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MSRP: $24,105 - 34,120

2019 Ford Escape Review

The 2019 Ford Escape sits in the top half of our compact SUV rankings. It's one of the sportiest choices in the segment, and it offers plenty of cargo space. However, some rivals have higher safety scores and more upscale interiors.

Pros & Cons

  • Above-average cargo capacity
  • Lithe handling
  • Lively engine options
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Rivals have higher safety scores

Is the Ford Escape a Good SUV?

Yes, the Ford Escape is a good compact SUV. Few rivals can match the Escape's sporty feel. It has adept handling and energetic engines, making it more fun to drive than most small crossovers. It also has a higher cargo capacity than many rivals.

But there are areas where this Ford doesn't shine so brightly. Some competitors have more modern interiors and longer standard features lists. And the Escape's safety score, while decent, lags behind many rivals.

Should I Buy the Ford Escape?

Buyers who want a livelier driving experience should definitely take a look at the Escape. If driving enjoyment is less of a priority for you, there are some competitors that are better from a practicality standpoint.

While Ford saves many of the Escape's technology features for upper trim levels, the Toyota RAV4 comes with a lot more standard active safety equipment. The highly ranked Honda CR-V has even more cargo space than the Escape and better fuel economy estimates.

Compare the Escape, RAV4, and CR-V »

Should I Buy a New or Used Ford Escape?

The Ford Escape was last redesigned for the 2013 model year, but it received a significant refresh for 2017. Ford updated both interior and exterior styling for 2017 and added several new tech and safety features, an available 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a stop-start feature for the turbo engines. The SEL trim debuted for the 2018 model year, and the Escape's most powerful engine – the 245-horsepower turbo-four – became available in Titanium trims only (it was previously available in both the SE and Titanium trims). Besides a few reshuffled features and packages, there are no major changes for the 2019 model year. If you're open to a used SUV, the 2017 Escape is a good pick. It's similar to the new Escape but likely less expensive.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Ford Escape. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Escape »

We Did the Research for You: 58 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 58 Ford Escape reviews, as well as fuel economy estimates, performance specs, safety features, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the Escape's current generation, which runs from 2013 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Ford Escape Cost?

Starting at $24,105, the Escape’s prices are about average for the class. The base model doesn't come with many standard features, so you'll most likely want to step up to the midlevel SE (MSRP: $26,500) or SEL trim (MSRP: $28,445). The top-of-the-line Titanium trim starts at $32,620.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

Ford Escape Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4's middle-of-the-road performance makes the Ford Escape the more engaging SUV to drive between these two. The RAV4 delivers a comfortable ride and decent power from its lone available engine, but the Escape's athletic handling and potent available engines set it apart. The RAV4 does offer some advantages over the Escape: It comes standard with loads of advanced safety features, and its cargo area is even larger than the Escape's. Choosing between these two is a matter of personal preference.

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Honda CR-V?

The Escape has plenty of cargo space and a decent amount of passenger room, but the Honda CR-V outdoes it and is the better choice in most cases. Even taller passengers have plenty of room to stretch out in the Honda's back row, and the its cargo area is among the most expansive in the class. Additionally, the CR-V is more fuel-efficient than the Escape, and it delivers a smoother ride. If you're looking for an engaging ride, however, you'll prefer the Ford.

Compare the Escape, RAV4, and CR-V »

Escape Interior

How Many People Does the Escape Seat?

There is seating for five in the Escape. Both rows provide good support, comfort, and space for everyday driving, but some rivals offer more room.

Escape and Child Car Seats

The Escape has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The middle seat has the ability to borrow lower anchors from the adjoining seats when they're not in use. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the setup the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. Some upper tethers may be confused for other hardware, and some lower anchors are set too deep in the seats and are difficult to maneuver around. 

Escape Interior Quality

The Escape's hushed cabin is attractive and well-designed, with quality materials throughout. However, some reviewers knock it for being a little out of date. Cloth upholstery and a manually adjustable driver's seat are standard. You can also get power-adjustable, heated, and/or leather-trimmed front seats. Other options include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a heated steering wheel, and sport seats.

Escape Cargo Space

There's 34 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back row and 68 cubic feet with the back row folded. This is more than enough space for most, but a few class rivals have even more room.

Escape Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Escape's slim standard features list includes Ford's voice-activated SYNC infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display screen, a USB port, and a six-speaker stereo.

Luckily, there are plenty of features available, including the upgraded the SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, satellite radio, an extra USB port, a 10-speaker Sony premium audio system, a panoramic sunroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The available SYNC 3 infotainment system is user-friendly. The touch screen is responsive and features sharp graphics and easy-to-navigate menus.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Escape Performance

Escape Engine: Something for Everyone

Ford offers three engine choices for the Escape. It comes standard with a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers plenty of power for daily driving. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder option puts out a potent 245 horsepower and gets you up to speed in no time. The Escape’s most fuel-efficient engine is the 179-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo-four. All engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers relatively smooth shifts.

Escape Gas Mileage: Could Be Better

The base model's estimated 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway is slightly below average for the class. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine has slightly better mileage at 22/29 mpg city/highway. The 1.5-liter engine delivers the best gas mileage, earning 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class.

Escape Ride and Handling: Confident and Fun

The Escape is one of the best all-around performers in the class, with sporty handling, a firm suspension system, good steering feedback, and a composed ride on smooth roads. Some reviewers, however, claim that bumpy roads jostle the ride a bit. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available in all but the base trim.

Escape Towing Capacity

The Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds when equipped with the available towing package. That's one of the highest towing capacities in the class.

Read more about performance »

Escape Reliability

Is the Ford Escape Reliable?

The 2019 Escape has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Ford Escape Warranty

The Escape is backed by a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Escape Safety

Escape Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2019 Escape the highest rating of Good in four crash tests, an Acceptable rating (the second highest) in the driver-side small overlap front test, a Poor rating (the lowest possible) in the passenger-side small overlap front test, and an Acceptable rating for how well the headlights illuminate the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a five-out-of-five-star overall rating, with five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in rollover crash tests.

Escape Safety Features

The Escape comes standard with a rearview camera and MyKey, which lets you create speed and audio limits for secondary drivers. Available features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, active park assist, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and assisted pre-collision braking.

Read more about safety »

Which Ford Escape Model Is Right for Me?

There are four Escape trims: S, SE, SEL, and Titanium. Since the base trim has a scant list of standard features, we recommend opting for the midrange SE trim. The SE comes with a more powerful and fuel-efficient engine as well as features like a power-adjustable driver's seat and the widely praised SYNC 3 infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Ford Escape S

The S starts at $24,105 and comes with the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, cloth upholstery, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, a rearview camera, MyKey, and Ford's voice-activated SYNC infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display screen, a six-speaker audio system, and a USB port.

Ford Escape SE

The SE trim ($26,500) features a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, push-button start, remote start, fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system with satellite radio and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. This is the first trim level to offer all-wheel drive ($1,500).

Two packages are also available. The Safe and Smart package ($995) adds rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, assisted pre-collision braking, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane keep assist. The Sport Appearance package ($1,295) adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, partial leather-trimmed sport seats, and exterior styling elements.

Ford Escape SEL

Starting at $28,445, the SEL trim includes the same 1.5-liter turbo-four as the SE trim but adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leather-trimmed front seats, rear parking sensors, and a power liftgate. Both packages available for the SE trim are also available for the SEL trim. There's also a Sun and Style package ($1,195) that includes a panoramic sunroof and larger aluminum wheels. All-wheel drive is available for $1,500.

Ford Escape Titanium

The range-topping Titanium trim ($32,620) adds active park assist, a 10-speaker Sony premium audio system, HD Radio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, and a navigation system. This is the only trim with the 2.0-liter 245-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. You can add the Trailer Tow package, which includes sway control and an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, for $495. The Safe and Smart package ($1,895) adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, a panoramic sunroof, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. All-wheel drive will cost you an additional $1,500.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

See 2019 Ford Escape specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Ford Escape finishes in the middle of our compact SUV rankings. Its strengths include agile handling, strong engines, and abundant cargo space, but many class rivals have nicer cabin materials and earn better fuel economy ratings and higher safety scores. Nonetheless, this crossover SUV is worth checking out.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2019 Ford Escape is a rare breed of compact crossover that deftly blends performance and utility. Sporty handling and a powerful turbocharged engine make the Escape drive more like a sedan, without sacrificing SUV versatility, making it a best-of-both-worlds choice." -- Edmunds
  • "… Ford Escape has to be on the list of anyone looking to buy a compact crossover. This corner of the automotive world is crammed with great choices, but the Escape is a star player. It offers appealing engines, decent cargo space, the option of all-wheel drive and a nice line of technology, such as a rear cargo door that opens automatically when a foot is waved under the bumper. The Escape can even parallel park itself." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • … Ford Escape is a competent, popular player in the crowded compact-SUV class" -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: June 27, 2019

Falling Sales: Escape sales have declined by 6.7% this year relative to the same period in 2018. The class sales-leading Toyota RAV4 is outselling the Escape by 49% this year.

Research more buying advice »
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