Crossover & Midsize

2021 Hyundai Tucson vs. 2021 Ford Escape: The More Powerful Choice Is Clear

There are lots of compact crossover SUVs for buyers to look at and pick from these days. Two options are the 2021 Hyundai Tucson and the 2021 Ford Escape. Autotrader took a look at both. While it did find plenty of features of both that it liked (and didn’t like), it did prefer one over the other. Here’s what it found.

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson

According to Autotrader, the 2021 Hyundai Tucson stands out for “its value, outstanding warranty, and a choice of engines.” Autotrader does feel the 2021 Tucson’s “appearance is bland,” though.

The 2021 Tucson is available in six trim levels. The base SE trim comes with “17-inch alloy wheels, heated and power-folding mirrors, six-way adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility,” according to Autotrader.

Higher trims upgrade to an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, an upgraded audio system, leather seats, a heated steering wheel, cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, and heated rear seats.

There are two engine options for the Tucson, and Autotrader didn’t find either one to be that fast or powerful. The SUV does have a comfortable ride though. The base engine is a 2.0-liter I4, producing 161 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The second is a 2.4-liter I4 engine, available on the top four trims.

Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are both available, although the SUV isn’t designed for off-road driving. The Hyundai Tucson’s fuel efficiency isn’t as good as the Escape’s. It’s rated for 23 MPG in the city, 28 MPG on the highway, and 25 MPG combined.

The base trim comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Higher trims offer an 8-inch infotainment system, satellite radio, keyless ignition, a second-row USB port, a 360-degree camera system, and navigation.

Autotrader wishes the advanced safety features were standard. Some features are only available on higher trim levels, including blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, and rain-sensing wipers. The Tucson does come standard with driver attention warning, lane-keeping assist, and forward-collision avoidance assist, according to Hyundai. The Tucson also provides a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. It has a starting price of $24,840.

The 2021 Ford Escape

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Autotrader most likes that the 2021 Ford Escape offers a choice of engines, including two hybrid options, plus it has standard active safety features. Autotrader didn’t love that the Escape has “generic looks.”

The 2021 Escape is available in five different trims plus several packages. The base S trim has several driving modes, second-row sliding seats, two USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Higher trims offer heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, memory front seats, dual-zone climate control, and ambient lighting.

The Escape has multiple engine options, including a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The 1.5-liter three-cylinder base engine doesn’t have enough power and is “wheezy,” according to Autotrader. It does produce 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. Autotrader found the eight-speed automatic transmission to be “jerky.” Also, the steering isn’t super responsive.

There are additional engine options, including a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, a hybrid with a 2.5-liter engine and an electric motor, and a plug-in hybrid. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available (although not with the hybrid options). All-wheel drive is standard with the turbocharged engine. The Escape does have a comfortable ride. It has good fuel efficiency and is rated for 23 MPG in the city, 27 MPG on the highway, and 30 MPG combined.

The base trim has a 4.5-inch display screen and does not have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Higher trims have an 8-inch touchscreen plus compatibility for both. Also available are keyless entry, remote start, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and an upgraded audio system.

The Escape includes the Ford Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assistance and safety features on all trims. According to Ford, the suite includes pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning with cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera, evasive steering assist, lane-keeping assist, automatic high-beam headlights.

For 2021, the suite now also includes adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition. Active park assist is also available. The top trim has Co-Pilot 360 Plus, with more safety features. The 2021 Ford Escape has a shorter powertrain warranty than the Tucson, offering 5-year/60,000-mile coverage. It has a starting price of $26,080.

Autotrader likes the Ford Escape better than the Hyundai Tucson

Both the 2021 Hyundai Tucson and the 2021 Ford Escape have plenty to offer. The Hyundai Tucson has great value for a lower price plus a great warranty. The Ford Escape is a bit larger and has multiple engine choices, including two hybrids, plus good fuel efficiency. Its engines are also a bit more powerful than the Tucson’s. The Tucson has more standard features, but the Escape has more standard active safety features. While the 2021 Tucson is a good, sensible choice, Autotrader likes the 2021 Ford Escape better.