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2018 Ford Escape Review

The 2018 Ford Escape ranks near the top of the compact SUV class, largely due to its great predicted reliability rating, dynamic handling, and premium interior.

Pros & Cons

  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Lively handling
  • Peppy turbocharged engine options
  • Large cargo hold
  • Unimpressive fuel economy estimates
  • Few standard features

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Ford Escape's #3 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Compact SUVs category. Currently the Ford Escape has a score of 8.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 53 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.1
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Ford Escape Overview

Is the 2018 Ford Escape a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the 2018 Ford Escape is a great compact SUV, and it's fun to drive. There’s a lot to like about it, and thanks to its blend of quality and value, it was a finalist for our 2018 Best Compact SUV for the Money award.

There are many reasons to buy a 2018 Escape:

  • Agile handling and sharp steering
  • Potent turbocharged engine options
  • Premium cabin materials and soft-touch surfaces
  • Quiet, well-insulated cabin
  • Good predicted reliability rating for the class

On the other hand, the Escape has some drawbacks:

  • No standard touch screen, which most rivals have
  • Below-average fuel economy with base engine
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive Ford Escape review. It combines concrete data (like predicted reliability ratings, crash test results, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 53 automotive sources. This Ford Escape review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which ran from the 2013 through 2019 model years.

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. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Is the 2018 Ford Escape?

Based on listings for the 2018 Ford Escape on our site, the average list price of $20,700, which is below-average for the class. Prices range from $16,500 to $26,600 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Ford Escape Cost to Own?

The 2018 Escape’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $22,700, or $4,540 per year. That’s slightly below average for a compact SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Escape?

Ford shuffled some of the Escape’s packages and features for 2019. Otherwise, this SUV saw few major changes. You could likely save money and get a virtually identical vehicle by sticking with a used model.

Read about the new Escape »

Ford redesigned the Escape for the 2013 model year (the 2018 model is part of the same generation). However, most shoppers will want to stick with a 2016 model or newer. For 2016, Ford replaced the much-maligned MyFord Touch interface with the SYNC 3 system, which earns better reviews. The 2017 Escape is a good choice too, featuring available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a newly available 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, and refreshed exterior and interior styling. For 2018, the Escape gained a new SEL trim. Otherwise, there were few major changes, so it might be worth considering a similar model that is older and costs less.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Escape »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Escape?

The 2018 Escape has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Escape reliability »

2018 Ford Escape Recalls

At the timing of this writing, there are two safety recalls for the 2018 Escape:

  • Brake fluid may leak due to hoses chafing
  • Airbag inflator component may detach and ricochet around the cabin

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Ford Escape safety recalls »

Which Used Ford Escape Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Escape comes in four trim levels: S, SE, SEL, and Titanium. The base trim has the weakest and least fuel-efficient engine in the lineup, and it is sparsely equipped. Because of that, most shoppers might want to skip it in favor of a higher trim.

The SE adds a stronger turbocharged engine, and it's the first trim available with all-wheel drive. Shoppers after the most powerful range-topping engine will need to leap all the way to the top-of-the-line Titanium trim.

A suite of safety features is available for all but the base trim. It includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and adaptive cruise control.

  • Ford Escape S: The base Escape S has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a 4.2-inch display screen, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port, cloth seats, Ford’s MyKey, and a rearview camera.
  • Ford Escape SE: SE models gain a 1.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine, heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and satellite radio. The SE is also the first trim available with several packages, so you might find a model equipped with the SYNC 3 infotainment system, an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a navigation system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a panoramic sunroof, and several safety features.
  • Ford Escape SEL: The Ford Escape SEL adds the SYNC 3 infotainment system and its tech features, minus navigation, as standard. The SEL also comes with a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, and leather-trimmed seats.
  • Ford Escape Titanium: The Ford Escape Titanium builds off of the SEL with a voice-activated navigation system, HD Radio, a Sony 10-speaker sound system, remote start, parallel park assist, a hands-free liftgate, push-button start, and proximity keyless entry. The Titanium is also the only trim that is available with the 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine.

See 2018 Ford Escape trims and specs »

What Does Ford's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Ford offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Ford extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. These vehicles also get a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty after the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Each Ford CPO vehicle must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like vehicle history reports, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Ford warranty page carefully.

Ford does not have one of the better CPO programs among affordable carmakers. Chevy, GMC, Honda, Kia, and Mazda all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Escape?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Escape the highest rating of Good in four crash tests, the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the driver-side small overlap front test, and the lowest rating of Poor in the passenger-side small overlap front test. Models equipped with forward collision warning with brake assist earned the lowest rating of Basic for front crash prevention. Depending on how its' equipped, the 2018 Escape earned Acceptable to Poor ratings for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave this SUV a five-star overall rating, with five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Ford MyKey, which lets you set speed and audio limits for secondary drivers

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane keep assist
  • forward collision warning with brake assist
  • automatic high beams
  • front and rear parking sensors
  • parallel park assist
  • adaptive cruise control

See Escape safety scores »

2018 Ford Escape Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Ford Escape or 2018 Toyota RAV4?

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is an OK compact SUV. Compared to the Ford, the RAV4 has more cargo space, a longer list of standard safety features, and slightly better mpg estimates. In most other areas, though, the Ford takes the edge. Sharper handling makes the Ford more fun to drive, and it has a nicer cabin and available Apple CarPlay. On average, the Escape costs around $1,000 less than the RAV4. In this comparison, it’s the better vehicle overall.

Which Is Better: 2018 Ford Escape or 2018 Honda CR-V?

The 2018 Honda CR-V is another great choice. It has more rear-seat legroom and cargo space than the Ford, as well as higher fuel economy estimates. Each SUVs has a gentle ride and a premium interior, but the Escape takes the lead with its higher predicted reliability rating and more engaging driving dynamics. Nonetheless, both of these are great SUVs, and choosing between them is a matter of preference.

Compare the Escape, RAV4, and CR-V »

2018 Escape Performance

How Does the 2018 Escape Drive?

The base engine produces adequate acceleration, but the two available turbocharged engines feel much more energetic. The 2.0-liter one in particular, found only in the range-topping Titanium, easily summons the quick bursts of power needed for highway merging. Both turbo engines also have stop-start systems to save fuel.

This Ford is one of the most athletic in its class. Sharp steering and strong brakes help make it fun to drive. The Escape's engaging road manners do not compromise comfort, however, as its suspension absorbs most road blemishes well.

  • Base engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engines:  
    • Turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque
    • Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Escape Get Good Gas Mileage?

The base Escape gets subpar EPA fuel economy estimates for the class. Models with the turbocharged engines return slightly higher fuel ratings, more in line with class rivals.

  • 2.5-liter, FWD: 21/29 mpg city/highway
  • 1.5-liter, FWD: 23/30 mpg
  • 1.5-liter, AWD: 22/28 mpg
  • 2.0-liter, FWD: 21/28 mpg
  • 2.0-liter, AWD: 20/27 mpg

Read more about Escape performance »

2018 Escape Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Escape Seat?

This compact crossover SUV seats five people in two rows. The front and rear seats are comfortable, offering a good amount of head- and legroom, though some rivals have back seats that are more spacious. Soft-touch surfaces and premium materials fill the cabin.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • heated front seats
  • 10-way power-adjustable front seats
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Ford Escape?

The Escape has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats, as well as a third tether anchor for the rear middle seat. A lower anchor can be borrowed from either side. The whole setup received the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

2018 Ford Escape Features

The available SYNC 3 infotainment system draws praise for its straightforward touch-screen interface. It has crisp graphics, quick responses, and easy-to-navigate menus. Smartphone users will appreciate its available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

  • Standard infotainment features: the SYNC connectivity system, 4.2-inch screen, USB port, Bluetooth, six-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: the SYNC 3 infotainment system, 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot, a navigation system, a ten-speaker Sony stereo, two more USB ports, HD Radio, and satellite radio
  • Other available features: Push-button start, proximity keyless entry, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic sunroof

See Ford Escape specs »

Read more about Escape interior »

2018 Ford Escape Dimensions

Ford Escape Cargo Space

This Ford has 34 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a total of 68 cubic feet of space with them folded down. Those figures are above average for the compact SUV class, eclipsing the cargo capacities of rivals like the 2018 Mazda CX-5. A hands-free power liftgate is available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Ford Escape Length and Weight
  • Length: 14 feet, 8 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,542 to 3,755 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Ford Escape Built?

Ford built this SUV in Kentucky.

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