Ford Escape is an excellent SUV
2015 Ford Escape (Ford Motor Company)

The Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 are two of the top four small SUVs in terms of sales so far this year, according to recent data from the The Wall Street Journal. These popular SUVs are part of a competitive class of vehicles that combine flexible cargo space, a high seating position, easy maneuverability and respectable fuel economy into an affordable package. How do the 2015 Ford Escape and 2015 Toyota RAV4 measure up against each other?

Ford Escape vs Toyota RAV4

The 2015 Escape and 2015 RAV4 are very similar in terms of starting price, fuel economy and standard features. Under the hood, the RAV4 has slightly more power when comparing base engines, but the Escape’s available turbocharged four-cylinder engines produce 178 and 240 horsepower, respectively. The RAV4 comes exclusively with a 176-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. In terms of cargo space, the RAV4 has a slight edge over the Escape, with 5.3 additional cubic feet of space when the rear seats are folded down. For reference, a typical golf bag takes up roughly 4 cubic feet.

Behind the wheel, test drivers say the Ford Escape has ample power with either of the available turbocharged engines, and that its athletic handling makes it one of the most fun SUVs to drive in the class. The Toyota RAV4, meanwhile, can feel sluggish from a stop, reviewers say, but its handling is composed and the ride is comfortable.

2015 Toyota RAV4 is an appealing SUV
2015 Toyota RAV4 (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.)

Inside, the 2015 RAV4 draws criticism from some reviewers for its lackluster materials, while the Escape’s cabin boasts an attractive design and premium materials, critics agree. The RAV4 does earn praise from reviewers for its spacious rear seats and low cargo floor, which makes loading items easy. The 2015 Escape also has plenty of room for rear-seat occupants, critics note, but up front, a few test drivers report that the MyFord Touch infotainment system could be more responsive. Toyota’s Entune touch-screen infotainment system receives similar criticism from reviewers.

Due to more favorable reviews from the automotive press, the 2015 Ford Escape’s current overall score of 8.1 bests the 2015 Toyota RAV4’s overall mark of 7.4. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Escape is the better choice for all buyers. In addition to offering more cargo space, the RAV4 has higher safety and reliability scores than the Escape. If an engaging driving experience or an upscale interior are top priorities for you, then the Escape is the better option. If you’re interested in purchasing or leasing one of these popular SUVs, be sure to check out the latest Ford and Toyota deals and incentives.

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