It’s been a number of years since I last tested a Ford Escape. I’ve always liked the look of the Escape, but every time I’ve driven one I came away completely unimpressed and very disappointed. That changed this week when I jumped behind the wheel of the 2019 Titanium. My immediate first impression was “gotta get me one of these!” So why this Escape? What’s different – what made it so much better? Let’s take a look…
What Is It?
- Mid-size SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) – this one definitely deserves to have SPORT included in the moniker
- Four available models: S, SE, SEL and Titanium
- 2.0L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost engine producing 245 hp and 275 lb-ft. of torque
- All models come with a 6-Speed SelectShift Automatic Transmission
- Auto Start-Stop
- Maximum Towing Capacity – 1,587 kg (3,500 lbs) with Class II Trailer Tow Package ($800)
- I like the look of the Escape and the size is just about perfect – not too big, not too small
- Test model came in the unique Baltic Sea Green colour – much different from your usual boring silver/white/black/grey variety
- The rims on the test vehicle come standard with the Titanium and I think they look great
What’s It Like Inside?
- Centre dash is attractive and all you need to operate it are quickly found
- The almost horizontal placement of the stereo takes a bit of getting used to
- The seats are very comfortable (can’t say that about previous Escapes)
- Sony Audio System with 10 speakers – sound is really good, but very few adjustments are available to really make it rock
- Abundance of legroom for rear passengers – virtually flat floor, plus the seat backs recline
- Leather-trimmed heated front seats, with 10-way power driver and passenger seats – OMG… the passenger gets a comfy seat too!
- 3-Person Driver’s Seat & Mirror Memory – Finally!!
- Tonneau Cover – $150!? Shouldn’t that come standard? – Oddly, we never felt that we actually needed/wanted it, so Ford are really on to something here…
- Cargo space is 34 cu-ft. (962 L) or with rear seat backs folded flat it gives 68 cu-ft. (1,925 L) of total space
- And a glovebox that can actually fit more than one glove in!!
- It’s pretty quick – I wasn’t expecting it when I jumped behind the wheel for the first time – wow!
- The 2.0L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost engine is a treat to drive with virtually no turbo lag – press the pedal and you go
- In Sport mode it’s incredibly responsive – all the way to the red line
- Very quiet and hushed interior – definitely not like previous Escapes
- Steering input is very good
- It feels very planted – more like a sports car than an SUV, I didn’t expect to have so much fun with the Escape
- The shift lever is perfectly placed for knocking it left/right and using it in sport mode to shift and actually have some fun instead of the stupid toggle button on the shifter that Ford insist on putting in their vehicles! At the very least gimme some paddle shifters!
- Brakes are superb, they just grab and stop the Escape without any fuss
Horsepower: 245 @ 5,550 rpm (Premium Fuel)
Torque: 275 @ 3,000 rpm (Premium Fuel)
Top Speed: 226 km/h / 140 mph
0 -100 km/h (sec): 7.3 seconds (estimate)
0-60 mph (sec): 6.9 (estimate)
The Ford Escape base pricing starts at a reasonable $25,899
Test Vehicle: Titanium (base price): $36,199 // As Tested: $40,649
- Rated at (L/100 km): City -11.5 / Highway – 8.7
- I averaged 9.0 L/100 km being fairly aggressive with the gas pedal, so better than expected
- Over the course of the week we averaged 12.7 L/100 km in mixed driving and 8.0 L/100 km on the highway in a more sedate driving disposition
- Auto Start-Stop is a nice bonus for city/town driving where you sit at the lights forever
- Basic: 3 years/60,000 km
- Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km
- Roadside Assistance: 5 years/100,000 km
- Bi-Xenon HID headlights with LED Signature Lighting
- One-Touch-Up/-Down on all windows – why can’t all vehicles have this? What makes it so expensive that it can’t be implemented across the range?
- Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start – makes life a whole lot easier, leave the fob in your pocket and just get on with life, add >>
- SecuriCode keyless entry keypad – the best thing since sliced bread, once you have it you’ll always want it on your vehicle
- Enhanced Active Park Assist – for those unable to park a vehicle (and thereby shouldn’t have a license)
- Heated Steering wheel – Yes!!
- Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link – PLEASE, Ford fix this… it’s terrible – it can’t even find an address when you plug in the postal code!!
- Foot-Activated, Hands-Free Power Liftgate – this is different from other systems. You don’t swipe your foot left/right, you do a kicking motion – for opening or closing the rear door. I really liked it – less chance of knocking yourself off-balance while carrying something heavy
- Heated Wiper Park (Windshield Wiper De-Icer) – this is very handy for those of us in the colder climates
- FordPass Connect (with Wi-Fi Hotspot)
- Engine Block Heater
Safety Features (Standard)
- Reverse Sensing System – Great system, however the problem is you get so used to it, when you get into a vehicle that doesn’t have it you feel lost
- Forward Sensing System – you don’t always get forward sensing included, nice one Ford
- Torque Vectoring Control – transfers torque to the wheels that have the most grip, reducing understeer and forces the front end closer to the inside of the curve
- Curve Control – if you drive too fast into a corner the system can sense it and reduces throttle response and the ABS system to keep you safe
- AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
- Intelligent 4WD System
- SYNC3 AppLink links your favorite compatible mobile apps with your voice, giving you convenient control
- FordPass Connect’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot lets passengers connect tablets, laptops and smartphones. It includes a complimentary 3-month or 3GB data trial
- FordPass Connect allows you to remotely lock and unlock your vehicle, start your vehicle, remote start your vehicle on a schedule, and operate the climate control system using your smartphone or iPhone. Additionally, you can locate your vehicle, check for recalls, call roadside assistance and check approximate fuel range. FordPass also helps you find fuel and compare prices. Find, reserve and pre-pay for parking in select locations. Plus, get help 24/7 from trained team of Ford Guides
- iPhone – Apple CarPlay compatibility displays the iPhone interface on your vehicle’s touchscreen. Send and receive text messages by voice. Get directions. Access playlists from Apple Music. iPhone users can view the Waze app’s community-based navigation and traffic features
- Android Auto compatibility displays the Android interface on your vehicle’s touchscreen. Get voice-guided navigation from Google Maps and Waze. Access your favorite music from your apps. Make calls. Send and receive messages. Just talk to Google Assistant and go. Amazon Alexa users can enjoy their Amazon Echo with the Ford+Alexa app
- MyKey technology
Noteworthy Options On Test Vehicle
The test vehicle came with the Ford Safe and Smart + Roof Package – $2,500
- Panoramic Vista Roof (power open and close with power shade) – love this, it lets so much light into the cabin
- Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Warning with Brake Support – I’m not usually a big fan of these adaptive cruise controls, but this is one of the best I’ve ever used. At the shortest distance the Escape keeps a tractor trailer length between you and the vehicle in front. Unfortunately in Ontario that’s an invitation for any jackass in the other lanes to take away your braking zone. I only used the system for 10 minutes, but was impressed in that short period of time.
- BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert – This is worth the extra money. Shortly after picking up the Escape I was reversing out of a parking spot with an F-150 on either side, obviously I couldn’t see anything coming. Slowly I backed out and the alarm went off. Some clown came racing through the parking lot – there is no way I’d have known he was there and would have pulled out in front of him.
- Lane-Keeping System, which includes Lane-Keeping Alert, Lane-Keeping Aid and Driver Alert System – I liked this safety feature. The steering vibrates when you leave your lane, but not too much to make it annoying
- Front Rain-Sensing Wipers
- Auto high-beam headlights
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- The Good: Everything about the Escape is good. Everything bad about the previous versions has been banished
- The Bad: The navigation system – this is not unique to the Escape, it’s just about useless in all Fords unfortunately. It’s difficult to pull up a destination while on the move – even though it’s voice-activated. If you manage to get the system to find an address that seems like what you’re after, you still have to take your eye off the road and look at the screen, decide what line you want and choose it. Waaay more dangerous than just letting the passenger program it on the go.
- The Ugly: Stupid button on the shifter instead of the shifter moving into a Sport setting (or paddle shifts) – completely removes any resemblance of fun you might have with this terrific engine
What’s The Verdict?
The more I drove the Escape, the more I liked it. As I said at the beginning, I’ve always been hugely disappointed by the Escape over the years – not now. It’s finally got really good build quality, the materials aren’t cheap feeling and the terrible super-cheap plastic dash and doors are gone. The top of the dash is a rubber-type plastic that doesn’t reflect off the windshield on bright days. This was the type of stuff Lexus was putting into their cars ten years ago, finally Ford got on board.
The engine and transmission are finally up to scratch, even better than many of the competition – this is a fun vehicle. I last drove the Escape in 2016 when we were looking at leasing our next vehicle and just hated it – even though that was what I really wanted to get. THIS one isn’t even in the same league… Ford, what have you done and why did it take so long? The All-New 2020 Escape will be here by the end of the year. Do you wait or get the 2019? That’s a tough call. If you need to get a new vehicle, then now is as good a time as any (especially when Employee Pricing comes in to the equation) – you won’t be disappointed.
Copyright © 2019 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland