Solid, sophisticated, and athletic, the fun-to-drive Ford Escape delivers agile handling and a taut, yet supple ride. Its cabin is among the quietest in the class. Overall, this small SUV feels more substantial than most of the competition. Just keep in mind that it's not the roomiest in the class or among the most efficient in terms of fuel economy.
The sporty character shines within the first few miles, with handling agility that's reminiscent of a well-honed European car. The ride is firm, yet composed. Low noise levels give it an edge over the competition and lend an upscale air. The most popular powertrain, a 1.5-liter turbo and six-speed automatic transmission, makes for pleasant and smooth power delivery. However, taking about 10 seconds to go from 0-60 mph and returning just 23 mpg overall puts the Escape behind its peers. The optional 2.0-liter turbo is more potent.
The cabin is a blend of upscale and cheap touches. Soft touch points and chrome bits give it a classy appearance. But the standard cloth seats are short on support and the driving position is narrow. The low rear seat is too short and flat. In terms of rear-seat accommodations, the Escape is not in the same league as the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, or Toyota RAV4.