By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
Although there are dozens of compact SUVs from which to choose, few have the styling, performance and features offered by the 5-passenger 2015 Ford Escape. Beyond its cutting-edge engine options and handsome styling, the Escape offers nimble handling via its sport-tuned suspension and a plethora of electronics aimed at keeping tech-savvy consumers safely in touch with the world, even when in motion. You won't find features like the foot-activated power rear liftgate or panoramic moonroof on the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and you certainly won't find a choice of two turbocharged engines. There are less expensive compact SUVs on the market, some even offer more interior space and better fuel economy, but the Ford Escape seems to have all the bases covered.
If you're seeking a compact SUV with great looks, great handling, great fuel economy and great features, the Ford Escape checks off all the boxes.
Other than a new paint color, there are no major changes for the Ford Escape SUV.
Driving Impressions With the exception of the Mazda CX-5, there is no sportier compact crossover SUV than the Ford Escape. Ford wisely jettisoned its boxy and boring SUV formula...... in favor of a light, nimble and very European-looking compact. Its handling is precise and the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine puts out an impressive 240 horsepower. But even if you settle for the smaller 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, the performance is still a cut above most compact SUVs. The Escape's ride straddles the fence between comfortable and firm, and there is more noise in the cabin than in the Subaru Forester or Honda CR-V. But the experience from behind the wheel just can't be matched by the aforementioned competitors, nor do they come close to matching the long list of electronic and audio upgrades offered by Ford.
Anyone who has ever approached a locked hatchback with arms full will appreciate this feature. Simply pass your foot beneath the rear bumper and the hatch automatically unlocks and powers itself open.
Kids love cars almost as much as their parents do. They also love to test the limits of common sense. That's why Ford allows owners to program limits on the vehicle's top speed, audio volume and, if seatbelts aren't buckled, cut off the audio system altogether.
The inside of the Ford Escape boasts an impressive display of materials, design and available features. The dash can feel a bit busy, especially when loaded up with options like MyFord Touch. If you're not into lots of high tech, you might just want to avoid the top-end models. The seats are comfortable, but a bit on the narrow side, and the cargo space and rear-seat room are not as generous as in some of the Escape's competition. However, we love the available panoramic moonroof as well as the excellent Sony audio system.Exterior
Like some others in the compact-SUV segment now, the Ford Escape shows a strong sense of style. Exterior highlights that distinguish upper-tier Escape models include HID headlamps, fog lights, body-color mirrors and trim, dual chrome exhaust tips and big 19-inch wheels. Sadly, the Escape doesn't offer any kind of forward-collision alert or adaptive cruise control feature, as found on the Subaru Forester. It can, however, warn of rear crossing traffic and parallel park itself.
The base Ford Escape S features a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux sound system, air conditioning, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, the parent-friendly MyKey system, and a full complement of airbags and electronic safety features. Base-model compromises include covered steel wheels and black plastic exterior trim elements.
A fully loaded Ford Escape Titanium comes with enough cool features to embarrass many luxury cars. In addition to a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 4-wheel drive, leather seats and a panoramic moonroof, a top-tier Escape offers blind-spot warning, automatic parallel parking, an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, Sync with MyFord Touch, and a liftgate that opens with a wave of your foot. You could get an Acura RDX for the same money, but you wouldn't have as many fun features to play with.
The Ford Escape offers a choice of three engines (unique in the compact-SUV class). The 240-horsepower rating of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine looks irresistible, but truthfully, the 178-horsepower 1.6-liter version is still plenty powerful, just as smooth, and more affordable and more efficient in the bargain. The base 2.5-liter engine would probably be fine for many owners but it comes only in the base Escape S, which doesn't look so grand compared to some competitors. All three engines work with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, driving either the front wheels (FWD) or all four (AWD). If you want AWD you'll have to choose one of the EcoBoost engines. And if you want the Escape's full towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, that requires the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine (and note that the towing package eliminates the clever hands-free liftgate option).
168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/31 mpg
Escape SE, Titanium
1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
178 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway mpg: 23/32 mpg (FWD), 22/30 mpg (AWD)
Escape SE, Titanium
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
240 @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/30 mpg (FWD), 21/28 mpg (AWD)
The 2015 Ford Escape S starts just under $24,000 but that's with the least desirable of its three engine choices, black plastic exterior trim and covered steel wheels. Stepping up to the Escape SE remedies those shortcomings and adds Sync infotainment and other upgrades for around $26,500. That's two to three thousand higher than the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 base models. At the upper end of the price spectrum, a fully loaded Escape Titanium will exceed $37,000. While that's almost $7,000 more than a loaded CR-V, it also includes a lot more power and technology. Unfortunately, the Escape's resale values are only average, better than the Chevrolet Equinox and just behind the Jeep Cherokee, but far below the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester compact SUVs. To get a better idea of what Escape buyers in your area are paying, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price.
By steve on Saturday, November 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Just a ride"
Cons: "no power, No AC, stopped 7 times in 13 months, 8k"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"AC stops working, Fords fix failed, Car drifts esp in cross wind, due to the EPS, it is a fail 13+ recalls, handle to close rear door broke, engine under powered, poor gas mileage"
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By NathanT87 on Friday, October 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, handles well in weather, nice power"
Cons: "Cabin space is small, electronics are weak."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have the 2013 2.0 liter turbo charged version of this car. The good: This car is a blast to drive. The first weekend I had it I woke up early Saturday morning just to drive it around for hours. Its been a year and I still love to drive it. It handles like a car and acceleration is not an issue thanks to the huge power boost the turbo provides. It gets around well in the snow (mine is 2WD) and is sturdy in heavy rain. The controls for the radio and cruise control are well placed. The bad: Seems small inside. My wife and I bump into each other getting drinks from the cup holder. The much talked about Ford Sync is not very impressive especially if you are used to an iPhone or Android device. In comparison the Sync is like going back to a flip phone. There is a USB slot near the charger but plugging anything into it other than their limited list of devices wreaks havoc on the computer. I plugged in a Galaxy tablet to charge and the entire car computer crashed. I had to shut the car off and restart it twice before it came back. Do I recommend this car? Absolutely. These little things are really nothing in the grand scheme of it all. This car is a winner."
12 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By mcow on Tuesday, October 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas millage, very fun to drive, looks"
Cons: "NO WHERE FOR COINS, issues with some interior trim"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my 2013 Ford Escape SEL slightly used to replace a gas guzzler GMC Envoy. I have now owned pretty much every SUV/Crossover Ford makes Explorer, Excursion, Expedition, Edge and now the Escape. Out of all of them I place only the Edge above this one as far as being fun to drive. I originally was not shopping for this car I went to the dealership for a used Fusion. I test drove both and and in the end decided the Escape while not quite as efficient as the Fusion was a better driving experience for me at least I prefer sitting up a little. First thing I noticed was the 2.0 turbo 4 banger. It does not feel like a 4 cylinder at all. Great acceleration fells as powerful as the 6 cylinder I loved in my Edge but feel is a little sluggish in my 2013 Explorer. The interior is pretty comfortable nice leather seats and cushioned surfaces on the door panels. Lots of cup holders and cubbies. The AC is great much better than my previous Edge. It feels bigger to me on the inside than it looks on the outside granted the back seat does feel a little cramped but the front is fine for average height adults. I love the panoramic moon roof and the MyTouch Sync works great. I am getting an average of 24 MPG which is about what I was hoping for. No mechanical issues so far. Did I mention how much I love the 2.0 Turbo engine? It really is very fun to drive feels and handles almost like a small sports car. Ok for my complaints. First the center console is horrible. It is small and deep and there is no where for COINS! I plan on buying an insert to fix this I have seen online. I have two interior trim issues that I need to get fixed. One is a small piece of trim that holds the glove box closed one side broke off so my glove box is only held closed on one side. The other is something broke on the interior door panel of the back hatch it is only connected on one side. This was rattling driving me crazy until i figured out what it was and temporarily fixed it with the universal tool duct tape. Thank God I am getting decent gas millage because the tank is tiny! Not a huge deal for me but something I wished was improved. There is some minor rattles seems like it is mostly connected to the moon roof. Nothing that makes me want to max the stereo volume or anything. Overall I am happy with the escape. If I had it to do over I may go with the Edge again which has been the favorite of all my cars but the Escape does get a little better gas milage and that was my primary concern. Btw incase you couldn't tell I am a Ford guy through and through the GMC I bought that was replaced by this vehicle will be my last "cheat" on Ford."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful