$16,482 - $23,427

2018 Ford Escape Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

The 2018 Ford Escape is near the head of the compact SUV class in terms of performance. Its engines deliver quick acceleration, and it has nimble handling on winding roads. The downside of the Escape’s sporty performance is that it gets worse fuel economy than many competitors.

  • "The turbo four-cylinder gives the Escape rapid acceleration. Unlike many competitors, the Escape also feels lively going around turns. The transmission is a smooth operator as well." -- Edmunds
  • "As a whole, compact SUVs aren't particularly exciting or engaging to drive, which is how the outgoing Escape distinguished itself, providing sophisticated ride and handling plus powertrains that favored performance and punchiness over pokey, fuel-saving numbness. In the 2017, incremental updates improve on those characteristics." -- Cars.com (2017)
  • "We couldn't really autocross the thing, but it is more fun to drive than arch-competitors like the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4." -- Autoweek (2017)

Acceleration and Power

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 168 horsepower comes standard in the Ford Escape. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and produces pretty good acceleration.

Two larger engines are available: a 179-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder and a 245-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. These engines are much more energetic, and the 245-horsepower engine makes merging and passing on the highway a piece of cake. These two engines also feature a stop-start system to conserve fuel.

Speaking of fuel, the base engine’s mileage is worse than many other class rivals’. It earns 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Though they’re more powerful, the larger engines are also more efficient. The middle engine returns 23/30 mpg city/highway, and the most powerful engine gets 22/29 mpg.

  • "The turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is powerful, and it makes accelerating up to highway speeds and passing slow-moving traffic a breeze. In our testing, an Escape Titanium accelerated from zero to 60 mph in an impressively quick 7.1 seconds." -- Edmunds
  • "We found plenty to like, however, with the 179-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that comes standard on SE and Titanium models. … Extremely quiet and smooth, the 1.5 accelerates to freeway speeds with acceptable gusto, even with three adults aboard. Nice as it is, though, we'd happily spend another $1295 to put the heavily revised 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbo four under the hood. With output increased to 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque …, the gutsiest Escape's more authoritative acceleration comes with a mere 1-mpg penalty in the EPA's combined fuel-economy rating compared with the 1.5." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "Both of the Escape's turbocharged engines come with new stop-start technology for 2017, a fuel-saving measure that even luxury cars struggle to perfect. The Escape's stop-start feature is one of the smoother implementations out there, so seamless that I didn't feel the need to immediately defeat the feature at startup as in so many other vehicles." -- Cars.com (2017)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive comes standard in the Escape, and all-wheel drive is available. It’s also more athletic than nearly every other vehicle in the class. The steering is sharp, making it easy to take full advantage of this Ford’s dynamic handling. The well-tuned suspension also keeps the ride smooth.

  • "The Escape has a surprisingly comfy ride – surprising because it trades off very little in the way of ride quality in return for its excellent handling." -- Edmunds
  • "[The Escape] … was clearly one of the finest dynamic choices in the class after its complete makeover for the 2013 model year, and our stints behind the wheel of three different 2017 vehicles (one SE and two Titaniums) suggest the Escape will continue to happily play tag with the Mazda CX-5 on twisty commuter routes." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "The Escape's handling has earned good marks for years, and the 2017 holds the line in that department." -- Autoblog (2017)

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