On the finish of the day, nevertheless, the Escape’s driving traits made up a comparatively small a part of its total rating in our comparability check. Regardless of ending second to the CX-50 in our subjective powertrain and dealing with classes, the Escape nonetheless completed final total. And earlier than you assume the CX-50 fared a lot better, it completed fifth in entrance solely of the Escape. This underlines that what my fellow judges and I have been on the lookout for in our testing as a complete was much less “Is that this enjoyable to drive?” and extra “Is that this not aggravating to drive?” Extra performance-oriented SUVs are becoming a member of the category, nevertheless, together with the all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet. The Hornet wasn’t a part of our comparability check, however I drove a Hornet GT afterward and got here away feeling it wouldn’t have fared a lot better than the Escape.
What compact SUV consumers will like in regards to the Escape’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is that it brings gasoline effectivity with a dose of enjoyable. In our gasoline economic system testing, which consisted of a real-world highway journey protecting greater than 300 miles, the Escape got here out on prime, with common gasoline economic system of 31.1 mpg. The model we drove is EPA-rated at 23/31/26 mpg metropolis/freeway/mixed, which is barely higher than the 23/29/25 mpg estimates for the turbocharged CX-50, which averaged 27 mpg in our real-world check.
The compact SUV class as a complete is shifting towards hybridization to be able to add energy with out sacrificing gasoline economic system. Hybrid variations of each the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 are well-liked, however even the gas-only, all-wheel-drive CR-V and RAV4 are rated 29 mpg mixed — higher than the two.0-liter EcoBoost Escape. Toyota wasn’t capable of present a gas-only RAV4 for our comparability check, however the gas-only CR-V we drove averaged 28.7 mpg on our highway journey.
An extra spotlight that caught out to me as a metropolis dweller: The Escape’s hood has a big downslope that made parking a breeze in quite a lot of eventualities. That low hood, mixed with the Escape’s pretty upright windshield, additionally aids outward visibility.
A $30K Inside in a $43K SUV
In the long run, the Escape’s decently sorted driving expertise didn’t defend it from its inside flaws. With an as-tested value of $43,650 (together with vacation spot), the Escape was the most costly car in our check. For this type of cash, we anticipated higher inside lodging; it felt extra like a rental automotive inside, with inside trim largely consisting of laborious, unappealing plastic. The ST-Line Elite comes with what Ford calls “sport bucket” entrance seats, however not one of the three judges within the comparability check discovered them to be very comfy. I felt just like the entrance and rear seats have been too agency, leaving me sitting on prime of them somewhat than in them.
Although the backseat wasn’t very comfy, the house itself was roomy sufficient. The Escape was the one SUV in our comparability check with a sliding backseat, nevertheless it didn’t present any apparent cargo profit; the Escape ended up with the smallest measured cargo space.
A brilliant spot was the Escape’s bigger 13.2-inch dashboard touchscreen, which has crisp, clear graphics and a user-friendly interface. It additionally options wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Sadly, that display additionally incorporates the entire Escape’s local weather and audio controls, and whereas the contact controls work nicely for contact controls, they’re not an ample substitute for bodily ones.
The Escape does have some bodily controls, together with a row of them proper beneath the touchscreen. Inside that row are issues like max defrost management, an optionally available parking help characteristic, the 360-degree digicam system and one considerably confusingly labeled button for switching drive modes. It’s a irritating mess.
Much more irritating is the optionally available head-up show. It makes use of what seems like, in automotive phrases, historic tech: Moderately than a projection onto the windshield, the Escape makes use of a plastic display that flips up and down (noisily and slowly in our check car). The show itself supplies some useful info, nevertheless it’s positioned in such a method that the information seems to be on the hood. In our red-painted check automotive, the white textual content was legible, however be cautious of shopping for a white Escape with the HUD; that background colour could make every part illegible.
If the Escape had a cheaper price, these inside points could be much less damning. However this SUV was costlier than different autos we drove with higher-quality and better-designed interiors. It’s an enormous a part of why the Escape fared so poorly in our comparability check.
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Nonetheless Value Your Consideration
Don’t write off the Escape simply but, nevertheless. A final-place end in our testing doesn’t imply it’s the worst compact SUV available on the market; try our full outcomes story to see the place the Escape carried out nicely and the place it didn’t to see if it would nonetheless give you the results you want.
Additionally, this was a check of 1 configuration of the Escape. The SUV’s lineup is numerous and contains one other gas-only powertrain in addition to hybrid and plug-in hybrid variations, the latter of which continues to be eligible for a $3,750 federal tax credit score as of this writing. The ST-Line Elite configuration of the Escape wasn’t a winner for us, however that doesn’t imply it — or a unique Escape altogether — couldn’t be for you.
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