$14,171 - $19,926

2016 Ford Escape Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Ford Escape was new.


Performance: 8.7

The Ford Escape's base engine has decent power for the typical commute, reviewers say. However, they prefer the additional power from either of the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Automotive journalists are pleased with the Escape's nimble car-like handling and say its ride is comfortable, overall. The Escape's fuel economy is on par with that of most rivals.

  • "While the Mazda CX-5 may be the sportiest compact crossover SUV on the block, the 2016 Ford Escape isn't far behind. With Euro-sleek looks backed up with Euro-inspired ride and handling, the Ford Escape is unlikely to leave drivers wanting, especially when equipped with the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With its quick, precise steering and relatively sharp reflexes, the 2016 Ford Escape is one of the segment's top athletes. Some compact crossovers feel tall and bulky from the driver seat, but the Escape just feels like a sporty hatchback with a higher center of gravity." -- Edmunds
  • "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 2016 Ford Escape comes with a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. There are two available turbocharged four-cylinder engines: a 1.6-liter engine that makes 178 horsepower and a 2.0-liter engine that produces 240 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. According to the EPA, the base Escape gets 22/31 mpg city/highway. With the 1.6-liter engine, the Escape earns an EPA-estimated 23/32 mpg. That's on par with the fuel economy estimates of most compact SUVs.

Reviewers agree that the base engine provides adequate power for the typical commute. They say the available 1.6-liter engine provides better acceleration and the optional 2.0-liter has the best acceleration of the bunch. Most test drivers write that, no matter which engine you choose, they are all refined and quiet. Automotive journalists also note that the transmission is responsive and smooth.

  • "Performance ranges from average with the 2.5-liter and turbocharged 1.6-liter engines to downright spirited with the turbocharged 2.0-liter unit. Although most owners will likely be content with the 1.6-liter turbo's acceleration and fuel economy, it's hard to resist the 2.0-liter turbo, as it delivers much more capability with only a modest reduction in fuel efficiency. Even if you don't have a heavy foot, you'll notice that the 2.0 pulls effortlessly up steady grades, whereas the 1.6-liter requires more frequent downshifts from the automatic transmission to stay on pace. The good news is that both turbocharged engines are equally quiet and smooth." -- Edmunds
  • "Yet even the smaller 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine offers sprightly performance, thanks in no small part to the fact that it shares a lot of its underpinnings with the similarly sporty and fun Ford Focus." -- 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

According auto writers, the Ford Escape offers athletic handling, similar to that of compact cars like the Ford Focus hatchback. Reviewers say that although the Escape's ride is on the firm side, its overall ride comfort is still great. However, a few note that in models equipped with 19-inch wheels, the ride can be harsh. The Escape has standard front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional.

  • "Fortunately, this dynamic character doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort, which is exemplary by class standards." -- Edmunds
  • "Slip behind the wheel of a new Ford Escape and you'll find a ride that's firm, but still comfortable enough, and a high-style interior that's easy enough to use once you get used to it. Note that the Escape is louder inside than the Subaru Forester or Honda CR-V, but that's mitigated by the Ford's superior overall driving experience, and plethora of electronic upgrades." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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)
  • "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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