Buying a small crossover sometimes presents a dizzying choice, but Ford Escape is a smart choice in this very tight class. It offers a choice of three engines, an impressive voice command interface, and a cargo space near the top of the class. After a full update last year, the 2018 Ford Escape now offers a new trim level that bridges between standard and luxury models.
Trim, Features and Engine Specs
The 2018 Ford Escape is a compact crossover SUV that offered in four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium.
The 2018 Ford Escape S starts with MyKey parental controls, 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a rearview camera, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, a 4.2-inch central display, the Sync tech interface with Bluetooth, AppLink smartphone integration, a six-speaker sound system with USB port and a CD player.
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Moving to the SE adds chrome exterior trim, 17-inch alloy wheels (optional on the S), a keyless entry keypad, sound-reducing window glass, foglights, roof rails, rear privacy glass, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with lumbar adjustment, rear air vents, a rear center armrest, upgraded cloth upholstery and satellite radio.
Optional for the 2018 Ford Escape SE is all-wheel drive and a Sport Appearance package, which adds black-painted exterior trim, black 19-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, paddle shifters and partial leather upholstery. The optional Sync 3 tech package includes an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, enhanced voice controls, Sync Connect with onboard Wi-Fi and remote app services, and a nine-speaker sound system with dual USB ports. A tow package, roof rail crossbars, panoramic sunroof and navigation system are also optional.
The new SEL trim gets all the SE equipment plus rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power-adjustable side mirrors with heating, the Sync 3 tech interface. 18-inch wheels along with all of the options available for the SE trim are optional on the SEL.
The 2018 Ford Escape Titanium get all SEL features plus 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, remote start, keyless entry and ignition, a hands-free power liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, driver-seat memory settings, 10-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, ambient interior lighting, 12-volt power outlets and a 110-volt household-style power outlet. Also standard are a navigation system, front and rear parking sensors, a 10-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio, an automated parallel and perpendicular parking feature.
Titanium options are similar to the SEL, but change the wheels to 19-inch and tow package capable of pulling up to 3,500 pounds. Available for the SE, SEL and Titanium are a Safe and Smart package, which includes automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention.
The 2018 Ford Escape is available with three engines. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. Standard on the SE and SEL trims is a turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost I-4 good for 170 hp and 177 lb-ft torque. The last and only available on Titanium models is a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 produces 245 hp and 275 lb-ft. All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is optional.
Overall, the 2018 Ford Escape interior design makes sense and easy to use. It’s loaded with lots of features, especially on the Titanium trim. The quality of the materials are good, as well as building quality is as good as you would expect in a vehicle within this price range. Ford has made it a point to place frequently used controls in easy reach and vision, and applied in Escape. Probably not too elegant, but everything is in the place you expect to find.
Passengers will have no problem to sit comfortably in the front or back seats, but the 2018 Ford Escape has no sense of spaciousness like the Honda CR-V. Ten-way power driver’s seat in SE trim is a nice touch. The combination of the seat and a manual tilt-and-telescope steering wheel makes it easy to find a comfortable driving position. Unfortunately, the visibility on the front and back is just average.
The center console room is much better because the 2018 Ford Escape has electronic parking brake buttons. There is some space for cups, keys or phones, and a deep and narrow center console for larger items. For cargo capacity, you can transport enough goods. The Escape provides 68 cubic feet of space with rear seats folded. Granted, it’s not as much space as in the Honda CR-V but the equivalent of the rest of the class.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Ford Escape is on sale and beginning to arrive now at dealers. It will compete againts Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage.
Official pricing starts at $24,845 for the Escape S (include destination fee). The SE has been priced from $26,600 and $27,950 when choosing for all-wheel drive. The top level Titanium 4×4 price will start at $34,390, and the new models SEL priced from $29,000.