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2018 Ford Escape KBB Expert Review

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Transaction Data

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KBB Expert Rating 8.2 / 10
This Car - 2018 Ford Escape
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Consumer Rating 7.6 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

Vehicle Details Interior  Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo

The Escape SUV benefited from a wide-ranging remake last year. Virtually every touch surface was revised to create a more premium look and feel, a move that should keep this 2-row/5-passenger compact-crossover SUV fresh in the years ahead. The Escape’s electronic parking brake and repositioned shift lever ease access to the climate controls and center-stack media bin with USB port and 12V power point. Other improvements included a more user-friendly multifunction steering wheel, re-contoured front buckets, a larger center armrest and bigger covered console bin. Dropping the 60/40 fold-flat rear seat doubles the usable storage area from 34.0 to 68.0 cubic feet.

Exterior   photo

Also updated just last year, the Escape’s exterior remains fresh thanks to a recast nose that portrays an edgier character defined by a soft cap, prominent hexagonal grille – which conceals active grille shutters to improve efficiency -- sleeker LED-infused headlights and larger outboard air intakes along with a redrawn aluminum hood. A Sport Appearance Package, available on SE models, aims to bring an edgier vibe with blackout-trim accents, halogen headlights and 19-inch Ebony Black alloy wheels. For 2018, the Escape gains new colors: Blue Metallic and Cinnamon Glaze.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2018 Escape is available in four trims: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. The least expensive Ford Escape is a pretty basic small SUV with cruise control, rearview camera, 6-way-adjustable driver's seat and automatic headlights. The basic infotainment system includes 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with USB input, 4.2-inch screen and Ford's basic Sync system with Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition. You're better off with at least an SE model, which adds a turbo engine, dual-zone climate control, privacy glass, 10-way-power driver's seat and heated front seats. It also opens the door for all-wheel drive and options like Sync 3 with CarPlay and more.

Notable Optional Equipment

The new SEL nicely slots between the SE and Titanium with standard power tailgate, leather interior, Sync 3 and its 8-inch touch screen and even the Sync Connect system with built-in Wi-Fi and the ability to lock, unlock and start the car from a phone. Top-line Titanium models add the most powerful engine in the lineup, hands-free tailgate, push-button start, heated steering wheel, power passenger seat, navigation and 10-speaker Sony premium audio with HD Radio. Optional starting on SE trims are blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist and a parking system that aids with parallel and reverse parking.

Under the Hood

Three engines remain available in the Escape, though this year each is tied to specific trims. All are 4-cylinder powerplants connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Base Ford Escape S models use a 2.5-liter, in front-wheel drive (FWD) only. Ford Escape SE and the new SEL use a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine with FWD standard and all-wheel drive (AWD) optional. Though smaller than the 2.5-liter, it has greater horsepower (179 vs. 168) thanks to the forced induction of turbocharging. Now exclusive to the Titanium model is the 2.0-liter, which packs 245 horsepower and can tow 3,500 pounds. It too is FWD or AWD, and we recommend the latter to prevent torque steer. Both EcoBoost engines use a start/stop system that shuts off the engine at idle.

2.5-liter inline-4
168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (FWD)

1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
179 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD), 22/28 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
245 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (AWD)

Pricing Notes

The 2018 Ford Escape has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $24,845 (including the $995 destination charge) for a base model. The more recommendable Escape SE begins at $26,600, and the new SEL trim starts at $29,000 exactly. The premium Titanium trim starts just over $33,000. At its starting price, the Escape slightly undercuts the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, while other rivals like the Chevy Equinox, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson start a little lower. With over a dozen choices, the compact SUV segment is among the most popular. If you need a quick overview of all choices, see our Compact SUV Buyer's Guide. Before buying, check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new 2018 Ford Escape. Resale value isn't expected to be all that strong, the Ford trailing rivals like the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5.

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