Reviews

2018 Ford Escape Driving Impressions


The standard Escape engine is the 2.5-liter making 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. It’s neither modern nor exciting, but still smooth and competent. It’s not quick but it has adequate acceleration. It has a bit less horsepower and torque than the new 1.5-liter, and gets two less mpg.

The new 1.5-liter engine makes 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The transmission kicks down as much as with the 2.5 liter. For a little engine it makes booming sounds when you floor it, although its bark is bigger than its bite because it’s not exactly a rocket. But as 1.5-liter engines go, it’s good.

The only engine choice, in our minds, is the EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbo, making 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet or torque, and zooming to sixty miles per hour in less than seven seconds. It’s a big bargain at an option price of about $1500 more. It separates the Escape from almost every other crossover in its class.

The six-speed automatic is a good match for the EcoBoost engines, with programmed shift points that balance fuel mileage (some transmissions are programmed for fuel mileage, which can make them shift at unnatural times). The 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter get paddle shifters, while the 2.5 has a lame sport mode with a switch on the lever to change gears.

All-wheel drive moves power from the front to rear wheels, up to 100 percent in either direction, where ever the traction is needed.

The Escape’s handling is sharp and engaging, responsive with great body control, much better than your average crossover. The steering is crisp, weighty and fast. What makes it so good might be the electronic torque vectoring, which dabs the inside front brake in a corner to help the car turn. That’s why it’s so sharp.

The ride is tightly damped, and sometimes can feel too firm; and with the 19-inch wheels as on the Titanium, it can feel harsh. The smaller wheels bring a smoother ride.

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