New for 2015After a full redesign for 2013, the Ford Escape adds Magnetic Metallic as an exterior color.
Vehicle OverviewThe Escape is Ford’s five-passenger compact SUV, fitting in price below the two-row Edge and three-row Explorer in the automaker’s SUV lineup.
SummaryThe Ford Escape is available with several engines, front- or all-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic. The base front-drive Escape comes with a 2.5-liter I-4 producing 168 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, and an EPA-estimated 22/31 mpg city/highway. There are two available turbocharged EcoBoost engines that can pair the six-speed automatic with FWD or AWD: a 1.6-liter I-4 that makes 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque; or a 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22-23/29-32 mpg on the 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4, 21-22/28-30 mpg on the 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4, and each powertrain takes a small penalty for AWD, reflected in the lower range of numbers.
The most notable features include active grille shutters (increases efficiency), a hands-free foot-activated power liftgate, an eight-inch infotainment system with MyFord Touch, active park assist (it can identify and steer you into a parallel parking space), a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, and intelligent access and a pushbutton start. Cargo capacity is 34.3 cubic feet with the rear seats up, but expands to 67.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. A properly equipped Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The 2015 Ford Escape has not been rated by the NHTSA, but in 2014 IIHS testing received four ratings of good and one of poor for the new, and more difficult, small front overlap category (the highest possible rating is good).
What We ThinkThe Ford Escape is built on the same platform as the sporty Focus, imparting handling prowess that is not watered down by the crossover body. The base 2.5-liter I-4 is mostly for fleets and to provide a low base price -- avoid it and go with one of the EcoBoost turbo I-4 engines. Gone is the six-cylinder from years past, but with the excellent 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4, nobody will miss it. The rear seat doesn’t have quite the room of a Honda CR-V, but the design takes advantage of the space, like scalloping the front seats for more knee room.
The zippy powertrain goes a long way toward making the Escape more fun to drive than the compact crossover norm, but one must also credit the highly capable chassis. The car eagerly charged through the bumpy, fast sweepers in the mountains; and felt alert and responsive on the narrow parkways downstate.
- Great handling
- EcoBoost engines
- Attractive styling
You Won’t Like
- EcoBoost offers fun and efficiency, but not both simultaneously
- Can get pricey
- The base 2.5-liter I-4
- Honda CR-V
- Toyota RAV4
- Mazda CX-5
- Subaru Forester