Plenty of powertrains. The Ford Escape is one of the few compact SUVs in the class to be available with four different powertrains. While a few competitors, like the Toyota RAV4, are available with similar engines as the Escape, other options like the Nissan Rogue are only available with one engine.

With the Escape, the base engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. This engine is available with both front- (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). The base engine is a fine motor for daily use, but it isn’t a thrilling option.

The next engine in the lineup is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. This engine is only available with AWD and comes with the same 8-speed automatic transmission as the base engine.

In addition to gasoline engines, the Escape is available with electrified powertrains. The first option is a conventional hybrid, while the other is a plug-in hybrid. Both come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The conventional hybrid is offered with FWD and AWD, while the plug-in hybrid model is only available with FWD.

Fuel economy ranges from good to incredible. The base 1.5-liter engine can get up to 30 mpg combined, while the available 2.0-liter engine can get up to 26 mpg combined. The hybrid is rated to get up to 41 mpg combined with FWD, with the plug-in hybrid model carrying a rating of up to 40 mpg combined and 105 MPGe combined.

Great safety scores. The Escape has great crash-test scores, but it doesn’t have a perfect rating. The NHTSA gave the compact SUV a five-star overall safety rating, as the SUV earned a five-star rating in its frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests.

The IIHS hasn’t crash-tested the 2022 Escape yet. The 2021 model was named a Top Safety Pick, which matches a lot of its competitors. The Escape earned a rating of “Good” in six of the seven crash tests. In the institute’s updated side test, the SUV earned a “Marginal” rating. The Escape’s vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system was found to be “Superior,” while headlights are “Acceptable” or “Marginal.” The Escape’s headlights are its major weakness compared to its competitors.

When it comes to safety features, the Escape impresses on that front, too. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced safety features is standard on the SUV. The bundle includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beam assist. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, park assist, a head-up display, and a surround-view parking camera.

Avoid the base trim. If you plan on renting a vehicle for a weekend trip, the base S trim is a fine choice. For the majority of people, it doesn’t come with enough to be a comfortable daily driver. The standard 4.2-inch display lacks smartphone compatibility and feels outdated compared to the available SYNC 3 infotainment system.

We think the SE trim represents the best trim in the lineup. It comes with an eight-inch touchscreen that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, as well as a Wi-Fi hot spot. For shoppers that are interested in getting a little boost in performance, the SEL is a good option. It’s the first trim in the lineup to be available with the 2.0-liter engine, though it’s a pricey upgrade that costs $3,295.

The Escape Hybrid and PHEV models, on the other hand, come well-equipped out of the gate. The SE Sport Hybrid and SE PHEV come with a good mix of technology and convenience features at a price that makes them the best value options.

Serious curb appeal. A lot of compact SUVs in the class have boring, bland designs that wouldn’t make anyone in your neighborhood jealous. The Escape will do just that.

Compare the 2022 Escape to the first-gen model that came out in 2001 and you wouldn’t think that they’re from the same model. The current Escape sports a contemporary, high-end design. Unlike other compact SUVs that have sharp edges and boxy lines, the Escape is far curvier. From the outside, the Escape gives the Mazda CX-5 a run for its money.

Unfortunately, the cabin goes in another direction. The cockpit is drab, with little color. Additionally, interior materials aren’t that nice, which makes the interior feel even more lackluster. Consumers will find nicer interiors in Ford’s pickup trucks, which is a bit confusing.

There’s some good news – the Escape’s interior is plenty comfortable. While getting three adults to sit comfortably in the back could be a squeeze, the compact SUV is still comfortable for up to four people. The rear seats can slide back for extra legroom, too. If rear legroom is a priority, the gasoline models have 1.8 inches more rear legroom because of the electrified models’ battery pack.

Final thoughts. The 2022 Ford Escape doesn’t have any glaring flaws but lacks the refinement of leaders in the segment. The Escape’s impressive range of powertrains, stylish exterior design, excellent fuel economy figures, and strong safety scores make the SUV a desirable option.

For true athleticism, check out the Mazda CX-5. The compact SUV is one of the most enjoyable vehicles to drive in the class and is available with a turbo engine that makes up to 256 hp. Also, it has a high-end cabin and loads of standard tech features.

The Hyundai Tucson is the real value option in the segment. It’s loaded with features, has a daring design, is available with multiple powertrains, and offers a spacious interior. As long as you like the way it looks, it’s an excellent choice.

Check prices for the 2022 Ford Escape »