The Ford Escape is receiving a huge makeover for the 2020 model year. But that doesn’t mean that the outgoing generation is all bad. In fact, it’s one of the better all-rounder crossover SUVs on the market today. Here’s why.
Engine – With the Ford Escape you have 3 engines to choose from. A 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder, a 1.5L turbo, and a 2.0L turbo as equipped in this test vehicle. It delivers a very healthy 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. The Mazda CX-5 and Chevrolet Equinox / GMC Terrain are the only other competitors that offer an engine with similar power figures. The Ford’s power delivery is smooth and pulls hard almost right up to the redline where, like most other turbocharged engines, the power curve plateaus.
With this engine, the fuel economy figures are 8.7 L/100km (27.0 mpg) on a highway and 11.5 L/100km (20.5 mpg) in a city. However in the real world, I was only able to manage an average of 11.8 L/100km (19.9 mpg).
Transmission – The Escape doesn’t get any fancy 8 or 9 speed automatic but instead has to rely on a more “traditional” 6-speed automatic. Unfortunately it has fallen behind when compared to the competition as it is slow to react. In particular down shifts are the biggest frustration when going for an overtake or merging onto a highway.
Braking – There’s no fuss with the Ford Escape when coming to a stop. The brake pedal is easy to modulate for smooth deceleration and the brakes themselves don’t feel too grabby or spongy. Forward collision alert and emergency automatic braking are available as an option but only on the SE trim and higher.
Handling – The 2019 Ford Escape has a sportier driving characteristic than other crossovers. If anything, it feels more like a big sedan rather than a tall SUV. The Mazda CX-5 just edges it for outright fun driving but the Escape is a better drive than the Honda CR-V or GMC Terrain.
Ride Comfort – The Ford Escape feels a bit on the firm side over bumps. It’s not a terrible and uncomfortable ride but it’s not as plush as other crossovers. The seats do absorb some of the bumps that can translate through the suspension however if all you want is comfort, the Honda CR-V has the Escape beat.
Interior Space – The Escape slots in between the CR-V & CX-5. The Honda just edges the Ford (no pun intended) but the Escape is noticeably larger than the CX-5. The trunk is also very spacious and the rear seats fold 60/40 for more space.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Like many other SUVs in this class, there is a noticeable amount of tire and wind noise intruding into the cabin at highway speeds. Engine noise however is very well subdued for day-to-day driving situations.
Interior Design – The 2019 Ford Escape has seen a few minor interior styling changes since this generation was introduced in 2013. The gear selector has been shifted more towards the left to allow for more space in the center console. The climate control buttons have also been revised a bit since this generation of Escape was first introduced. Overall it’s an intuitive layout of all the controls.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – The Ford Escape is available with broadly the same features as many of its rivals. The only features that it’s missing are surround view cameras and ventilated seats. As mentioned earlier, emergency braking is available as part of a safety package but it does also include lane departure warning and keep, adaptive cruise control, blind spot sensors, & auto high beam for $1,200 CAD on lower trims but $2,500 CAD on this Titanium trim due to the inclusion of the sunroof. One thing to note though regarding the adaptive cruise control is that it is not the smoothest. It accelerates and decelerates very abruptly.
Exterior Design – Like the interior, the exterior has received some minor refreshments. However it’s not an “in your face” type of styling like the Mazda CX-5. Instead it’s a more conservative design to appeal to more customers. I personally think it’s too bland and I’d prefer looking at the CX-5 over the Escape. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Overall the 2019 Ford Escape is just that, an overall type of crossover. It doesn’t stand out in any particular area but it’s also not bad in any particular area. Plus now that it’s at the end of its generation life cycle, any problems that it may have had should be taken care of which means it should be reliable over the long run. So it was designed as an SUV for everyone.
At $37,700 CAD for this Titanium trim, it is less expensive than the Mazda & Honda in their top trims. But once you add the Safety + Sunroof package, it becomes essentially the same price as the competition.
Thank you to Ford Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Ford.ca