The golden age of the gas-guzzling SUV has passed, replaced by an era of fuel-efficient and car-like crossovers. The Ford Escape and the Volkswagen Tiguan combine most of the traditional SUV's good points in a compact package that eliminates most of its drawbacks. But which is friendlier and more approachable to the modern driver?
The Great Escape
The current Escape started gaining praise from the moment it debuted. Along with expressive styling inside and out, the Escape boasts responsive handling and overall nimbleness that make it a very satisfying daily driver. High-quality materials are deployed throughout the cabin, and the sweeping dashboard is exceptionally attractive and functional.
Fuel economy is quite good with any of the three available four-cylinder engines. The top choice, a 240-horsepower
2-liter turbo, delivers a potent combo of power and efficiency.
The Tremendous Tiguan
Every Tiguan is powered by a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder that develops 200 horsepower, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. All models can get all-wheel drive (4MOTION) in place of the standard front-drive setup. The Tiguan goes from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, a strong showing for a compact crossover. The quiet, refined ride is balanced with the responsive handling you probably expect in a German-engineered vehicle.
The backseat slides and reclines to make the most of available space, but the Tiguan remains on the smaller end of this class when it comes to cargo space and rear legroom.
Tale of Two Crossovers
As its popularity suggests, the Escape is the definitive mainstream compact crossover. Volkswagen Tiguan takes a different approach. It's more interested in performance and interior appointments than kids and groceries.
Our Verdict: Ford Escape
The Ford Escape offers the efficiency and functionality that the market wants while doing everything else right.