Not every Ford vehicle has long-lasting appeal, but some models have stood the test of time. The Mustang has become an iconic muscle car, while the F-150 is a legendary truck. And though the Ford Escape is relatively new to the scene, its fun handling has charmed critics.
The Escape is also one of the cheapest cars to insure, according to NerdWallet. It joins the Ford F-150 on this list, despite the truck’s high likelihood of getting stolen. In addition to its affordability, what else makes the Ford Escape worth the buy?
The latest Ford Escape at a glance
The Ford Escape’s base engine is an adequately quick three-cylinder capable of 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. This engine also gets the best mileage, up to 28/34 mpg city/highway. However, Consumer Reports says it doesn’t take much to get the engine vibrating.
Consumers who want a boost will appreciate the available four-cylinder making 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. According to Car and Driver, it posts an exceptional 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which operates audibly yet smoothly.
Regardless of the engine, the Ford Escape’s handling is refreshing in a typically unexciting segment. The steering wheel could use more feedback, but this compact crossover can zip around corners with ease. Besides the noise on the lower trims, quick jolts over road imperfections can unsettle the cabin.
Most critics recommend avoiding the Ford Escape’s lower trim levels because of a tacky interior and basic infotainment controls. The higher trims offer more comfortable synthetic or genuine leather seats. And both rows, regardless of trim level, offer enough stretch-out space for even taller adults.
The driver gets the best spot in the vehicle, with an elevated seating position, armrest, and left footrest. Cargo space is average by class standards, but still with plenty of room for multiple suitcases.
The SYNC 3 infotainment system isn’t available on the base trim, but critics agree it’s worth upgrading. It boasts an intuitive mix of physical and touch controls and comes with essentials like smartphone integration. Each Escape also features a decent number of safety features and good crash test scores.
Which Ford Escape is right for you?
The 2021 Ford Escape S comes with cloth seats, the base engine, and a handful of infotainment offerings. But upgrading to the SE trim doubles the infotainment screen size and adds smartphone integration. Two optional packages give buyers additional comfort settings, including heated seats and a rear-seat armrest.
The Ford Escape SEL comes with those extra features standard, plus the option to get the four-cylinder. That engine is standard on the Titanium model, which also has leather seats, a premium audio system, and more safety features. A panoramic sunroof is an exclusive upgrade for this trim.
How much does this compact SUV cost?
Starting at $25,555, the base Ford Escape is slightly pricier than its rivals. The SE costs less than $1,500 more, and you get a much better infotainment interface. The SEL costs $29,505, and you can add the turbo-four engine for $3,300 extra.
The range-topping Titanium starts at $36,055. Though this trim provides all the best features, more expensive equipment might raise your insurance rates.
Opting for a more moderately equipped Ford Escape means you might have to pay only $1,476 annually for insurance. NerdWallet says the national average has risen to $1,592 in 2021, so this compact crossover is an even better value than ever.