recommended for less-favorable weather conditions, especially if you live in an area that sees lots of snow.
For fuel economy, the standard trim of the Ford Escape will get you up to 28 mpg in cities and 34 mpg on the highway. Before the 2020 redesign, the 2018 and 2019 base trims had a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission.
If you’re looking for a Ford model with more muscular horsepower, be sure to check out this review on the Ford Ranger.
Seating, storage, and infotainment options
Because the Escape is competing with other compact SUVs, Ford has added many new features to keep you and your passengers happy.
In both current and earlier models, the Ford Escape seats five as standard. Cloth seats are also standard, although you can upgrade to faux or genuine leather seats, depending on the trim level you decide to purchase.
Seats in both the front and the back are spacious, with plenty of legroom. For cargo space, you get 33.5 cubic feet with the back seats up. If you fold those seats down, your cargo area jumps to 65.4 cubic feet, which is comparable to current models of the RAV4.
When it comes to tech in the 2021 Ford Escape, expect to see the aforementioned 4.2-inch infotainment display as standard. However, its size grows along with its trim levels, reaching a whopping 12.3-inches by the time you get to the Titanium model. The standard trim for the 2021 model also comes with a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. Available upgrades include sync with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a wifi hotspot and automatic climate control.
Our verdict for this particular category? The Ford Escape offers many features that will make a driver happy, but we wish more of those features were standard.
2017 Ford Escape Titanium (from $19,650)
Ford Escape ratings for safety and handling
Safe, reliable road handling is a top concern for any vehicle. Fortunately, the current Ford Escape performs admirably in this area.
In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Escape a five-star rating, save for the PHEV variant, which had not yet been rated when this article was written. It also won a Top Safety Pick award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, it received a “good” rating from the IIHS for child car seat safety, thanks to its LATCH connector positions.
A previous model of the Ford Escape that has won accolades from both the NHTSA and the IIHS is the 2020 edition, which means you’re safe to search for an earlier Ford Escape at a reduced price.
For standard safety features in the 2021 option, expect to see blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and forward-collision warning. Optional safety features include a heads-up display and automatic high beams, the latter of which makes it easier to drive in the dark.
As for how this compact SUV handles on the road, the Ford Escape is quiet in the cabin and smooth while going over road bumps. Combined with its large windows, superb safety features, and all-wheel drive options, it’s suitable for various situations, ranging from casual weekend adventures to daily commutes.
If weekend adventures are on the agenda, this list of the best cars for camping will give you an idea of how the Ford Escape stacks up to its competitors in that area.
How much is a Ford Escape vs. its competitors?
Now that we've gone through these stats, is the Ford Escape a good car? How does it match its competitors, especially when you compare those features against the Ford Escape cost?
As mentioned earlier, direct competitors of the Ford Escape include the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. Both vehicles have earned their accolades several times over. The RAV4 boasts a bevy of tech options, a strong reliability rating, and excellent off-road performance, while the CR-V has a bigger cabin and cargo space. Both are priced similarly to the Escape and have hybrid options, too.
That said: If safety is your number one concern, and your weekend adventures are the casual camping trek to the lake or the beach, the Ford Escape is definitely an option that's worth considering. Shopping online for earlier models can drop the price, and shopping with Shift will help with this process.
Best of all? At Shift, certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every car, and they also offer complete vehicle histories at no additional charge. That way, you'll know your used car feels as good as new, too.
2017 Ford Escape SE (from $21,950)
Ford Escape review: the final verdict
After running through the stats, we can conclude that the Ford Escape – spacious on the inside, with lots of cargo room and smooth, quiet handling on the road – is a safe, reliable vehicle that is great for suburban commuting and road trips alike.
However, other options exist if you’re sold on the Ford brand but not the Ford Escape. If you want to do some additional research, check out this comparison between the Ford Edge and the Ford Escape to see which one suits you best.
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 15, 2022
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.