$13,103 - $18,129

2015 Ford Escape Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Ford Escape was new.


Performance: 8.2

The automotive press reports that the 2015 Ford Escape is fun to drive, with sharp handling, responsive steering and potent available turbocharged engines. They add that it has a generally comfortable, quiet ride.

  • "With the exception of the Mazda CX-5, there is no sportier compact crossover SUV than the Ford Escape." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With impressive innovations like EcoBoost providing an excellent combination of power and frugality, it is easy to see why these vehicles are attracting a large following." -- MSNBC (2013)
  • "This compact sport utility is smooth, refined, and quite engaging to drive." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base engine in the 2015 Escape is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 168 horsepower. There are two available turbocharged four-cylinder engines: a 1.6-liter engine that generates 178 horsepower and a 2.0-liter engine that produces 240 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. With the base engine, the Escape returns an EPA-estimated 22/31 mpg city/highway. Models with the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine return 23/32 mpg. Overall, the Escape's fuel economy is on par for the class, but some rivals, like the Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5, use slightly less fuel.

Reviewers write that the Escape's base engine provides adequate power, but they are more impressed with the power from either of the available turbocharged engines. Most say that the 1.6-liter engine delivers spirited acceleration, and they agree that power from the 2.0-liter engine is impressive, especially when driving up hills. Test drivers also report that the transmission shifts smoothly and without hesitation.

  • "Although most owners will be perfectly content with the acceleration and fuel economy they get with the 1.6-liter turbo, there's no denying that the 2.0-liter turbo is satisfying, particularly on hilly roads. It pulls the Escape up steady grades without breaking a sweat, whereas the 1.6-liter would need an extra prod of the gas pedal or a downshift (or both) in these situations." -- Edmunds
  • "Its handling is precise and the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine puts out an impressive 240 horsepower. But even if you settle for the smaller 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, the performance is still a cut above most compact SUVs." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The base 2.5-liter engine is competent enough, but it's the EcoBoost engines that really make the Escape zip along. We found the 1.6-liter engine more than satisfying in both its power delivery and fuel consumption. The Titanium's optional 2.0-liter turbo is a brute, and those accustomed to having a V6 will want this option." -- Autotrader (2014)
  • "With the 1.6-liter engine, Escape feels energetic from a stop with more than adequate power for highway merging. The 2.0-liter engine is stronger overall and turns Escape into a practical little hot rod. Both engines have fine throttle response, and the 6-speed automatic shifts smoothly and provides timely downshifts." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Escape comes with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. According to test drivers, the Ford Escape is one of the best-driving SUVs in the segment, with sharp steering and sporty handling. They add that the overall ride quality is comfortable, though some caution that models fitted with 19-inch wheels feel harsh over rough roads.

  • "Blessed with quick steering, relatively sharp reflexes and an advanced all-wheel-drive system, the 2015 Ford Escape provides sporty handling and traction through turns. Overall, it's one of the better-handling small crossovers available. These abilities don't come at the expense of ride comfort either, as the Escape maintains a stable, isolated demeanor over bumps and when cruising on the highway." -- Edmunds
  • "The Escape's taut suspension settings give this little SUV a sporty demeanor, not unlike the related Focus hatchback. We like the ride on the SE and SEL, but found the Titanium's larger 19-in wheels had a tendency to magnify road imperfections." -- Autotrader (2014)
  • "The Ford Escape is the sporty compact car of compact SUVs - a title it shares with the Mazda CX-5. Ford has done well to infuse several of its recent passenger-car offerings with European-like driving dynamics and feel, and the new Escape also benefits from that effort." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "No matter which engine is installed, the Escape's chassis is sportier than those of its Japanese and domestic competition. As you might expect, the Escape drives like a giant Focus with a higher center of gravity. It's planted, feels secure, and is even a little fun." -- Car and Driver (2013)

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