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2015 Ford Edge vs. 2015 Ford Escape: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2015

If you're searching for a new family crossover, you'll probably notice that most brands offer two major variants: one with 3-row seating and one with two rows. But Ford offers two separate 2-row SUVs: the 2015 Ford Escape and the 2015 Ford Edge. So what's the difference between these two crossovers? And which one should you get? If you're asking those questions, we've covered everything you need to know below.

Exterior

On the outside, it's easy to see that the Escape and Edge are related, but it's just as easy to tell the difference between the two SUVs. While the Edge and Escape both share some Ford design elements, such as similarly flared wheel arches, a similar taillight shape and a similar profile, there are some clear differences, such as the Edge's larger grille and the Edge's red band across the back that connects both taillights. Another major difference: It's easy to tell that the Edge is larger than the Escape with just a quick glance -- and indeed it is. At 188.1 inches long, the Edge is exactly 10 inches longer than the Escape, which makes the Edge more of a midsize SUV and the Escape more of a compact.

Interior

Inside, the two crossovers also share both similarities and differences. Similarities include a comparable control layout and some identical switches and buttons, along with an overall interior look that clearly stems from the same designer. But there are differences, too: The Edge offers capacitive touch controls, while the Escape doesn't, for example. The Edge also boasts more upscale materials, an upgraded gauge cluster, and more room in front and in back. The Edge also touts improved cargo capacity over its smaller Escape sibling.

Mechanicals

In an effort to appeal to a wide range of buyers, every vehicle in the Ford lineup now offers several different engine options -- and the Escape and Edge are no different.

Both the Escape and Edge offer three engines. In the Escape, base models get a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which returns up to 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Drivers looking to save a little fuel will want to opt for the 178-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which offers up to 23 mpg city/33 mpg hwy. Topping the hp range is a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which boasts a still-impressive 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.

The bigger Edge, meanwhile, primarily offers larger engines. Specifically, the Edge's base engine is the Escape's most powerful engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out 245 hp and returns 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy. The Edge's other engine options include a 280-hp 3.5-liter V6 (capable of up to 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy) and a 315-hp 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 (18 mpg city/27 mpg hwy) in the performance-oriented Sport model.

While it might be hard to decipher all the mechanical differences that separate the Edge and the Escape, the general rule is this: The larger Edge uses larger engines, while the smaller Escape offers smaller powertrains and better gas mileage.

Features & Technology

Although the Edge and Escape are only two years apart -- the Escape was all-new for 2013, while the Edge has been redesigned for 2015 -- that's a long time when you're discussing automotive features and technology. The result is that the Edge offers a lot more stuff than its smaller Escape sibling.

That's not to say that the Escape is low on equipment -- but everywhere you look, the Edge seems to have, well, an edge. For instance, while the Escape offers safety features such as a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, only the Edge boasts forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control. While the Escape offers an automated parallel parking system, the Edge's system also extends to perpendicular parking. While the Escape boasts a backup camera, the Edge also has a highly useful 180-degree camera in the front.

In other words: The Escape is well-equipped in today's automotive world, but if you want the latest and greatest in gadgets and features, you'll want the Edge.

Driving Experience

In our opinion, just about every Escape feels a little taxed on the road -- unless you upgrade to the high-performance 2.0-liter turbo model, which boasts excellent performance. But the 2.5- and 1.6-liter engines don't seem up to handling the car's size, requiring deep stabs of the throttle to build any major acceleration. That's not true with the Edge, which offers plenty of power from either of its V6 engines and adequate power even with the standard 4-cylinder.

Around town, the Escape is a little more nimble than the Edge, which is a function of the Escape's smaller size. However, the Edge feels more substantial, which may be important for drivers interested in a safe family SUV. The Escape's small size makes it better in cities, while the Edge's larger interior makes it better for drivers who are often carrying children and their accessories.

Safety

In crash testing carried out by the federal government, the Edge earned a perfect 5-star overall rating. The Escape, meanwhile, earned four stars. Though the brand-new Edge has not yet been fully tested by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Escape earned only average marks, including a Poor score on the firm's challenging small-overlap front crash test.

Safety differences carry over to the two SUVs' equipment levels. While the Escape offers adequate safety features -- such as standard side-curtain airbags and options ranging from a backup camera to a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert -- the Edge goes above and beyond, touting available forward-collision alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam control and more. For drivers who prioritize safety over all else, the Edge is the right choice.

Conclusions

Although they're both 2-row Ford SUVs, the 2015 Ford Escape and the 2015 Ford Edge offer some serious differences. Specifically, the Edge is larger and its interior is a little more upscale than the Escape's cabin. The Edge also offers more high-tech gadgets and features, better safety equipment, stronger crash-test ratings, more power and more room inside than the Escape. Does that justify the Edge's $5,000 base price premium over the Escape? That's up to you to decide, but we suspect that most drivers who need the space will prefer the Edge, while those who don't mind a smaller SUV will make do with the Escape.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Ford Edge vs. 2015 Ford Escape: What's the Difference? - Autotrader