2015 Ford Escape
Base-price range: $23,505 – $31,665
Another perennial best seller, the Ford Escape
enters 2015 with only minor equipment updates. Escape is a compact-class crossover that, in some ways, is the “anti-CR-V.” Honda
packages its vehicles in multiple trim levels with a fixed set of features; no factory options are available. Escape comes in multiple trims as well, but most can be outfitted with a wide variety of standalone and packaged options, giving buyers the ability to tailor a vehicle to suit their exact specifications. Ford offers buyers a choice of three four-cylinder engines. The base motor is essentially a rental-fleet special. The overwhelming majority of models purchased at retail use one of Ford’s “EcoBoost” turbocharged engines that produce either 178 or 240 horsepower yet rate a decent 24-26 mpg city/highway combined. The Escape rides and drives very well, with a decidedly more sporty feel than the CR-V. Interior ergonomics are a bit of a mess, though, particularly with the multi-function steering wheel that incorporates a few too many functions. We’re also not the biggest fans of the available MyFord Touch infotainment system. One thing we do appreciate is the optional hands-free power liftgate that opens and closes the cargo door by applying a gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper (provided you have the keyfob in your pocket). The best value in the Escape lineup is the mid-line SE. The high-end Titanium model has more creature comforts, but its sticker price can top $37,000, putting it in a class of larger midsize-class crossovers.