While not as large as competitors like the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4, the 2019 Ford Escape remains a desirable compact-crossover SUV brimming with features, style and performance. An optional 245-horsepower turbocharged engine and 3,500-pound tow rating keep this aging SUV a popular choice, as do cool features like a keyless-entry pad.
You'll Like The 2019 Ford Escape If...
The 2019 Ford Escape is one of the market’s most versatile compact-crossover SUVs, with a wide range of models, engines, options and wheel choices. While its interior space is only average, the Escape’s ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds is a feat few others in this class can match.
You May Not Like The 2019 Ford Escape If...
If you’re looking for a big back seat, huge cargo hold or the ability to do light off-roading, turn to the new Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 or Jeep Cherokee. The Mazda CX-5 offers similar handling with a better ride and, supposedly someday soon, a diesel-engine option.
For 2019 the Ford Escape loses its paddle shifters, CD player and LED taillights. The SEL receives new fabric, while remote start, one-touch up/down power windows and Intelligent Access with push-button start are made standard on the SE and SEL trims. Sync connect is renamed FordPass Connect.
The Escape’s interior design remains fresh and exciting, thanks in large part to a recent overhaul that brought more soft-touch surfaces, a new steering wheel and revised gauge cluster and climate controls. The large center-mounted touch screen is still deeply recessed and quite a reach from the driver’s seat, but many of its functions can be operated via the steering-wheel controls or by voice command. Rear-seat passengers get a bit more knee room thanks to recontoured front seatbacks. Cargo space is limited to 34 cubic feet, but expands to a generous 68 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.
Updated in 2017, the Escape’s exterior remains fresh thanks to a recast nose that portrays an edgier character defined by a soft cap, prominent hexagonal grille -- which conceals active grille shutters to improve efficiency -- sleeker LED-infused headlights and larger outboard air intakes along with a redrawn aluminum hood. A Sport Appearance Package, available on SE models, aims to bring an edgier vibe with blackout-trim accents, halogen headlights and 19-inch Ebony Black alloy wheels. For 2019, the Escape gains new colors: Agate Black, Baltic Sea Green and Sedona Orange.
The 2019 Escape is among the nimbler, fun-to-drive compact SUVs, splitting the difference between the athletic Mazda CX-5 and the more comfort-oriented Honda CR-V. A high nose, prominent A-pillars and relatively large turning circle do impact its abilities in super-tight confines but have little effect on busy city streets and freeways. A full roster of available driving aids, from blind-spot monitoring to lane-keeping assist to adaptive cruise control makes the act of driving safer and less fatiguing. The Escape's trio of powerplants spans from the adequate 2.5-liter 4-cylinder in base models to the 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo that makes the Escape capable of very quick escapes. If you go with that most powerful engine, we recommend all-wheel drive, which helps put the power down better. Most buyers will be more than happy with the 1.5-liter turbo that splits the power difference between the base and range-topping engine.
The 2019 Ford Escape has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $25,000 (including the $995 destination charge) for a base model. The more recommendable Escape SE begins around $27,500, while the SEL trim starts just under $29,500. The premium Titanium trim starts just over $33,600. At its starting price, the Escape now rivals the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5, while others like the Chevy Equinox, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson start a little lower. With over a dozen choices, the compact-SUV segment is among the most popular. If you need a quick overview of all choices, see our Compact SUV Buyer's Guide. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new 2019 Ford Escape. Resale value isn't expected to be all that strong, the Ford trailing rivals like the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5.
The 2019 Escape is available in four trims: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. The least expensive Ford Escape is a pretty basic small SUV with cruise control, rearview camera, 6-way-adjustable driver's seat and automatic headlights. The basic infotainment system includes a 6-speaker AM/FM stereo with USB input, 4.2-inch screen and Ford's basic Sync system with Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition. You're better off with at least an SE model, which adds a turbo engine, dual-zone climate control, 10-way-power driver's seat, heated front seats plus Sync 3 with FordPass Connect featuring built-in Wi-Fi and the ability to lock, unlock and start the car from a phone.
The SEL nicely slots between the SE and Titanium with standard power tailgate, leather interior and Reverse Sensing System. The top-line Titanium adds the most powerful engine in the lineup, hands-free tailgate, heated steering wheel, power passenger seat, navigation and 10-speaker Sony premium audio with HD Radio. Optional starting on SE trims are blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist and a parking system that aids with parallel and reverse parking.
SYNC 3 INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
While the Escape’s original infotainment system suffered some shortcomings, the current Sync 3 version is fast, easy to use and easy to learn. Standard on all but the base trim, Sync 3 employs a large 8-inch touch screen and is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.
Where most compact SUVs are lucky if they can pull 1,500 pounds, when equipped with the Class II tow package and 2.0-liter engine, the 2019 Ford Escape can haul up to 3,500 pounds. The tow package is optional on the Titanium trim and a fleet-only option on the SE and SEL.
Under the Hood
Three engines remain available in the Escape, though this year each is tied to specific trims. All are 4-cylinder powerplants connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Base Ford Escape S models use a 2.5-liter, in front-wheel drive (FWD) only. Ford Escape SE and the new SEL use a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine with FWD standard and all-wheel drive (AWD) optional. Though smaller than the 2.5-liter, it has greater horsepower (179 vs. 168) thanks to the forced induction of turbocharging. Exclusive to the Titanium model is the 2.0-liter, which packs 245 horsepower and can tow 3,500 pounds. It too is FWD or AWD, and we recommend the latter to prevent torque steer. Both EcoBoost engines use a start/stop system that shuts off the engine at idle.
168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (FWD)
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
179 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD), 22/28 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
245 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (AWD)
Although not as large as competitors like the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4, the 2019 Ford Escape remains a desirable compact-crossover SUV brimming with features, style and performance. The Escape may be the only small-crossover SUV that can give the Mazda CX-5 a run for its money in the curves, and its optional 245-horsepower turbocharged engine remains a rarity in this field, especially now that Subaru has dropped the turbocharged XT from the new Forester lineup. The Escape isn’t particularly big on rear-seat room or cargo space, but it can fit four adults comfortably, and its optional high-tech convenience and safety features are as appealing to customers as is its 3,500-pound tow rating.