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2019 Ford Escape

$24,105 - $34,120
Price Range (MSRP)
Ford Escape

2019 Ford Escape Review: There's An Escape For Everyone

by Adam Lynton

The 2019 Ford Escape enters its sixth year as a third-gen model, and though possibly dated in its visual aesthetic, has received consistent and favorable upgrades over the years that have effectively supplemented its ability to stay relevant. With engine options ranging from a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four with outputs of 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque, to either a 179-hp, 177 lb-ft turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four or a 245-hp, 275 lb-ft 2.0-liter inline-four, the Escape can be had as either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive; there's an Escape for just about everyone. The compact crossover SUV is a practical and efficient everyday commuter and is modestly outfitted with enough contemporary tech and active safety features to accommodate most modern families, at least in the upper-tier trims. But the segment is a competitive one, and with the ever-popular and class dominating Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 as rivals, the Escape has a lot to prove.

2019 Ford Escape Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Escape?

For 2019, the standard features and optional packages have been reshuffled; Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system, one-touch-up/down power windows, remote start, and keyless entry and push-button ignition are now standard from the SE trim line upward. The SEL now comes standard with ActiveX seating material, and the LED taillamps, single CD player, and paddle shifters have been deleted from the standard features list. Three new hues are added to the exterior color palette; Agate Black, Baltic Sea Green, and Sedona Orange, replacing Blue, Cinnamon Glaze, Shadow Black, and White Gold which have been removed from the palette for 2019.

Pros and Cons

  • Potent 2.0-liter engine
  • Nimble handling dynamics
  • Contemporary infotainment system
  • Appealing standard and optional features
  • Impressive trunk and cargo capacity
  • Lackluster 1.5-liter engine
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • Dated interior impression

Escape Exterior

The Escape looks like your typical crossover SUV; every trim features a two-bar chrome grille and fitted black cladding integrated to the wheel arches and front and rear diffusers. While the S and SE have halogen reflector headlamps and configurable daytime running lights (and fog lamps on the SE), the SEL is fitted with halogen projector-beam headlamps with non-configurable LED signature lamps and black roof-rack side rails. At the top of the range, the Titanium has bi-xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps and silver roof-rack side rails. The S line rides on 17-inch Sparkle Silver-painted steel wheels, which are swapped out for alloys on the SE and SEL. 19-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels fill the arches of the Titanium.

2019 Ford Escape Front View
2019 Ford Escape Rear View
2019 Ford Escape Front View
See All 2019 Ford Escape Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Ford Escape is a compact crossover SUV and is considerably more compact than the Ford Edge, which falls under the mid-size SUV classification. With a length of 178.1 inches, the Escape is more than ten inches shorter than the Edge, it's lower than the Edge by two inches with a height of 66.3 inches, and narrower by three inches with a width of 72.4 inches. The Escape's wheelbase is tighter by six-odd inches at 105.9 inches. Curb weights range from 3,552 in the base front-wheel-drive Escape trim to 3,755 lbs in the all-wheel-drive top-tier trim, that's around 400 lbs lighter than the Edge lineup.

Exterior Colors

With Agate Black, Baltic Sea Green, and Sedona Orange, replacing Blue, Cinnamon Glaze, Shadow Black, and White Gold, a total of nine hues comprise the 2019 exterior color palette. Other color options include Magnetic, Ingot Silver, and Lightning Blue. Ruby Red, available for all but the S, holds a $395 additional charge, White Platinum costs $595 extra. The Ruby Red contrasts nicely with the chrome exterior accents of the Escape along with the black lower-body cladding and is worth the extra initial outlay.

  • Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
  • White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat
  • Baltic Sea Green Metallic
  • Oxford White
  • Sedona Orange Metallic
  • Magnetic Metallic
  • Lightning Blue Metallic
  • Agate Black Metallic
  • Ingot Silver Metallic

Escape Performance

The available 2.0-liter turbo four-pot engine accelerates the Escape from 0-60 mph in an average 6.9 seconds with the FWD system and 6.7 seconds in AWD guise to make it the quickest Escape in the range. But it still can't outrun a turbocharged Mazda CX-5. Fitting the Class II Trailer Tow Package avails the Escape with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs, which is not bad for this segment. Unfortunately, the only way to that engine is via the range-topping luxe Titanium trim. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-pot, as well as the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-pot both haul the Escape from 0-60 mph in a slow 9.1 seconds - even longer with the AWD at 9.4 seconds.

As with most rivals, the Escape is available with either a front-wheel-drive system or all-wheel-drive system. The base S trim comes solely in front-wheel configuration, while the three subsequent trims can be optioned with either the standard front-wheel-drive setup or an all-wheel-drivetrain instead.

2019 Ford Escape Front View Driving
2019 Ford Escape Rear View
2019 Ford Escape 1.5L I4 Turbo Engine

Engine and Transmission

The Escape is available with three engine choices, with availability based on the trim you choose. The base Escape S is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder developing 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque, while the SE and SEL get a turbocharged 1.5-liter developing 179 hp and 177 lb-ft. Exclusive to the Titanium is a 2.0-liter turbo four-pot developing 245 hp and 275 lb-ft. Regardless of which engine your Escape is equipped with, a six-speed automatic gearbox is standard on all, with auto start-stop functionality equipped on the 1.5 and 2.0-liter options.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot engine is the ideal option, dealing out peak outputs to either the Escape's standard FWD or optional AWD system. The engine delivers snappy responses and adequate power throughout, whether pulling off from a standstill to getting up to speed and overtaking on the highway. There are no bouts of turbo-lag either, though the stock gearbox is somewhat of a downer; shift-points feel incoherent, and responses are generally slow - traits that are carried throughout the Escape lineup.

Though more powerful than the naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, off-the-line responses and power delivery from the 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder are rather unenthusiastic; it's only at the mid-range where the turbo spools up that responses and power delivery improve, feeling tangibly peppy and quick. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine performs the worst of the lost, suited only to about-town driving rather than high-way bombing.

  • Engines
    1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Escape offers some decent capability in the way of handling. Despite its tall ride height, and although its all-season tires don't offer the best levels of grip, it manages to stay competently composed and planted when driven reasonably. It's even a little spirited and offers some fun-to-drive characteristics at times. However, it's dull and uncommunicative steering, along with its unrefined transmission, hamper its sporting potential. The brakes are otherwise easy to modulate in all driving scenarios and deliver smooth, linear stopping power without feeling too grabby. For the little handling capability that the Escape does offer, it has still taken quite a compromise in overall ride comfort. The Escape's firm suspension tuning makes for notably bumpy and audible rides over most road imperfections and undulations.

The Honda CR-V strikes a finer balance between favorable handling capability and comfortable ride quality. With a 7.8-inch ride height, however, the Escape offers some appealing off-road capability, better than many of its rivals in fact. That's not to say it should be taken off-road for enjoyment, only to state its reasonable competence in dealing with unkept dirt roads and climbing small obstructions if need be. The all-wheel-drive system adds some clear benefits in all-weather driving conditions, but the added weight does somewhat slow acceleration.

Escape Gas Mileage

None of the Escape's engines are particularly competitive in terms of efficiency, with rivals offering better estimates than even the best of the Escape's capability. The 1.5-liter turbo four-pot is the most efficient of the options; with the front-wheel-drivetrain equipped, drivers can expect 23/30/26 mpg city/highway/combined, 22/28/24 mpg with the all-wheel-drivetrain equipped, and traverse a total of 408 miles on one 15.7-gallon fill up.

The 2.0-liter turbo four-pot returns 22/29/25 mpg with the FWD system fitted, and 21/27/23 mpg as all-wheel-drive. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder is equipped with front-wheel-drive only and returns estimates of 21/29/24 mpg.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.7 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/29 mpg
* 2019 Ford Escape S FWD

Escape Interior

The overall build quality of the Escape is admirable for a crossover SUV in its price category. The interior, though not opulent, is properly fixed and fitted with durable materials that suit the Escape's character as a light adventure vehicle. The quality of the seating upholstery specifically, improves with each trim level - the Titanium, as the apex trim, features genuine leather-appointed seats. There's ample overall passenger room throughout, and the seats are decently comfy and - with the exception of the center rear seat - spacious too. The premium ten-speaker Sony audio system is the infotainment highlight from the Escape lineup, found only in the Titanium as standard, coupled with HD Radio connectivity.

2019 Ford Escape Dashboard
2019 Ford Escape Front Seats
2019 Ford Escape Driver Seat
See All 2019 Ford Escape Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

There is seating for up to five occupants in the Escape, though the rear center seat proves only suitable for a small child; four adults will otherwise fit comfortably. While there's only cloth seating upholstery in the S and SE, there's upgraded ActiveX upholstery available in the mid-tier trims and leather upholstery in the Titanium. The seats themselves, with any of the seating upholstery, offer all-day comfort. They are thinly padded, but offer reasonable support and decent adjustability. A range of seating positions is made available through sufficiently adjustable seats and steering column, and though forward and side-line visibility is fine, the rear seat headrests impede on rearward visibility somewhat. Fortunately, the upper-tier trims do come outfitted with a reverse sensing system as standard, which makes things easier.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Chromite Gray/Charcoal Black cloth-appointed seating is standard in the S and SE, with Medium Light Stone Cloth optional for the SE, along with partial leather seating in Chromite Gray/Charcoal Black. ActiveX seating upholstery is standard on the SEL, featured in either Chromite Gray/Charcoal Black or Medium Light Stone, while genuine leather upholstery, also available in those two color variations, is standard in the Titanium. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are included in the SEL and Titanium along with ambient interior lighting in the Titanium.

Escape Trunk and Cargo Space

The Escape's 34 cubic foot trunk is decent for the class, offering enough space for your monthly grocery run, and with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats folded down, that space doubles to 68 cubic feet and offering a decent level of storage versatility too. A power liftgate is featured on the SEL, while the Titanium offers added convenience with a hands-free foot-activated liftgate. The base figure is decent but not the best in class, with the CR-V proffering 39.2 cubic feet. However, the Ford can still swallow a family's vacation luggage without too much trouble.

There's plenty of in-cabin storage solutions as well, with bottle-holder integrated door-side pockets on all four doors, a moderately sized center armrest console, a typical passenger-side glovebox, a couple of small center console compartments, dual cupholders in the front, and - from the SE trim and upwards - a seatback map pocket on each front seat.

2019 Ford Escape Maximum Cargo Space
2019 Ford Escape Cargo Area
2019 Ford Escape Maximum Cargo Space

Escape Infotainment and Features

Features

The base Escape S has most of the necessities expected from a budget-friendly vehicle such as a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, six-way manually-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, manual climate control, and a manual liftgate. It also has a standard rearview camera, MyKey responsible-driving technology, SOS post-crash alert, AdvanceTrac with RSC, and tire pressure monitoring. The SE comes with a few more luxuries such as a remote start system, Intelligent Access with push-button start, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat. The SEL only ups the ante with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power liftgate, and a reverse sensing system. The Titanium compounds on luxury, coming standard with driver's seat memory settings, heated steering wheel, ten-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat, ambient interior lighting, a hands-free foot-activated liftgate, and universal garage door opener. Driver aids on the top-spec variant include enhanced active park assist with parallel parking, park out assist, reverse perpendicular parking, and forward and side sensing systems.

Infotainment

The base Escape S is the only trim that doesn't get Ford's favored SYNC 3 infotainment system. The base SYNC system it is equipped with allows for voice recognition, Bluetooth, 911 Assist, and AppLink smartphone integration at least, but is not Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatible. Both smartphone interfaces are included on the more advanced SYNC 3 system of the remaining trims. The S is outfitted with a 4.2-inch LCD display tethered to a six-speaker audio system with a CD player and single USB port. The SE and SEL upgrade to an eight-inch LCD touchscreen and receive FordPass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, SiriusXM connectivity, and an additional USB smart-charge port. A voice-activated navigation system with integrated SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, as well as a ten-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio connectivity, come standard in the Titanium.

Escape Problems and Reliability

Expectations are high for the Ford Escape with J.D. Power giving the 2019 year model an above-average predicted reliability rating of three and a half out of five - a suitable rating considering that there have been no recalls for the 2019 Ford Escape. Most of the driver complaints logged online pertain to a variety of menial issues. Ford does offer some security as well; covering all new Escape models with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. That's a pretty standard level of coverage for a vehicle within the segment, with similar deals offered by most rival manufacturers.

Escape Safety

Though the Escape's safety ratings are decent, they're not as good as what most of its class rivals have received. The NHTSA gave it an overall safety rating of five out of five, and the IIHS issued top scores of Good for only four of the six specific crashworthiness evaluations.

Key Safety Features

The standard safety consignment for the Escape is rather scant, containing only a rearview camera, cruise control, and MyKey parental controls. A reverse parking system is thrown in from the SEL upward, and enhanced active park assist with parallel parking, park out assist, reverse perpendicular parking, and forward and side sensing systems are installed to the Titanium as standard. If you're looking for blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, or lane-keeping assist, however, you'll have to option the available Ford Safe & Smart Package, which contains those along with a few other items.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Ford Escape a good SUV?

The Ford Escape is a decent vehicle: it offers fun and capable handling, good practicality, and reasonable comfort. The 2.0-liter turbo four-pot is the better engine of the lot but is only available on the Titanium. However, the 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder isn't too bad and is available on the more affordable and yet well-equipped SEL trim. General fuel-economy estimates from the lineup aren't very impressive, but are on par for the competitive segment, as are the acceleration times offered by the three powertrain setups. The Escape features an appealing selection of modern features and functionalities too. It's also a favorable, safe daily commuter and received good overall safety scores from both key authorities. Many of the Escape's rivals are better all-rounders, however, as the Escape compromises significantly on ride comfort for a somewhat menial level of handling capability. Where it does outshine its rivals, though, is in its high-level of practicality and versatility, offering a decent amount of trunk room and an unmatched maximum towing capacity.

What's the Price of the 2019 Ford Escape?

The Escape S trim is packaged as a very base-level option aimed predominantly at fleet owners or ride-service providers; as such, it's priced in the lineup with a budget-friendly MSRP of $24,105. Thus, for the private vehicle owner, the SE can be considered the entry point to the range with an MSRP of $26,500. The SEL, in the middle of the lineup, holds an MSRP of $28,445, while the range-topping Titanium has a sticker price of $32,620. These prices are all exclusive of Ford's $1,095 destination charge, $645 acquisition fee, as well as tax, registration, and licensing fees.

2019 Ford Escape Models

There are four trims comprising the Escape lineup; the base-level Escape S, equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine powering a default front-wheel-drivetrain. The Escape SE and SEL follow, equipped with a 1.5-liter turbo four-pot engine, the SE with a FWD system, the SEL with either a FWD or AWD system. At the top of the range is the Escape Titanium, equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, available as FWD or AWD. All trims are serviced by a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Escape S is fitted with a manual tilt & telescoping steering wheel, six-way manually-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, manual climate control, and a manual liftgate. A 4.2-inch LCD display with SYNC infotainment functionality and AM/FM stereo with MP3 capability is standard, along with a six-speaker audio setup. A rearview camera, MyKey responsible-driving technology, SOS post-crash alert, AdvanceTrac with RSC, and tire pressure monitoring cover the safety features.

The SE boasts a few cosmetic differences and gets Intelligent Access with push-button start, a remote start system, a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and FordPass Connect Wi-Fi hotspot capability. The infotainment setup is upgraded to an eight-inch LCD touchscreen with SYNC 3 functionality, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Mid-tier is the SEL, equipped with black roof-rack side rails, heated side-view mirrors, a power liftgate, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob inside. A reverse sensing system and LED lighting are added.

The Titanium adds to the existing features by fitting a ten-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat, driver's seat memory settings, ambient interior lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated steering wheel, a universal garage door opener, and a premium Sony audio system.

Enhanced Active Park Assist features are standard fare on this trim.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,105
SE
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$26,500
SEL
1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$28,445
Titanium
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$32,620
See All 2019 Ford Escape Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Available for all but the S trim is a Ford Safe and Smart Package, which comprises adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning with brake support, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto high-beam headlamps, a blind-spot information system with cross-traffic alert, a lane-keeping system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a windshield wiper de-icer.

The SE can also be optioned with an SE Sport Appearance Package for 19-inch premium

Ebony Black-painted aluminum wheels, black front fender vents, roof-rack side rails, beltline moldings, gloss black-painted head, and taillamp bezels, side-view mirror caps, upper grille, and skid plates, halogen projector-beam headlamps with LED signature lamps, partial leather-trimmed sport seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. A similar Sport Appearance Package is available for the SEL as well.

Optional for the SEL only is a Sun and Style Package which includes 18-inch Sparkle Silver-painted aluminum wheels and a panoramic sunroof.

There's a 2.0L EcoBoost Class II Trailer Tow Package available for the Titanium which equips it with a Class II hitch receiver, Trailer Sway Control, and auxiliary transmission oil cooler to accord the Escape with class-leading towing capacity. A panoramic sunroof is included in the Ford Safe and Smart Package for the Titanium only.

What Ford Escape Model Should I Buy?

With the SEL being equipped with the most fuel-efficient powertrain and offering a choice between a FWD or AWD system, we believe it to be the ideal trim option. It's also not much more expensive than the SE trim below it, and considerably cheaper than the Titanium trim above it. It comes standard with all the necessities and features which the lower-tier trims have, as well as favorable luxuries and conveniences that they don't - including a power liftgate and roof-rack side rails. We suggest including the available Ford Safe and Smart Package for the numerous beneficial driver-assist features it contains. However, if you require maximum towing capacity, only the Titanium will do, and you must equip the Trailer Tow Package.

Check out other Ford Escape Styles?

2019 Ford Escape Comparisons

2019 Ford Escape
2019 Ford Escape

2019 Ford Escape vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V tops the class leaderboard as one of the all-round best compact crossover SUVs and is the Escape's most respected rival. It's similarly priced to the Escape and also offers a selection between naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines, none more powerful than the 2.0-liter offered in the Escape lineup, but considerably more economical; the CR-V's 1.5-liter turbo four-pot returning 28/34/30 mpg on the EPA drive cycles, with even the least economical CR-V besting the Escape. Additionally, the CR-V boasts a trunk capacity just upwards of five cubic feet more than the Escape's, although towing 2,000 lbs less. Thus, which vehicle offers greater practicality will come down to the individual buyer's personal requirements. The CR-V received better safety ratings than the Escape and even earned a designation of Top Safety Pick for 2019; it also comes standard with a greater selection of driver-aids and active safety equipment. Both offer about the same value in the way of features, but the CR-V just strikes a balance between handling and comfort exceptionally, which the Escape utterly misses. That, along with the few other areas in which the CR-V dominates, makes it the better all-rounder.

See Honda CR-V Review

2019 Ford Escape vs Ford Edge

For around $5,000 more, prospective buyers can opt for the larger, more capable Ford Edge. The Edge lineup offers a more robust V6 engine option that accelerates the Edge from 0-60 mph in a full second faster than the best performing Escape can, but is marginally less economical. There are also five cubic feet more trunk space offered in the Edge too, and an equal maximum towing capacity that is, however, offered on all but the base trim. In contrast, the Escape offers its best towing capability only on the range-topping trim. The Edge received slightly better safety ratings from the IIHS in two of its evaluations, and the entire Edge lineup comes with the Ford Co-Pilot 360 safety and driver-assist suite as standard. There are some luxuries in the Edge that the Escape does not get the option to, but for the most part, the Escape can be outfitted with most of what the Edge has to offer in terms of features. Purely for the Edge's more capable engine options, specifically the ST's 2.7-liter V6, we give it our vote.

See Ford Edge Review

Ford Escape Popular Comparisons

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