2016 Ford Escape Review
2016 Ford Escape Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Turbocharged engines deliver strong performance and high fuel economy
- many high-tech features
- agile handling
- high-quality cabin
- comfortable seating.
- Lack of interior storage cubbies
- awkward base control layout
- not quite as roomy inside as some top rivals.
For the 2016 Ford Escape, a new touchscreen infotainment system called "Sync 3" replaces the much-maligned MyFord Touch, while the standard audio system loses its auxiliary input jack.
The 2016 Ford Escape is one of our favorite small crossover utility vehicles, thanks to athletic driving dynamics, an inviting interior and advanced technology features.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Ford Escape S 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.57 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$171/mo for Escape S
Avg. Compact SUV
Compact crossover SUVs are great for many things, be it commuting to work, taking your kids to school, loading up goods from Costco or going on a ski trip. Often lacking, however, is any sense of fun. To get that, you'll want to check out the 2016 Ford Escape. Based on the engaging Ford Focus, the current Escape drives like a Focus on its tiptoes (that's a compliment) and, when fitted with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, it's one of the quickest small crossovers in this price range. Moreover, the Escape earns its crossover stripes with optional all-wheel drive, respectable fuel economy, a spacious cargo bay and an available hands-free power liftgate with a super-cool foot sensor.
The 2016 Escape remains one of the most handsome crossovers in its class.
One of our few issues with the current-generation Escape has been the finicky operation of its optional MyFord Touch infotainment system, built with Microsoft know-how but plagued from birth by significant usability issues. Happily, the 2016 Escape gets a clean slate with the introduction of the BlackBerry-powered Sync 3 system, which has quicker response times and a simplified menu that appears as a strip at the bottom of the central touchscreen. Sync 3 also features intuitive pinch-and-swipe functions, just like a smartphone, while matching the feature-rich excellence of MyFord Touch. Based on our initial impressions, it's a real step forward.
Whether or not you opt for Sync 3, the Escape will treat you to one of the better cabins in the compact crossover segment, highlighted by premium materials and generous standard items like a rearview camera, USB connectivity and truly useful voice controls. Having said that, we're not enamored of the standard infotainment system, which consists of a humble 4.2-inch central display and twin banks of form-over-function buttons laid out in a V-shaped pattern. No matter; once you hit the road, you'll quickly realize that the Escape is extraordinarily rewarding to drive. Agile yet refined, it instills a level of driver confidence that's quite rare in this class.
It's not unparalleled, however. The sporty and efficient 2016 Mazda CX-5 matches the Escape on most fronts, particularly with its updated, knob-based infotainment interface. We also recommend the Edmunds "A"-rated Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Unlike the Escape, they don't offer multiple engine options for buyers who want a performance upgrade, but they're exceptionally easy to drive and have roomier seating and cargo areas. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is worth checking out, too, as a slightly larger alternative with a peppy optional turbocharged engine that rivals the Escape's top-of-the-line 2.0-liter turbo. But the 2016 Ford Escape remains a smart choice in this segment due to its exceptionally well-rounded skill set.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Ford Escape offers no fewer than three engines, with availability dependent on trim. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD) are standard across the board, while all trims but the S are available with all-wheel drive (AWD).
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque is standard on the S and a cost-reducing option on the SE. AWD is not offered with this engine. Fuel economy estimates are 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway).
The SE and Titanium come standard with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, an Escape 1.6 FWD went from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, which is slightly quicker than average for a small crossover with a base engine. Fuel economy with the 1.6 stands at 26 mpg combined (23 city/32 highway) with FWD, dropping to 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) with AWD.
Optional on the SE and Titanium is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, an Escape 2.0 AWD accelerated to 60 mph in a quick 7.0 seconds. Fuel economy rates 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway) with FWD and 23 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) with AWD.
Properly equipped, an Escape with the 2.0-liter engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, a driver knee airbag and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on the 2016 Ford Escape. Ford's MyKey (enabling owners to set electronic parameters for younger drivers), a rearview camera and blind-spot mirrors are also standard. A blind-spot warning system with cross-traffic alerts is optional on the Titanium via the Technology package.
In Edmunds brake testing, an Escape SE 1.6 came to a stop from 60 mph in an admirably short 115 feet.
In government crash tests, the Escape earned an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for total frontal-impact crash protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Escape a top score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Escape's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts, but it received the lowest score of "Poor" in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.
With its quick, precise steering and relatively sharp reflexes, the 2016 Ford Escape is one of the segment's top athletes. Some compact crossovers feel tall and bulky from the driver seat, but the Escape just feels like a sporty hatchback with a higher center of gravity. The driving position is also elevated, of course, so you get that SUV-style commanding view of the road, yet the Escape remains firmly planted to the pavement during quick transitions. Fortunately, this dynamic character doesn't come at the expense of ride comfort, which is exemplary by class standards.
The 2016 Escape is one of the most refined and rewarding small crossovers to drive.
Performance ranges from average with the 2.5-liter and turbocharged 1.6-liter engines to downright spirited with the turbocharged 2.0-liter unit. Although most owners will likely be content with the 1.6-liter turbo's acceleration and fuel economy, it's hard to resist the 2.0-liter turbo, as it delivers much more capability with only a modest reduction in fuel efficiency. Even if you don't have a heavy foot, you'll notice that the 2.0 pulls effortlessly up steady grades, whereas the 1.6-liter requires more frequent downshifts from the automatic transmission to stay on pace. The good news is that both turbocharged engines are equally quiet and smooth.
Inside the 2016 Ford Escape, you'll find plentiful soft-touch materials and generally impressive fit and finish, though there's not as much storage space for personal items as you might expect. The front seats are well-shaped and generously padded, while the gauges are large and easy to read. Some controls are a little hard to use. You have to reach down low to find the climate control panel, and the standard audio interface frustrates with its small display screen and sea of similar-looking buttons. Much more satisfying is the new Sync 3 system that replaces last year's MyFord Touch interface. Quicker, easier to use and graphically richer, with nary a trace of the old system's befuddling quadrant-based layout, Sync 3 is just about everything we wished its predecessor could be.
The new-for-2016 Sync 3 infotainment system represents serious progress.
In spite of the Escape's compact appearance, it's pretty spacious behind the front seats. Although the reclining backseat isn't as airy as some rivals, it gives adult passengers adequate legroom and plenty of headroom. On the hauling front, the cargo area measures a competitive 34.3 cubic feet, and the squared-off roof line allows bulky items or big dogs to fit pretty easily. Flipping the rear seats down via the handy one-touch lever opens up 68.1 cubes of space, a satisfactory number for the segment. The hands-free power liftgate is a nifty feature, opening with a wave of your foot under the rear bumper (as long as you have the key somewhere on you), but you can only have it if you spring for the pricey Titanium trim.
2016 Ford Escape models
The 2016 Ford Escape is a compact crossover SUV that comes in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium.
Standard features on the S include 17-inch steel wheels, an integrated blind-spot mirror, MyKey parental controls, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, a 4.2-inch central display, a rearview camera, the Sync voice command electronics interface with AppLink smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB port.
Upgrading to the SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels (optional on S), the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, automatic headlights, foglights, a keyless entry keypad, rear privacy glass, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), upgraded cloth upholstery, a rear center armrest and satellite radio.
The 2016 Escape's optional panoramic sunroof adds a welcome touch of luxury.
The optional SE Convenience package adds roof rails, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, the Sync 3 technology interface (including an 8-inch touchscreen) and a nine-speaker sound system with dual USB ports. The SE Leather Comfort package contributes heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats. You can also get the heated seats and mirrors, plus a windshield wiper de-icer with the Cold Weather package. Also available are a power liftgate (requires SE Convenience package), 18-inch wheels and remote ignition.
At the top of the line, the Titanium combines the SE packages and options listed above with an exclusive foot sensor for the power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, ambient interior lighting, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat (with power lumbar), driver memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 10-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio.
Titanium options include a Technology package (xenon headlights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic wipers and a self-parking system) and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Optional on both SE and Titanium are a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
Great budget CUV!
Chad Hargis, 03/04/2016
2016 Ford Escape S 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
My wife and I purchased a base model Escape S with no options except alloy wheels. Even in base trim, the 2016 Escape has some nice features. A backup camera, bluetooth connectivity, Ford Sync, Applink, power windows & locks, keyless entry, and full color screens on the dash and instrument cluster....all standard. In order to get some of these items, you have to step up from the base … trim (the 2016 Kia Sportage is a good example...you can't get a backup camera in base trim). I was so impressed with the vehicle that we replaced my Ford Fusion with one. We now have two Escapes in the garage! For a performance standpoint, the 2.5L naturally aspirated four cylinder is just adequate. Meaning it's not dangerously under powered, but it's no powerhouse either. It is quiet, smooth, and proving to be fuel efficient. It's also NOT direct injected, which should help avoid the carbon build up on the intake valves so may GDI engines suffer from. My wife never notices the engine being an issue. She just happily drives along oblivious to the fact that she has the "base model" engine. Myself, on the other hand, am a bit of a speed freak and the 2.5L is not winning any races. Just appreciate it for what it is...an old school, tried and true design that's been around in some form for many years. It's a workhorse and has proven reliable. It also has chain driven cams, so no worry about timing belts. The Escape has a playful character. It rides a bit firm for a vehicle in this class, but having driven the Honda CR-V, which like all Hondas, is the equivalent of riding a dead horse. Very boring and isolated. If you like a little fun feel in your cars, the Escape won't disappoint. The handling is not sport car sharp, but it acquits itself nicely. When driven is the manner in which it is designed, it is above average. Steering is nicely weighted, especially for electronic steering, and feedback is good as well. The ride and handling of the Escape give it a fun to drive factor that is missing in most other CUVs. Inside things are very nice for a base model. Soft touch surfaces abound, including on the tops of the door panels where tall folks like me rest their left arm. The center armrest is nicely padded and well located. Underneath it is a smallish bin that is deep and narrow. If the Escape falls short anywhere, it's in the center console. Two cup holders and a hand brake consume much of the space, with a 12v outlet and change pocket for those who have a toll to pay on their route (in which case a pass would be a better option). The new 2017 Escape is going to an electronic brake and moving the transmission selector to the side a bit to offer more storage space in the console. A welcome change! Seats are nicely padded and even for my long legs (36" inseam) offer decent support. Legroom is also very good. I have no problem finding a comfortable driving position as the seats have plenty of adjustment and the tilt and telescoping steering wheel all conspire to fit even the most oddly shaped driver. Ingress and egress are nice. Not pickup truck high or sedan low....really the "goldilocks" of heights...just right. Doors open wide and offer plenty of room for even a big guy such as myself. On many cars my backside hits the steering wheel or the B pillar when getting in, but not on the Escape. Plenty of room for those large of stature. The Sync entertainment system on the base model is not the touch screen driven system which has received so much negative press. In fact, if you get a 2016 Escape with the touch screen infotainment system, it is the new Sync3 system which is no longer made by Microsoft. Initial reviews have been very positive, but I have no first hand experience. Sound quality from the base system is, well....pretty poor. This is the case with most base level audio systems, so I'm not picking on Ford here. It's a price point audio system for sure. There are kits available to allow you to step up to an aftermarket system if you like, so if you are an audiophile, you have options. If you listen to mostly talk radio like I do...it's not a big deal and it works fine. There is bluetooth audio and hands free functions as well as USB connectivity. If you hold down the Sync button for a couple of seconds, it envokes Siri on your iPhone and even displays "Siri" on the center mounted dash display. The system works fine with no glitches, but I think Ford got a little button and menu happy. The standard AppLink integration works great and allows you to voice command many apps on your smartphone. I particularly like the AccuWeather app which will reach me the weather over the cars speakers. So far, I'm really impressed. My wife and I drove almost every CUV offering, and while some were much nicer, they had a much higher price too. A competitor worth looking at is the base model Hyundai Tucson. It's very comparable to the Escape in features and comes with a longer warranty. You can buy an Escape for less thanks to discounts.
5 out of 5 stars
Still a Great Little Crossover!
Clive Goodwin, 11/04/2015
2016 Ford Escape Titanium 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Been shopping for a small SUV for quite some time. Had a 2005 Ford Escape XLT and sold with 128,000 miles. Was excellent vehicle and had only regular maintenance, and no major repairs. After looking at what the current market has available (Honda Pilot, Toyota, GMC, Dodge and GM) and tested, kept coming back to the Escape. My main concern was no available V6, only the inline 1.6 or … 2.0 with turbo. I worried about having to always run high rpm's and wasn't sure about engine longevity. After driving the Titanium with optional 2.0 L, Package 301 and navigation system a few times, I was completely sold on the 4 cylinder. Has great power, turbo is smooth and rpm's are surprisingly low. Comfortable ride and the new Sync3 is reasonably easy to learn. Fit and finish is also excellent. I did not opt for the 19" wheels, just the standard 18". Have read a few reviews that the 19" wheels made for a bit of a rougher ride. I did not test drive any that had the 19". With 240hp rating, it's much faster than my 2005 V6 was. I also have the class II towing package, rated at 3,500 lbs. At this time, I don't have anything near that range, so assuming it won't be a problem. Have also seen that various auto reviews have been very good. Hoping the reliability factor will meet with what I had on the 2005. Now have 12,650 miles as of May 16, 2018 and have had absolutely zero problems with the vehicle. Everything works like it is supposed to and love it as much as the day I purchased it. No rattles or decrease in power. Still ecstatic after almost 3 years! Now, as of November 18, 2018, have 16,200 and still have zero problems with vehicle, no rattles, no decrease in power. Everything as great as the day of purchase on Oct 31, 2015. Never have owned a new vehicle without having to take it in for SOME problem, until this vehicle. Just purchased the Ford extended warranty but thinking, maybe not needed!! As an update as of November 19, 2019, still love my Escape as much as the date of purchase. Only maintenance issue as of this date, was the replacement of the battery, replaced in October, 2019. Other than that, there have been no issues or repairs. The vehicle has performed flawlessly and extremely happy with the performance, the condition of the exterior and interior. As of May 19, 2020, I now have approximately 22,000 miles with no problems. I admit the mileage has not increased significantly due to the stay at home requirements for the Covid-19 pandemic. However, other than the battery replacement, my vehicle has performed flawlessly. It has maintained the same power and performance as it had when new.. First new car I ever had that I absolutely have not had one problem with as long as I've owned the car. As previously stated, I purchased this car on October 31, 2015. I'm completely sold on the Escape. Even the tires have worn exceptionally well. I must say, I have not driven this vehicle off road on sand, stone or rough terrain. The vehicle is tight, no rattles, no leaks and the interior has held up magnificently! As of November 20, 2020 happy to announce that even 5 years since purchased new....not one instance of any repairs. Have 26,000 miles on vehicle and everything works as new. Vehicle still tight, no rattles and only have scheduled maintenance other than the aforementioned battery replacement. Have NEVER owned a vehicle that I purchased new, that I did not have repairs after this amount of time or mileage. Vehicle is absolutely magnificent!! Still give this 2.0L Escape 5 stars. Now have 26,050 miles on the vehicle as of May 19, 2021 and purchased a new set of Michelins. Other than oil changes, battery and tires, have had virtually no actual repairs or problems. Paint, interior, exterior fit and electronics have all held up wonderfully. Been an actual dream after owned almost 6 years. Can't say enough about the vehicle. Now have 30,200 miles on vehicle as of May 24, 2022. Just finished a road trip from S.W. Florida to Wake Forest, NC area. The Escape is still flawless. It still has excellent power. Speeds up to 90 mph and it didn't seem to labor at all. Fuel mileage was averaging 24.5 on the trip, using regular fuel. Still have not had any malfunctions or repairs, other than previously mentioned battery and tires. Comfort is still great. No wear on the interior or exterior. Paint quality is still excellent. Will continue to give this 2016, 2.0L Escape Titanium, 5 outstanding stars. Cannot emphasize how much I enjoy this vehicle!
5 out of 5 stars
Bill Wolverton, 03/09/2016
2016 Ford Escape Titanium 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This is my second Escape and again, I was not disappointed. The car looks good, handles great and is a nice value. The size is perfect for me. It holds what I need in the cargo area (golf clubs, shoes, etc.) and is easy to maneuver. I got the 2.0L engine and it accelerates quite nicely. After having is about 2 years, the only knock I have is it is not air tight. Consequently, the … ride isn't as quiet as my son's Jeep. Still, I'm very pleased with the purchase.
5 out of 5 stars
Great little Ford
Rolf and Reina Fischer, 08/08/2016
2016 Ford Escape SE 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
First , the Escape. I purchased had the 2.0litre turbo, which changes this vehicle from a nice little SUV to an OMG, I'm going how fast! Wanted something bigger for my wife then the Hyundai that she had and researched the Escape. This little SUV is far from little in features and interior room. First off the seating is comfortable and after driving 3 hours to Orlando, I hoped out and … felt no fatigue and was ready to go. The driving characteristics are responsive and light, sometimes can feel a little to responsive, wish it had a sport mode for steering like my mustang. The power is great, 240hp out of a 2 litre turbo, crazy, kept finding myself cruising at high 80's and having to let off the gas. At this speed it averages 26.5 mph. We were loaded up with 2 dog carriers and several sets of golf clubs as well as suit cases and everything fit in the back without a single care. The interior sound was minimal, more noticeable was the tire noise from the Continental tires... All in all would have no problem suggesting this vehicle and hope to put many miles on it.
2016 Escape Highlights
|Combined MPG||25 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$171/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover19.1%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestPoor
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood