2018 Ford Escape

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MSRP: $23,940 - 33,490

2018 Ford Escape Review

Thanks to its eye-catching interior, solid overall performance, high safety scores, and great predicted reliability rating, the 2018 Ford Escape ranks near the top of the compact SUV class.

8.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 7.9
Safety: 9.1
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty handling
  • Premium interior with user-friendly tech
  • Good safety score and great predicted reliability rating
  • Above-average cargo space
  • Unimpressive fuel economy

New for 2018

  • New SEL trim
  • 245-horsepower, turbo-four engine available in the Titanium trim

Is the Ford Escape a Good SUV?

The Ford Escape is one of the more fun-to-drive SUVs in the compact SUVs class, making it a great choice for spirited drivers. Handling is sporty, and upper trim levels have lively turbocharged engines.

Even if good performance isn't a top concern when looking for an SUV, the Escape is suitable in many other areas. There's plenty of space in the first and second rows, which isn't always the case with compact SUVs. In addition, this compact crossover has a nice cabin layout, numerous tech features, above-average cargo space, and good safety and predicted reliability ratings. Yet, some rivals get better fuel economy ratings.

Should I Buy the Ford Escape?

While the Ford Escape is a good SUV, it may not fit everyone's needs. In terms of value, the Escape isn't the best option. It's fun to drive and has a well-crafted interior, but many competitors have standard features that are only available in the Escape's higher trim levels.

Besides performance, the Honda CR-V is comparable or better than the Escape in every aspect. The Toyota RAV4 has a higher starting price, but it comes with many more features than the Escape. When similarly outfitted, the RAV4 actually costs less. If you're looking for an SUV with great value, these two rivals are great alternatives. 

Compare the Escape, RAV4, and CR-V »

Should I Buy a New or Used Ford Escape?

Ford made a couple of changes to the Escape for 2018, but they aren’t that significant. There's a new SEL trim that slots between the SE and top-of-the-line Titanium models, splitting the price difference and adding some features that were optional in the SE for 2017 (like leather seats and the SYNC 3 infotainment system). Additionally, for 2018, you can only get the Escape's most powerful 245-horsepower turbocharged engine in the Titanium trim, whereas it was optional in the 2017 SE and Titanium models. 

If you're open to driving a used car, you can likely save thousands of dollars and still get a comparable vehicle by shopping for a used Escape. You'll want to focus your search on at least a 2016 model, which is when Ford got rid of the much-maligned MyFord Touch infotainment system. The replacement SYNC 3 system functions smoother than MyFord Touch, and it is generally easier to use. A 2017 model is an even better bet, since it enjoyed refreshed interior and exterior styling, a new 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 5-horsepower increase in the largest engine, and a fuel-saving stop-start feature for the turbocharged engines.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 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 2016, 2017, and 2018 Ford Escape »

We Did the Research for You: 56 Reviews Analyzed

Head to the dealer with confidence by using our car reviews to do your research ahead of time. We combine professional opinions with analytical data to create a complete picture of every vehicle we rank. For the 2018 Ford Escape, we analyzed 56 other reviews. This 2018 Ford Escape review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2013 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been crafting unbiased car rankings and reviews for a decade, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To ensure objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Ford Escape Cost?

Some rival compact SUVs cost less than $20,000, while others are in the high-$20,000s, which puts the Escape's roughly $24,000 MSRP right in the middle of the pack. The Escape SE and SEL are middle trims that offer more features. The high-end Titanium is the best-equipped Escape, but you'll have to pay up for it. The Titanium trim starts at over $32,000, and it gets into the $35,000 range once you start adding optional features.

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 Honda CR-V?

With additional rear-seat legroom and more than 75 cubic feet of cargo space, the Honda CR-V is the better compact SUV. To get all-wheel drive in the Escape, you'll have choose one of the higher trim levels. With the CR-V, however, it's available in the base trim. The CR-V is also much more fuel-efficient than the Escape. Nonetheless, there are some favorable similarities between the two, such as a comfortable ride quality and an attractive interior. Additionally, both also offer a touch-screen infotainment system, which is easy to use and employs physical control knobs for audio and temperature. In terms of performance, the Escape has an advantage. The CR-V suffers from meager engine power and reluctant acceleration. Still, it’s the superior vehicle on most other accounts. 

Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4 has more cargo space than the Escape, but its mediocre performance places it in the middle of our compact SUV rankings. Despite its middle-of-the-pack ranking, this Toyota has more standard features than its Ford rival. The RAV4’s base trim comes with a touch-screen infotainment system. It also has advanced safety features like automatic high beams, lane departure warning, pre-collision alert with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. The Escape starts at a lower price, but when similarly equipped, the RAV4 costs less. When it comes to driving dynamics, interior comfort and build quality, the Escape is superior. If you're looking for an SUV with better value, go for the RAV4.

Compare the Escape, CR-V, and RAV4 »

Escape Interior

How Many People Does the Escape Seat?

The Ford Escape seats five people. The front seats are wide and provide enough support to keep you comfortable on all-day drives. The rear seats aren’t as big as those in rivals like the Honda CR-V, but they still have ample head- and legroom.

Escape and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the Escape. The lower anchors are set a bit deep in the seat, and the tether anchors can be confused with other hardware if you don’t look closely.

Escape Interior Quality

There are plenty of high-end materials throughout the Escape’s attractive cabin, and the interior feels more posh than many rivals’.

Escape Cargo Space

With the rear seats in use, the Escape has 34 cubic feet of cargo space – enough to pack gear for a trip to the beach or camping. Fold the rear seats down, and you’ll have nearly 70 cubic feet of space. That’s enough room to move many furniture items.

Escape Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Escape include Ford's MyKey, Ford's voice-activated SYNC infotainment interface, and a six-speaker stereo.

Available features include a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker Sony stereo, satellite radio, navigation, and the SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The available SYNC 3 system has intuitive menus and responds quickly to inputs. Ford’s MyKey comes standard, letting you set speed and volume limits if you want to let your kids (or your less trustworthy friends) borrow your car.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Escape Performance

Escape Engine: 3’s Company

The Escape has three four-cylinder engines to choose from. The base engine puts out 168 horsepower. The two available engines are turbocharged and put out 179 and 245 horsepower, respectively.

The base engine has decent power and acceleration, but the two turbocharged engines are livelier. The 245-horsepower engine makes it easy to merge and pass on the highway.

Escape Gas Mileage: A Bit Disappointing

The Ford Escape’s gas mileage won’t blow you away. It earns 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with the base engine. However, those ratings jump to 23/30 mpg city/highway with the 1.5-liter turbo-four (the most fuel-efficient Escape engine).

Those ratings pale beside the Honda CR-V’s. The CR-V earns 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway and will save you about $100-$200 in gas money per year compared to the Ford engines listed above.

Escape Ride and Handling: Agility to Spare

If you want a fun-to-drive SUV, then the Escape should be high on your list. It is agile and has sharp steering, and the suspension aids handling while keeping the ride cushioned over most road surfaces.

Read more about performance »

Escape Reliability

Is the Ford Escape Reliable?

The 2018 Escape has a great predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Ford Escape Warranty

The Ford Escape’s warranty is similar to that of most other compact SUVs. It’s 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 2018 Ford Escape earned a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Escape a rating of Good (the highest rating) in four categories. However, the Escape earned an Acceptable rating (second-highest) in the driver-side small overlap front test and a Poor rating (the lowest) in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

Escape Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the Escape. Available active safety features include automatic parking, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and assisted pre-collision braking.

Read more about safety »

Which Ford Escape Model Is Right for Me?

The Ford Escape comes in four trims and has three engine choices. In the base trim – the Escape S – you can’t add much beyond the standard features, so that's not a great buy for most people. It also has the weakest and least fuel-efficient engine, so you probably don't want the S trim anyway.

The higher trims feature a turbo-four engine and come with more standard features. They also offer plenty of infotainment and driver assistance features. The Escape SE is the best value in this lineup because it's available with many of the most enticing features while still carrying a lower base price than the SEL or Titanium trims.

The Titanium trim is the only one to offer the 245-horsepower turbo-four engine. It's the most engaging engine in the lineup, but it also forces you to shell out considerably more money than you'd pay for a well-equipped SE trim. Prices for the Titanium trim can easily creep above $35,000, so unless you really want that top engine, stick with a middle trim.

Ford Escape S

The base trim is the Escape S, which has a starting price of $23,850. It features a 168-horsepower four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. Beyond the standard features, you can't get much in this trim.

Ford Escape SE

The Escape SE has a starting price around $25,600. It comes with a 179-horsepower turbo-four engine. In addition to the S' features, the SE comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and satellite radio.

This is the lowest trim to offer all-wheel drive and a panoramic sunroof. These features cost you $995 and $1,750, respectively.

There are also two option packages that cost about $1,300. These add features like leather upholstery, heated front seats, and blind spot monitoring. Standalone add-ons include navigation for about $800 and the SYNC 3 infotainment system for about $900.

Ford Escape SEL

The Escape SEL is a new trim for the 2018 model year and starts at about $28,000. In addition to the SE's standard features, the SEL comes with leather upholstery, a power liftgate, and the SYNC 3 infotainment system. Many of the same features are available, as well as a few additional driver assistance options.

Ford Escape Titanium

The Escape Titanium is the highest trim, and it has a starting price around $32,045. The Titanium features the same 179-horsepower engine and comes standard with most of the features that are optional in lower trims. It also comes standard with a 10-speaker Sony audio system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. There's an optional equipment package for about $1,300 that includes features such as lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control with pre-collision braking.

The Titanium trim is the only one available with the 245-horsepower turbo-four engine.

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 2018 Ford Escape specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Ford Escape is a good SUV that provides plenty of driving enjoyment, and its cabin is among the nicest in the class. For these reasons and others, the Escape finishes near the top of our compact SUV rankings. There’s a lot to like about this Ford, but keep in mind that you’ll have to step up in trim level to get all the features you want, which makes the Escape less cost-effective than some competitors. This is still a vehicle worth buying, but comparison shopping may lead you to something you like even better.

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

  • "Overall, the Escape excels in some areas and falls short in others. With its turbo four-cylinder, quick (if twitchy) steering, and tight suspension, the Escape is one of the more engaging compact SUVs to drive, only outmatched by the Mazda CX-5. Large cargo space and an excellent tech interface are other advantages. On the other hand, the Escape isn't quite as refined as the Honda or Mazda, its 'fun' engine is only available on its top trim level, and that 'fun' engine doesn't return particularly impressive fuel economy. But generally we think the 2018 Escape's qualities outweigh its flaws and deserves a close look from anyone interested in a compact SUV." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2017 Ford Escape is a big improvement on what was an already remarkable crossover, and the customer-focused changes pay dividends to the Escape faithful. We can't predict if the upgrades and equipment differentiators will be enough for Ford's compact entry to claw back the sales deficit to the RAV4 and CR-V …, but the new Escape is an excellent weapon to begin the fight back to the top." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • "Neat technology is what people want nowadays, true, but they also want a responsive ride with a comfortable, practical interior. The Escape has all of the above, but so do so many competitors. With a starting price of $23,600, $25,100 for an SE and $29,100 for a range-topping Titanium, it's well priced to maintain its position; it's also a great time to be a compact-SUV shopper." -- Autoweek (2017)
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