Ride quality is adequately soft, and one of the areas where the Escape still shines.
Ford has just shown us the redesigned Escape, and it looks great. Even after it starts arriving in showrooms though, there will be incredible value in this outgoing model. The current model tested here dates back to 2013, after which all of the competition has advanced significantly. We jumped behind the wheel of a 2019 Ford Escape Titanium to see how this generation has aged, and Ford Canada obliged with a fully-optioned example.
Three powertrains are currently offered on the Escape, starting with a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder. Entry-level EcoBoost models get a 1.5L turbo-four while this tester was equipped with the most powerful option, a 2.0L turbocharged inline-four. This Escape puts out 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque, and goes up against the larger engine options in the Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox and Kia Sportage. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission, and while it’s a decent application, many rivals have moved on to CVTs, eight-speeds, and nine-speed automatics.
Thanks to the plentiful power of the EcoBoost, the Escape drives very well in both city and highway applications. There is some turbocharger lag initially evident, but once it’s spooled up, power delivery is snappy and moves the little crossover along with urgency. Those doing a lot of highway driving will want to opt for the 2.0L, as from our experience the smaller engine options get a bit wheezy at higher speeds. The turning radius is tight and makes for zippy maneuvers in the city; a welcome surprise considering this is a weak point on many Ford products.
Ride quality is adequately soft, and one of the areas where the Escape still shines even at the end of this model’s life cycle. It’s easy to drive and the suspension setup soaks up potholes with ease, even with the larger wheels equipped on our tester. Those who want additional guidance parking will enjoy the active park assist, which can physically turn the wheel and guide the Escape into either perpendicular or parallel parking spots. There is a learning curve to this, but once mastered, it’s a very easy party trick to use. Towing capacity for the 2.0L Escape is up to 3,500 pounds when equipped with the Class II towing package.
The area in which the Escape has aged the most is the interior. While there is sufficient connectivity through the SYNC 3 infotainment system that joined the line in 2016, the interior feels very dated when compared to the newer competition. While rear legroom and headroom is sufficient, front occupants are forced to endure an awkward driving position and a dashboard that juts out and makes for a rather claustrophobic experience. This is similar to the outgoing Focus, and big player rivals like the Honda CR-V (reviewed here) do a better job giving the driver a comfortable position.
Fuel economy for the 2019 Escape is rated at 11.5L/100km city and 8.7L/100km highway. Our test was on 87-octane regular fuel as most buyers will use, and saw about 500km of city driving with minimal highway mixed in. The observed average was 10.9L/100km, which is exactly what we expect from stiff competition such as the Subaru Forester (reviewed here) and Chevrolet Equinox. The 61L fuel tank is smaller than we’d like; road-tripping families could use some extra driving range between fuel-ups.
The Escape has a variety of trim levels, starting with the front-drive Escape S at $25,899. The top-level Titanium starts at $37,199 and comes standard with a variety of goodies such as heated leather seats, remote starter, heated steering wheel, 10-speaker audio system, and more. A Safe/Smart Roof Package for $2,500 adds a panoramic sunroof, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot information. A Class II tow package adds an extra $900 to the price, bringing it to just over $40,000. It’s about what the competition is charging, without factoring in the consistent incentives available through Ford.
From a styling perspective, the Escape has aged reasonably well. A mid-cycle refresh for the 2017 model year helped button things down considerably, and added some necessary technology updates as well. As mentioned though, the competition has advanced pretty quickly, so the 2019 Ford Escape Titanium definitely is sitting near the bottom end of the segment. Thankfully, Ford has announced the replacement model that should be going on sale very soon, and it rectifies almost all of the current one’s weaknesses. By this time next year, a favourite among many North American families will be replaced by yet another top-seller.