Ford Escape vs. Ford Explorer

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - February 9, 2017

Ford's most popular crossover SUV, the five-passenger Escape provides car-like efficiency and performance, along with the cargo space of a utility vehicle. The Ford Explorer follows the same formula, but its bigger footprint better meets the needs of large families.

The Explorer can carry more people and things, but does that make it the better choice?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Explorer & Escape »

What the Escape Gets Right

Although classified as a compact, the Escape can handle 34 cubic feet of cargo with its backseat up. With the second row folded, the space expands to 68 cubic feet. The load floor adjusts up and down to make loading easier, and small storage places are available throughout the interior.

The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 168 horsepower. Ford also offers two turbocharged four-cylinder engines: a thrifty 1.5-liter that produces 179 horsepower, and a 2.0-liter good for 245 hp. All-wheel drive is available with either turbo engine. Both feature automatic stop-start technology for enhanced efficiency.

The Escape offers new technology options for 2017, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and Ford's Sync 3 infotainment interface.

What the Explorer Gets Right

The Explorer provides room for seven passengers in an upscale, high-tech environment. With the back rows folded, you get 80.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is typical for a crossover of this size. The Explorer also offers advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control with collision warning, lane keeping assist, and an automated parking system.

Most models carry a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower for commendable overall performance. Efficiency-minded buyers can opt for a 280-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The Sport model carries a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with 365 horsepower, plus a firmer suspension and sportier trim. The Explorer's available all-wheel drive and Terrain Management System allows drivers to twist a knob and adjust the car for optimal performance on four types of terrain – normal road, sand, mud, and snow.

Is Bigger Always Better?

The Escape is a talented crossover that deserves all the sales it gets. It's hard to take issue with any part of the package, unless you need to carry more than five passengers. For that, only the larger Explorer will do.

Our Verdict: Ford Escape

The Escape is surprisingly capable for its size.

Take a closer look at the Ford Explorer »

Take a closer look at the Ford Escape »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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