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The Ford Escape may be a somewhat popular compact SUV, but you could be making a mistake by buying one. Instead, consider a Mazda CX-5. Here’s a look at what’s wrong with the 2021 Ford Escape and why a 2021 Mazda CX-5 is better.

What’s wrong with the 2021 Ford Escape?

A 2021 Ford Escape traveling on a city street
2021 Ford Escape | Ford Motor Company

According to Consumer Reports, the 2021 Ford Escape is not a good SUV for its segment. This has to do with the fundamentals, which are lacking on the Escape. For example, the base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder. It produces 181 hp and offers a fun ride. It gets about 26 mpg combined, which is good too.

However, it also has an “annoying vibration at low engine speeds,” Consumer Reports says. Plus, the Escape’s brake pedal can be overly sensitive, detracting from the overall driving experience.

And though the Escape has a few standard smart safety features, its reliability rating is low. In fact, Consumer Reports says the Escape has a terrible reliability rating and a mediocre owner satisfaction rating.

Overall, the 2021 Ford Escape scores only 46 out of 100. 

Why the 2021 Mazda CX-5 is a better choice

A 2021 Mazda CX-5 parked on a city street
2021 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda North American Operations

The Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5 start at around $25,000. However, Consumer Reports recommends buying a CX-5 instead of an Escape.

However, the 2021 Escape bests 2021 the CX-5 in two areas. With 26 mpg combined, the Ford gets better gas mileage than the Mazda CX-5’s, with 24 mpg combined. That’s 2 mpg less than the Escape’s fuel economy. Also, the CX-5’s infotainment controls require a steeper learning curve than the Escape’s. But overall, the CX-5 is the superior compact SUV.

In addition, there’s a huge gap between the CX-5’s reliability rating and the Escape’s. Consumer Reports gave the CX-5 an excellent reliability score. And that’s not all. Unlike Escape owners, Mazda CX-5 drivers are pretty satisfied with it. This makes sense because the CX-5 is as good as the Escape in other areas too.

For example, both have many of the same standard smart safety features. But thanks to a base engine upgrade, the 2021 CX-5 harnesses 187 hp — 6 hp more than the Escape. This and Mazda’s signature zippy handling make the CX-5 fun to drive too. Plus, it offers good ride quality and a quiet interior, making it a comfortable car.

So it’s no surprise the 2021 Mazda CX-5 earned an overall score of 83 out of 100 from Consumer Reports.

But if you’re not a Mazda fan, there’s yet another alternative to the Ford Escape.

The 2021 Chevy Equinox is a good back-up option

If you’d rather stick with an American automaker, Consumer Reports recommends the 2021 Chevy Equinox as a decent under-the-radar alternative. Starting at just under $24,000, the Equinox is cheaper than the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape.

As for fundamentals, the Equinox isn’t bad, either. It offers plenty of space and, like the CX-5, provides a comfortable and quiet ride. However, its interior might feel cheap, Consumer Reports warns.

Regardless, the 2021 Equinox comes with many standard safety features. Plus, it earned an overall score of 74 out of 100, which is decent, especially compared to the Escape. 


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