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From family values to fabulous adventurers, this list of best crossover SUVs might surprise you

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.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]