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Ford Escape: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Illustration for article titled Ford Escape: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

The Ford Escape is a sensible crossover that offers tons of options and Ford’s handsome global face. What do you need to know before you buy a Ford Escape? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.


For years, we begged Ford to bring over the superior European crossover known as the Kuga and replace the more truck-like first-generation Escape. Ford listened, and we’re all better off because of it. While you’ll no longer mistake the Escape for an SUV, the more wagon/hatch design will age much better.

The Escape is a nice blend of comfort and performance, both in terms of efficiency and speed. When equipped with the 1.6-liter inline 4 the Escape manages 32 MPG highway and 26 MPG combined, which is good for this class of cars. If you check the box marked “2.0-liter turbo” you get 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, good enough for a 7.0-second run to 60 mph. If you check the box marked “2.5-liter four” you probably work for Hertz Rent-a-Car.


While not quite as lithe as the CX-5, the Escape is one of the better handling cars in this class and one of the most powerful. While it does pay the “SYNC tax” for having Ford’s much maligned electronic interface, the newer version isn’t actually that bad and it brings with it a lot of high tech features.

If you’re on the lower end of the market try to get a 1.6-liter SE model (skip the 2.5-liter S) at a reasonable price and you’ve got a lot of car for the price. Decide to upgrade to a Titanium package with the 2.0-liter turbo and you’ve got something that’s feels premium in a way that’s encroaching on territory normally held by Ze Germans.

What’s New About The 2016 Ford Escape:

Illustration for article titled Ford Escape: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

The current generation Ford Escape launched for the 2013 model year and hasn’t see many changes since. For 2016, Ford launches their new in-car communication system, SYNC 3, and there are a few new paint options, but the ‘16 is otherwise unchanged from last year’s model.

Powertrain Breakdown

Ford offers three engines in their Escape: A 1.6-liter turbocharged inline 4, a potent 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4, and the base engine, a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-4. Ford’s engine lineup is impressive and advanced for the segment. No other competitor offers two turbocharged inline 4 engines.


2016 Ford Escape Engine Options

EngineMax Horsepower (hp) Max Torque (lb-ft)
1.6L Turbo I4
178 @ 5700 rpm
184 @ 2500 rpm
2.0L Turbo I4
240 @ 5500 rpm
270 @ 3000 rpm
2.5L I4168 @ 6000 rpm170 @ 4500 rpm

Fuel Economy Breakdown

On the MPG front, the Escape does okay. The small 1.6-liter turbo manages to drink the least amount of fuel, while making middle-of-the-pack power. The potent 2.0-liter turbo scores similar fuel economy to the 2.5-liter, while cranking out over 70 more ponies. All engines can achieve 30 MPG highway when in 2WD guise, which is decent for the segment, though city and combined fuel economy ratings are well below other crossovers in the segment, like the Mazda CX-5.


2016 Ford Escape Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)

1.6L Turbo I42.0L Turbo I42.5L I4
Fuel Economy - Auto
23/32/26 [2wd]
22/29/25 [awd]
21/28/23 [awd]
22/31/25 [2wd]

Trim Level Breakdown

Illustration for article titled Ford Escape: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

All Escapes come with a multilink rear suspension with progressive rate springs, McPherson Strut front suspension, electric power steering, and 4-wheel disk brakes.

Escapes come in three trims: S, SE, and Titanium.

  • S: Base model. Starts at $22,960. Notable standard features: 6-speed automatic transmission, 2.5-liter I4 engine, cloth seats, 17 inch steel wheels, air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system, front and side airbags, 4.2 inch rearview camera, voice activated in-car communication system (SYNC). Notable options: 17 inch aluminum wheels ($595).
  • SE: Starts at $25,160. Notable standard features over sport: 1.6-liter turbo I4 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 17 inch aluminum wheels, power driver’s seat, satellite radio, vanity mirrors, unique exterior trim, fog lamps, dual exhaust tips, keyless entry keypad. Notable options: 2.5-liter I4 (-$300); 2.0-liter turbo I4 ( $1,195); 4-wheel drive ($1,750); SE Convenience Package: 8 inch rear view camera,more advanced in-car communication system (SYNC 3),9-speaker audio system, dual zone climate control, reverse sensing system, roof rack side rails ($1,395); SE Chrome Package: chrome exterior trim, partial leather-trimmed seats, 19 inch chrome wheels ($1,445); Leather comfort package: leather heated seats($1,595); Trailer Tow package for 2.0L only ($435); power panoramic roof ($1,495); power liftgate ($495)
  • Titanium: Starts at $29,245. Notable standard features over SE: 18 inch aluminum wheels, leather trimmed heated front seats with memory feature, power passenger’s seat, dual zone temperature control, Sony 10-speaker audio system with SYNC 3, foot activated liftgate, key-detecting vehicle access, remote start, leather wrapped shifter and steering wheel, unique grille and exterior trim, silver roof rack rails, reverse sensing system, 8 inch rearview camera. Notable options: 2.0-liter turbo I4 ($1,195); 4-wheel drive ($1,750); Trailer Tow package for 2.0L only ($435); Technology package: Active park assist, HID headlamps, forward sensing system, blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert, rain sensing wipers; trailer tow package,

Which One We’d Buy

The sweet spot for us is the Ford Escape SE with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost. At $25,160 (plus $895 destination fee), the SE with the smaller direct injection turbo mill is the lightest configuration of the bunch and offers the best fuel economy. The small turbo engine has good throttle response and all that low end torque makes it actually feel kinda quick. [Build Your Own]


Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $22,960 - $29,245 Max Advertised Towing Capability: 3,500 pounds [2.0L]

MPG: 23 city/ 32 hwy / 26 combined [2wd 1.6L]

Engines: 1.6-liter turbo I4, 2.0-liter turbo I4, 2.5-liter I4

Curb Weight: ~3,500-3,730 pounds IIHS Rating: Not A Top Safety Pick

Transmissions: 6-speed Automatic

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/AWD

Photo credit: Ford


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WARNING: All Ford Ecoboost cars VASTLY overrate their fuel economy. I know this because I own a 2014 Focus St that gets between 19 and 24 mpgs (Yes, even on long highway trips - 26 AT BEST!) and my work vehicle is a 2013 Escape with the 1.6 and gets between 22-25 AT BEST. Ford, you fail me and every other schmuck that buys into your fuel economy lies!