The Ford Escape returns in 2018 as a popular cornerstone to its class with no shortage of strengths. Fairly good fuel economy, available all-wheel drive, useful cargo space and optional hands-free power liftgate combine to strongly embody compact-crossover features we expect. The Escape also surprises with responsive steering and impressive handling.
The cabin includes practical storage areas throughout, including one standout: a convenient storage nook ahead of the shift lever that seems perfectly made for a phone.
The Escape's dashboard design could use a refresh, but you can opt for the new Sync 3 upgrade to significantly improve the look. Ford's Sync 3 interface woos infotainment fans and tech lovers with full smartphone integration by means of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
FordPass with the Sync Connect ownership app allows you to remotely connect to the Escape from your smartphone. Additional 2018 technology brings the Escape in line with contemporary safety options offered to drivers across the class, including lane departure prevention, a driver drowsiness monitor, and adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert.
Ford gives the 2018 Escape two turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engines. The 1.5-liter offers decent power and fuel economy, but at this size the turbo appears to improve fuel economy more than it does off-the-line speed. Performance seekers should consider a bump up to the updated 2.0-liter turbo engine if they can. This powerplant puts out more horsepower and torque than in previous years. With a 0 to 60 time of less than 7 seconds, the 2.0-liter earns the Escape a nod as one of the quickest-to-accelerate compact crossovers out there.
The 2018 Escape's varying models have near-ranking fuel economies ranging from a combined 23 to 26 mpg. The FWD 1.5-liter turbo achieves an EPA-rated 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway), and the AWD 2.0 turbocharged option is rated 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway).
Four trim levels are available: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. You'll find select desirable options to be more affordable or even standard, such as Ford's automatic climate control system which is standard on the midgrade SE trim level. The S is the base trim. The SE offers several enticing upgrades and customization routes, but the SEL is the new-for-2018 bridge between the SE's simpler offerings and the Titanium's near-luxury feature set. The fully featured Titanium sets the bar high with a broad suite of luxuries as well as its exclusive foot sensor for the power liftgate. Even sportier styling is possible thanks to the Sport Appearance add-on available for the SE trim.
With so many options, choosing the perfect crossover may seem like a challenge. Let Edmunds help find the Ford Escape that is just right for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.