What makes the Ford Escape stand out in a crowd? In our eyes, it’s the varying power trains that the compact crossover, now in its 19th year, has to offer. That’s something you don’t see in other brands that fall in the same segment.
Though Ford nixed the six-cylinder and hybrid versions sometime back, there are still three four-cylinder engines to choose in this hot-seller: 2.5 liter with 168 horsepower; 1.5-liter turbo with 179 hp; or the potent 2.0-liter EcoBoost pumping out a respectable 240 hp. EcoBoost is essentially twin turbochargers and a smaller-displacement engine working in tandem with gasoline direct injection to produce a powerful but fuel-efficient engine. Getting power to the ground is a sprightly 6-speed automatic transmission. An independent front MacPherson strut and rear control blade suspension isolate occupants from road noise and imperfections to ensure a safe jaunt. Providing superb on-center feel to the driver is an electric power system.
Available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the sleek and attractive Escape, with active grill shutters, is roomier than ever before. Ambient lights welcome you as you step into the spacious cabin with its fine cloth or leather seats. Two instrument binnacles house round gauges for speedometer and tachometer with a centered trip computer, fuel and temperature readings. Standard are six-way driver and four-way manual front passenger seats, though with a top-level trim, you can get a 10-way power driver seat. Sync3, which accesses audio, telephone, navigation controls via a voice command, 4.2- or 8-inch touchscreen tap or button click, is simple to use. Storage areas are a dime a dozen: overhead sunglass holder, generous front center console with armrest and a 60/40 second-row seat that folds flat. Even if you keep the seat upright, you get 34 cubic feet of cargo space to store bags for a weekend trip. Place the second seat down and that opens up 68 cubic feet, more than enough for several pieces of luggage, golf clubs, picnic basket, and much more. The base model comes with a single-zone a/c and tilt/telescopic steering column, both of which are manual; power windows/door locks, and, an AM/FM audio system with six speakers.
A standard driver knee airbag is welcome in the Escape, a feature not found consistently in its segment. Also built in are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, AdvanceTrac with electronic stability and traction control, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.
Slotted below the Ford Edge and above the EcoSport, the eye-catching Escape (base-priced at $24,105 for the S and peaking at $32,620 for the top trim Titanium) displays superb agility and spirited character to result in a car-like drive. Plus, a thought-out interior and decent gas mileage (EPA estimates are 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway) will give its nearest contender a run for the money. Potential compact SUV buyers may want to give the Escape some serious consideration.
Wheelbase: 105.9 inches
Length: 178.1 inches
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 66.3 inches
Tow capacity: 3,500 pounds
Weight: 3,592 pounds
Fuel capacity: 15.7 gallons
Web site: FordOfWesleyChapel.com
Test drive the Escape at Parks Ford of Wesley Chapel, 28739 State Road 54, Wesley Chapel. For more information, call the dealership at (813) 907-7800.
Published January 16, 2019