2021 Ford Escape review: A sensible choice

Victoria D. Doty

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There are so numerous fascinating factors taking place at Ford proper now. The tough and tumble Bronco arrives this 12 months, pursuing the start of the tiny-tough Bronco Sport. There is now an electric Mustang SUV. Heck, the F-150 is a dang hybrid with an inverter so beefy that it can electrical power an total house. So in which does that leave other items, like the Escape?


  • Solid acceleration from 2.-liter EcoBoost engine
  • Sync three has great voice command and smartphone connectivity
  • Leading notch driver-aid and parking tech

Will not Like

  • Interior feels a contact cheap
  • Odd ergonomics

The 2021 Ford Escape is not a notably fascinating ride, even loaded up in Titanium trim with its most strong EcoBoost turbocharged engine. It really is just a wonderful and at ease commuter with wide attraction. Not able to get by on actively playing to feelings and buzz, the humble Escape is confronted with, in numerous techniques, a considerably more challenging activity than its more spectacular stablemates: to market itself on practicality and benefit alone.


I suppose you would get utilized to it, but acquiring the Escape’s tucked absent Start off button was my initial challenge.

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EcoBoost with AWD

The initial detail I notice about the Escape? The oddly positioned engine start button. It really is crammed into a tiny nook powering the steering wheel and virtually not possible to see from the driver’s seat devoid of craning my next and contorting my wrist. Not a fantastic ergonomic introduction. 

Thankfully, that button fires up a strong tiny engine: Ford’s 2.-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 280 pound-ft of torque. Paired with an 8-speed automated transmission, the Escape accelerates with shocking eagerness and has a quite responsive throttle. I’d say the Escape 2.0T has some of the finest get-up-and-go in the compact crossover course.

Prevent-start gasoline-conserving tech aids the EcoBoost 2.0T attain an EPA-believed 23 miles for every gallon metropolis, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg mixed — quantities that are unchanged from very last year’s estimates. In the course of my highway-significant 294.6 miles of testing, I averaged 28 mpg even.

Escape customers can choose for a lesser, 1.5-liter, a few-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 181 hp, as perfectly as two hundred-hp hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. The entry-stage 1.5T — which we drove very last 12 months — is the most very affordable trim and almost certainly a improved apples-to-apples match with the likes of the non-hybrid RAV4 and CR-V in terms of electrical power and performance. The electrified versions are the most efficient variants of the Escape, averaging forty one mpg with the standard hybrid and featuring an supplemental 37 miles of electric cruising array with the plug-in.

With standard all-wheel travel and three,500 pounds of towing ability (when geared up with the trailer tow package deal), the 2.0T is also the most able model of the Escape lesser engine solutions only allow for it to tow 1,500 pounds. Handling and braking really feel about on par with the relaxation of the modest SUV course — more people-mover than canyon-carver — so you should not anticipate to be blown absent by the Escape’s effectiveness.

The Escape functions a number of driving modes to assistance you wonderful-tune the SUV’s actions, ranging from sporty to thrifty, but I find it can be bothersome to toggle amongst these configurations. There is only one button and it cycles via the Escape’s five travel modes — Ordinary, Eco, Sport, Rain and Snow. So when going from Eco to Sport is one tap, acquiring back to Eco or Ordinary can take 4 or five, assuming you you should not unintentionally tap much too rapidly and overshoot it.

The much larger EcoBoost engine boosts the Escape’s towing capability from 1,500 to three,500 pounds.

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Creature comforts

On the exterior, the Escape’s smoothed-more than style and design is rather car or truck-like and approachable. The sizing is fantastic for uncomplicated urban parking and, from the driver’s seat, the SUV features fairly fantastic visibility in all instructions. My instance functions a hands-no cost electrical power liftgate that opens easily and rapidly with a kick beneath the bumper.

Inside, Ford’s designers tried out to generate a top quality really feel with a bunch of faux uncovered-grain wooden and, on my Titanium design, leather-based-trimmed seats. Apart from the aforementioned start button, the dashboard and console controls really feel properly positioned. On the other hand, the wooden seems truly phony when you give it a closer glimpse. A ton of the cabin elements — like the challenging plastic doorway playing cards and very easily scratched reduce sprint — really feel cheap. 

Ford tends to make up for this with a couple of good tech functions. B&O badges suggest top quality sound presented by superior-close audio maker Bang & Olufsen. Sound quality is earlier mentioned regular to my ear, but not audiophile stage. A electronic instrument cluster with separate themes for Sport and Ordinary driving plays great mother nature-encouraged animations on startup and shutdown. Also optional is a visor-model head-up display that rises from the top rated of the instrument cowl. I’d desire HUDs be projected immediately on the windshield, but any HUD is improved than no HUD at all.


The Escape’s cabin is great, if you you should not glimpse much too carefully.

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The main function in which tech is worried is the Sync three infotainment process. Its application is perfectly organized and its attribute set checks all of the proper boxes, with USB connectivity, Android Automobile, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa integration, Bluetooth and satellite and Hd radio tuning. Voice-activated navigation has been a hallmark of Sync since its inception and continues to work perfectly here, with great purely natural-language recognition for addresses.

The Escape also functions Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 Guide, a standard suite of driving help functions, which includes pre-collision aid with automated emergency braking, lane-maintaining aid, blind-location monitoring and rear cross-targeted traffic notify. Stepping up to the Titanium trim — or optioning Co-Pilot 360 Guide As well as — provides adaptive cruise control that works in halt-and-go targeted traffic and targeted traffic-signal recognition, the two of which are new for 2021. The As well as update also incorporates lane-centering steering aid and a attribute known as Evasive Steering Guide which works in concert with the emergency brake aid to assistance motorists to steer all-around obstructions.

As usually, Ford’s Lively Park Guide — now in its second generation — is continue to exceedingly capable and at situations much easier to operate than parking it oneself, demanding just a single button press to enter parking mode when the vehicle handles steering, shifting and braking.


Solid Sync three infotainment tends to make up for some of the cabin’s shortcomings.

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It really is wonderful and which is Ok

The 2021 Ford Escape starts at $26,130, which includes a $1,245 place charge, for a foundation 1.5T S design with entrance-wheel travel. Absolutely optioned, the 2.0T AWD Titanium tops out at $forty,820 — interestingly, a skosh bigger than the loaded Hybrid Titanium’s $39,435.

Alternative the 2.-liter EcoBoost and the Escape features a slight effectiveness edge more than considerably of this course. On the other hand, the more prevalent 1.5-liter design lacks that edge and the freshly current Nissan Rogue, the Kia Seltos and Toyota’s RAV4 come to be threats with more similar on-highway manners and somewhat improved inside quality. The Kia, for instance, is considerably much less high-priced than the Ford when comparably geared up. The Escape’s tech is continue to top rated notch — notably its one-button parking know-how — but which is not as considerably an edge as it utilized to be now that the competition has caught up through this most up-to-date generation. At the other close of the spectrum, the Subaru Crosstrek and Ford’s very own inbound Bronco Sport attraction to motorists looking for more off-highway utility in their modest SUVs. 

The 2021 Ford Escape just isn’t the most fascinating detail Ford tends to make proper now, but it can be continue to a quite capable player. As a volume vendor, it can be a quite important design to Ford’s bottom line.

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