We love the Nissan Rogue but the Ford Escape has a few tricks up its sleeve that may make give the Rogue a good run for its money.
The standard 2.5 four-cylinder is only offered in the base S Trim. You'll have to step up to the SE or top of the range Titanium trim to get the optional 1.5ecoboost four-cylinder pumping out 180hp and the 2-liter ecoboost four-cylinder pumping out 240hp. We'd say the best way to go with the Escape is the 1.5ecoboost engine. It feels much more flexible than the standard 2.5 and you can option for all-wheel-drive if you desire the extra traction. Our tester car was the 1.5ecoboost in the Titanium trim which came ticked with all-wheel-drive and it did come in handy when we drove through a very severe rain storm. The Escape managed to offer really good steering feedback while the chassis managed to handle the corners and bends well. We know that this isn't a sports car but the confidence that it provides is still really good. There's a little bit of road noise that sneaks into the cabin at higher speeds and some wind noise can be beard around the side mirrors. These are merely nitpicks at best though.
We enjoyed driving the Escape around especially on the highway. The 1.5ecoboost engine doesn't feel short on pull thanks to high torque at low revs. We've tested the Escape before and managed to drive both the 2.5 and the previous 2-liter turbo engine which only pumped out 230hp at the time. The 2.5 is fine for those who are on a budget and really do want an Escape. The running costs are so identical to the 1.5ecoboost that we wouldn't even bother choosing the 2.5. The Escape is easy to squeeze around tight urban streets and can hold its own well on faster paced roads.
The driver's seat offers plenty of adjustments and comfort for driver's of all sizes. The rear seat is comfortable with plenty of headroom and legroom. You shouldn't have any trouble squeezing cargo into the boot as it is plentiful in space. It may not offer the third-row seating option as the Nissan Rogue, but in this case we are willing to ignore that. Most buyers won't really need a third-row seat and besides the Explorer is such a good option to step up to if you do need that extra space. The Ford SYNC system is much easier to use than it was in the Escape we tested. The menus are much easier to navigate through and the dash board isn't as button happy as it once was. We do however wish that Ford made a little more effort in the standard S Trim which really does wear the budget starting price to a tee.
Our tester car came equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, voice-activated navigation system and of course the 1.5ecoboost four-cylinder with all-wheel-drive. Along with those optional features, the standard kit is really good and it should be considering the Titanium trim is the highest trim in the range and is the most expensive as well. We wouldn't bother with this trim as the mid-range SE trim will satisfy most buyers needs. You can choose from the same two engines as the Titanium and if you need all-wheel-drive you can also option for that. It seems though that the all-wheel-drive adds a hefty premium to the overall package and is best avoided unless you have to have the extra traction. We will repeat ourselves again, the all-wheel-drive is a nice added features especially when we were driving around the outer city limits through a rain storm. We however didn't feel it was needed as we've driven an Escape with front-wheel-drive in similar driving conditions and it managed to hold its own just as well.
It's hard to fault the Escape with this refreshened exterior and interior. The new engines on hand are flexible and offer decent running costs. We just feel that Ford has priced the Escape a bit too ambitiously as some keen rivals offer better value for similar money. The Titanium trim while it is good in its own right, we wouldn't bother with it because it can get too expensive for what it is. You'll have to badly want to pay the premium to justify it. The SE trim does the job well and is our pick of the range. Overall the Escape is a smart choice that's made even better.
Likes: The 1.5ecoboost engine is the best of the range. The touch screen infotainment system is much easier to use and the Escape refinement has improved.
Dislikes: All-wheel-drive is an expensive and probably unneeded option for many. Exterior styling fell on mixed opinion.