KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

The 2015 Ford Escape compact crossover SUV offers the compact dimensions that made the Honda CR-V such a hit, but adds a big dose of style, technology and engine options that Honda can’t come close to matching. A leader in this segment, Ford continues to aggressively position the 5-passenger Escape to maintain its market momentum.

You'll Like The 2015 Ford Escape If...

If you’re seeking a compact SUV with great looks, great handling, great fuel economy and great features, the Ford Escape checks off all the boxes.

You May Not Like The 2015 Ford Escape If...

If you’re in need of a compact SUV with big abilities when it comes to cargo and crew, the Ford Escape isn’t as roomy as the Subaru Forester or Hyundai Santa Fe. Those needing 3-row seating should look to the Nissan Rogue.

What's New

Other than a new paint color, there are no major changes for the Ford Escape SUV.

Interior Features

The inside of the Ford Escape boasts an impressive display of materials, design and available features. The dash can feel a bit busy, especially when loaded up with options like MyFord Touch. If you’re not into lots of high tech, you might just want to avoid the top-end models. The seats are comfortable, but a bit on the narrow side, and the cargo space and rear-seat room are not as generous as in some of the Escape’s competition. However, we love the available panoramic moonroof as well as the excellent Sony audio system.

Exterior Features

Like some others in the compact-SUV segment now, the Ford Escape shows a strong sense of style. Exterior highlights that distinguish upper-tier Escape models include HID headlamps, fog lights, body-color mirrors and trim, dual chrome exhaust tips and big 19-inch wheels. Sadly, the Escape doesn’t offer any kind of forward-collision alert or adaptive cruise control feature, as found on the Subaru Forester. It can, however, warn of rear crossing traffic and parallel park itself.

Driving Impressions

With the exception of the Mazda CX-5, there is no sportier compact crossover SUV than the Ford Escape. Ford wisely jettisoned its boxy and boring SUV formula in favor of a light, nimble and very European-looking compact. Its handling is precise and the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine puts out an impressive 240 horsepower. But even if you settle for the smaller 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, the performance is still a cut above most compact SUVs. The Escape’s ride straddles the fence between comfortable and firm, and there is more noise in the cabin than in the Subaru Forester or Honda CR-V. But the experience from behind the wheel just can’t be matched by the aforementioned competitors, nor do they come close to matching the long list of electronic and audio upgrades offered by Ford.

Pricing Notes

The 2015 Ford Escape S starts just under $24,000 but that’s with the least desirable of its three engine choices, black plastic exterior trim and covered steel wheels. Stepping up to the Escape SE remedies those shortcomings and adds Sync infotainment and other upgrades for around $26,500. That’s two to three thousand higher than the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 base models. At the upper end of the price spectrum, a fully loaded Escape Titanium will exceed $37,000. While that’s almost $7,000 more than a loaded CR-V, it also includes a lot more power and technology. Unfortunately, the Escape’s resale values are only average, better than the Chevrolet Equinox and just behind the Jeep Cherokee, but far below the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester compact SUVs. To get a better idea of what Escape buyers in your area are paying, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price.

Notable Equipment

The base Ford Escape S features a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux sound system, air conditioning, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, the parent-friendly MyKey system, and a full complement of airbags and electronic safety features. Base-model compromises include covered steel wheels and black plastic exterior trim elements.

Notable Options

A fully loaded Ford Escape Titanium comes with enough cool features to embarrass many luxury cars. In addition to a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 4-wheel drive, leather seats and a panoramic moonroof, a top-tier Escape offers blind-spot warning, automatic parallel parking, an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, Sync with MyFord Touch, and a liftgate that opens with a wave of your foot. You could get an Acura RDX for the same money, but you wouldn’t have as many fun features to play with.

Favorite Features

HANDS-FREE LIFTGATEAnyone who has ever approached a locked hatchback with arms full will appreciate this feature. Simply pass your foot beneath the rear bumper and the hatch automatically unlocks and powers itself open.MYKEYKids love cars almost as much as their parents do. They also love to test the limits of common sense. That’s why Ford allows owners to program limits on the vehicle’s top speed, audio volume and, if seatbelts aren’t buckled, cut off the audio system altogether.

Under the Hood

The Ford Escape offers a choice of three engines (unique in the compact-SUV class). The 240-horsepower rating of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine looks irresistible, but truthfully, the 178-horsepower 1.6-liter version is still plenty powerful, just as smooth, and more affordable and more efficient in the bargain. The base 2.5-liter engine would probably be fine for many owners but it comes only in the base Escape S, which doesn’t look so grand compared to some competitors. All three engines work with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, driving either the front wheels (FWD) or all four (AWD). If you want AWD you’ll have to choose one of the EcoBoost engines. And if you want the Escape’s full towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, that requires the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine (and note that the towing package eliminates the clever hands-free liftgate option).Escape S2.5-liter 4-cylinder168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpmEPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/31 mpgEscape SE, Titanium1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder178 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpmEPA estimated city/highway mpg: 23/32 mpg (FWD), 22/30 mpg (AWD)Escape SE, Titanium2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder240 @ 5,500 rpm270 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpmEPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/30 mpg (FWD), 21/28 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

Although there are dozens of compact SUVs from which to choose, few have the styling, performance and features offered by the 5-passenger 2015 Ford Escape. Beyond its cutting-edge engine options and handsome styling, the Escape offers nimble handling via its sport-tuned suspension and a plethora of electronics aimed at keeping tech-savvy consumers safely in touch with the world, even when in motion. You won’t find features like the foot-activated power rear liftgate or panoramic moonroof on the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and you certainly won’t find a choice of two turbocharged engines. There are less expensive compact SUVs on the market, some even offer more interior space and better fuel economy, but the Ford Escape seems to have all the bases covered.

Road Test Video Reviews

2015 Ford Escape Owner Reviews

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It was not built to last: several systems experience fault within the first three years.

2015 Ford Escape

On the whole it has been very reliable. We made the choice to purchase from Ford because my father in law was a Ford employee for many years and qualified for the family pricing. It was nice to be able to go to a dealership and not worry about high pressure salespeople. The Escape was large enough for our family yet small enough to get good fuel economy. The 1.6L EcoBoost engine has a surprising amount of pep, as well. Less than a year after purchase, the car had a problem with the climate control: it became impossible to redirect airflow from the floor, which was not only a major inconvenience in itself, but the dealership in the city we lived in at the time refused to fix it the first three times I brought the car in. A few months later the handle broke off the inside of the back hatch - I am not inhumanly strong, so this was indicative of poor build quality. Periodically the back hatch will start chirping like a baby bird on uppers, again an indication of poor build quality, as pieces of the hatch are held together with tiny plastic clips rather than actual hardware. Also, on long trips, the air conditioner compressor ices up, causing a near-catastrophic loss of engine power and acceleration. Unfortunately, as a consumer of modern autos, I have to temper my expectations. A car should be built to last, however to suit the corporate bottom line, cars are built to be disposable, and often do not last much longer than the standard financing term. I will probably purchase a Ford again, and possibly even an Escape, but simply because my family has the privilege of accessing Ford family pricing.

- Valerie S

Really great car: The overall design inside and out is outstanding. All the features ate great, but my favorite is the heated seats.

2015 Ford Escape

My Escape is beautiful and I love the features. I have the large screen, heated seats (which one of my favorite features), easy to fold down back seats which increases my storage space. I love my radio and the Bose speakers. A really handy feature is the controls that are on the steering wheel. You can adjust the volume of the radio and even chance the radio channels from the steering wheel which keeps your eyes looking straight ahead which lowers the chance of an accident. The Escape drives so great and smooth you almost feel like you are floating. Another great feature is it tells you exactly how many miles you can travel considering how much gas you have in the tank. It actually gives you a constant running tally. To me that is remarkable because knowing that lets you know how much farther you can go before you need to refuel and it keeps you from having to guess when you're fuel is getting low if you have enough mileage to teach your destination. Now that I have that feature I can not imagine ever going without it. The interior is really nice and comfortable. With the ability to adjust your seat to better fit your back you can drive for long periods of time without getting a backache. And I like the fact that I can change the color of all the interior lighting and the lights are well placed. The bumper to bumper coverage is great. It even includes your oil changes.

- Glenda W

Next car? Another ford escape. Great mileage, plenty of room and fun to drive.

2015 Ford Escape SE

This is the second ford escape I have owned. I really enjoyed the first one and had very few maintenance issues so when it was time to replace it after 140,000 miles I knew I wanted another escape. I got the 4wd version as we live in Ohio and do have some snow to deal with. I also bought the optional luggage roof rack as we like to travel often and when we travel with another couple we can fit four full size suitcases in the cargo area and still have the roof rack if extra space is needed. Our new one has the backup camera as standard equipment and I would highly recommend this if it is an option on any vehicle. The power tailgate is also an option that I like. Hands free opening with just the push of a button. We chose the 1.6 liter ecoboost engine. And after 58,000 miles have averaged 27.8 miles per gallon. Highway miles per gallon is near 30 miles per gallon. I have owned a Chevrolet trailblazer before my first escape, and even though it was larger we find the escape to be plenty big enough for our needs and a great small SUV. I highly recommend this vehicle as we have had no issues with it and just normal wear and tear maintenance.

- Brian Y

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