In a field jam-packed with capable contenders, the 2019 Ford Escape stands out. Offering a compelling range of engines, price points and content, it is worthy of shoppers’ attention. Most grades can be armed with all-wheel drive and a solid suite of safety/driver-assist technologies. Ford allowed for plenty of cargo room and for those wanting optimum convenience, there is an available power rear lift gate that opens with a wave of a foot under the bumper. When appropriately equipped, it can even park itself.
What’s New for 2019?
SYNC 3 and FordPass Connect (formally SYNC Connect) are standard on the SE and higher grades. Intelligent Access with push-button start, as well as one-touch up-down windows are standard on the SE. Some of the packages, such as the Sport Appearance and the Sport Appearance Plus have been updated. The Panoramic Vista Roof is available on SE and SEL grades as part of an options package, and as a stand-alone option on Titanium grade. See the 2019 Ford Escape models for sale near you
What We Like
- Powerful yet efficient turbocharged engines
- Welcoming cabin
- SYNC voice-activated infotainment system
- Well-tuned suspension
What We Don’t
- Most high-tech features reserved for pricier versions
- Titanium model’s optional 19-in wheels result in a firm ride
The entry-level S is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. This drive goes to the front wheels. Fuel economy is 21 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving. AWD is not available with this engine.
Moving up to the SE means a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 179 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy checks in at 23 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with optional AWD.
A 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an impressive 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque comes in the Titanium trim. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with FWD and 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined with AWD.
Ford recommends using premium fuel with these turbocharged EcoBoost engines. Regular fuel will reduce power output slightly because of the lower octane.
A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard throughout the range.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Ford Escape comes in S, SE, SEL and Titanium trim levels. Optional on all, but the base S trim, AWD adds $1,500 to the bottom line. Prices include the factory delivery charge.
The base S ($25,200) includes cruise control, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, air conditioning, a rearview camera, auto on/off headlights, LED taillights, integrated blind spot mirrors, a SYNC voice command system, Bluetooth, a 6-speaker audio system with a 4.2-in screen and a USB port, reclining rear seats, a MyKey programmable key fob (which allows parents to set limits on radio volume and top speed) and 17-in steel wheels with plastic covers.
The SE ($27,595) adds 17-in alloy wheels, roof rails, upgraded cloth upholstery, heated front seats, a rear center armrest, exterior keypads for the door locks, Intelligent Access with remote start, push-button start, SYNC 3 smart phone integration and FordPass Connect, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, fog lights, automatic headlights and the turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with a stop/start function.
Options for the SE include 19-in black wheels, voice-activated navigation, a leather-wrapped steering wheel/gear-shift knob, rear-parking sensors, a 110-volt power outlet, an 8-in touchscreen, a 9-speaker audio upgrade, two USB ports and an SD card reader. Optional for SE trim and higher is auto high-beam head lights.
The SEL ($29,540) has many of those SE options while also bringing a powered lift gate, heated side mirrors, LED lighting and leather-trimmed upholstery.
The Titanium ($33,715) packs most of the standard and optional equipment mentioned so far, along with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, 19-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/start, 10-way power passenger seat, voice-activated navigation, a self-dimming rearview mirror, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, a powered lift gate with motion-sensing activation, a heated steering wheel, a self-parking system and an upgraded Sony audio system with 10 speakers.
As either stand-alone or in packages, options include a panoramic sunroof, driver attention alert, forward parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.
Cargo space with the rear seats up is 34.3 cu ft. That expands to 67.8 cu ft. (pretty good for the class) when a one-touch lever folds those seats down.
Every Escape has seven airbags, including a driver’s-side knee airbag. Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and traction/stability control are also part of the standard safety equipment inventory.
Rear-parking sensors are optional on the SE and standard on upper trims. Available on the SE and SEL is the Safe and Smart Package with rain-sensing front wipers, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning, auto high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping assist. The Titanium also has a Safe and Smart package that includes all the same features as on the lower trims plus a panoramic power roof.
The Escape scored four out of five stars in government crash tests, with four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Escape its top score of Good in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength-crash tests. It was also awarded Good for whiplash protection during rear collisions, but took the lowest score of Poor in the small-overlap front crash test (which has proven to be tricky for many vehicles).
Behind the Wheel
The 2019 Ford Escape feels taut and together over bumps. The elevated driving position brings a feeling of confidence and control, as well as good vision. The seats feel a bit narrow, but they’re still supportive and comfortable. At highway speeds, the cabin is remarkably quiet, while quality materials add to a generally upscale impression.
Ride quality in the mainstream models is excellent. The Titanium’s optional 19-in wheels look cool, but have a tendency to amplify road imperfections. Try the Titanium’s standard 18-in wheels for comparison.
The base 2.5-liter engine is competent enough, but it’s the EcoBoost engines that really bring the zip. The 1.5-liter engine is more than satisfying in both power delivery and fuel consumption, while the Titanium’s 2.0-liter turbo provides acceleration similar to that of some luxury crossovers. Drivers accustomed to V6 power will find this engine hard to resist.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Honda CR-V — A big seller and deservedly so. Highly capable, but not so thrilling to drive.
2019 Mazda CX-5 — As good to drive as the Escape. Deserves to be on any buyer’s short list.
2019 Kia Sportage — Good looks, great warranty. Worth checking out.
Used Ford Edge — More space, bigger engines, still entertaining to drive.
If the budget allows, go for the SEL trim and add the Safe and Smart Package. Find a Ford Escape for sale