2015 Ford Escape Review and Prices
Past and Future Reviews
The 2015 Ford Escape is the best compact crossover for you if you want sporty handling, avant-garde styling inside and out, gee-whiz features, and up to 32 mpg.
The 2015 Ford Escape should be a virtual rerun of the 2014 Escape, though it’s likely to feature a more user-friendly version of the controversial MyFord Touch infotainment interface. Escape will remain a five-passenger, four-door wagon offering a trio of four-cylinder engines -- two with Ford's EcoBoost turbocharging technology -- and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. The 2015 edition will continue to emphasize fuel economy and high-tech features. It’ll compete with the 2015 Honda CR-V and 2015 Toyota RAV4, as well as the 2015 Nissan Rogue, which was redesigned for model-year 2014.
Should you wait for the 2015 Ford Escape or buy a 2014 Ford Escape? Buy the 2014 Ford Escape. The 2015 Escape isn't likely to receive changes worth waiting for, and with a midcycle refresh due for model-year 2016, its styling will have a shorter shelf life than the 2014. And buying a 2014 Escape will help you avoid the inevitable model-year price increase.
2015 Ford Escape Changes back to top
Styling: The 2015 Ford Escape almost certainly will be a visual duplicate of the 2014 Escape, with perhaps one or two new color choices and a fresh wheel design. It will continue with its shaped-in-Europe body design. Trendy air intakes will again dominate a bold nose, wheel arches will look muscled-up and the windshield will be raked-back. It's a design that’s helped Escape leapfrog the Honda CR-V into compact-crossover sales leadership.
The 2015 Escape’s nearly 40 inches of front and rearseat headroom will again be among the best in class. But there’s less rear-seat legroom than in the CR-V or RAV-4, so bring your brood with you on a test drive. Escape also trails the Honda and Toyota for cargo volume, with a middling 34.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 68.1 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded.
The 2015 Escape cabin will again feature swooping shapes and a curved dashboard of complex intersecting angles. Center-console controls were inspired by mobile phones – although of the Blackberry variety. Still, it's clear the design is targeted at a generation that's grown up with all manner of handheld devices. This can be polarizing, but there’s little to criticize about the quality of the interior materials, which will remain well above the norm for this class.
Expect the 2015 Escape to continue a tiered lineup that includes base S, better-equipped SE, and top-line Titanium models. Exterior and interior trim and appointments will escalate accordingly, and even the base 2015 Escape will come standard with 17-inch wheels; the other wheel sizes are 18- and 19-inch alloys.
Mechanical: Based on a Ford global design, the 2015 Escape will continue to share the basics of its structure (also called a platform) with a variety of Ford vehicles. In the U.S. they'll include the 2015 Ford Focus compact sedan and hatchback and the 2015 Ford C-Max hybrid hatchbacks. This is a state-of-the-art platform boasting a well-sorted four-wheel independent suspension.
Expect the 2015 Escape to continue a drivetrain strategy that employs a trio of four-cylinder engines and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD).
The choice of just 10 percent of Escape buyers, the base engine should again be 2.5-liter rated at 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque (think of torque as the force that gets you moving, horsepower as the energy that maintains momentum).
Splitting the remaining 90 percent will be a pair of four-cylinders from Ford's EcoBoost engine family. EcoBoost engines employ a turbocharger for an added jolt of power. They use direct fuel injection for optimal combustion, and have twin independent variable camshaft timing for intake and exhaust efficiencies that benefit fuel economy and power delivery.
The 2015 Escape's 1.6-liter EcoBoost will likely again produce 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque and should be the most fuel-efficient of the three engines. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost is the sportiest and should again rate 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.
Every 2015 Escape will come with a six-speed automatic transmission. EcoBoost versions use a specially calibrated automatic with Ford's SelectShift feature that provides manual-type gear control via a thumb button on the shift lever.
Front-wheel drive places the weight of the engine over the wheels that propel the car. That benefits wet-pavement traction. AWD will continue as an extra-cost grip-enhancer for snow or loose surfaces. Expected to again be available on all but the S model, Escape’s AWD system will be crossover-typical, normally operated in front-drive and automatically reapportioning power to the rear wheels when the fronts begin to slip. Escape's role will never include severe off-road duty.
Expect the 2015 Escape to again come standard with four-wheel disc brakes. Every 2015 Escape will return with antilock technology for added control in emergency stops and an antiskid system to reduce chances of sideways slides. Two power-apportioning systems constitute an Escape technical highlight: Torque Vectoring Control helps the crossover accelerate through a turn, and Curve Control automatically slows the vehicle if it's cornering too fast.
Features: The 2015 Ford Escape should continue as the compact-crossover technology and connectivity leader – while again offering some novelties sure to impress neighbors.
Added for model-year 2014 and continuing for 2015 is a rearview camera. It’ll be standard on all models, along with Ford's innovative Sync system. Sync provides hands-free connectivity for communications, navigation, and entertainment services. It integrates a USB iPod interface and can provide turn-by-turn directions via the audio system. It can also interact with a smartphone to stream music from Pandora Internet radio and read aloud incoming text messages.
The 2015 Escape will also be available with Ford's divisive MyFord Touch infotainment system. MyFord Touch builds on Sync, but essentially replaces conventional dashboard buttons and knobs with touchscreen interfaces. In response to critics and customer feedback, expect more conventional hand controls for the 2015 Escape's MyFord Touch system as the company seeks to simplify adjustments for climate control and audio volume and tuning.
As before, 2015 Escapes ordered with MyFord Touch will be available with a map-type touchscreen navigation system and a Sony-branded 10-speaker premium audio system.
The 2015 Escape also will be available with the Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert to warn of vehicles in the driver's over-the-shoulder blind spot or those approaching from the sides when reversing from a parking-lot space.
In the impress-the-neighbors category, the 2015 Escape will again be offered with Ford's Active Park Assist, which can identify a suitable parallel parking space and literally take control to steers Escape into it while the driver simply modulates the brake pedal. Similarly, the available hands-free power liftgate allows an owner carrying the keyless-entry fob in a pocket or purse to unlock and open the power rear hatch by simply waving a foot below the rear bumper. To Ford’s credit, both these systems work as advertised and can be genuine conveniences.
Expect every 2015 Escape to again include as standard remote keyless entry, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat, power windows, locks and mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
2015 Ford Escape Prices back to top
Prices for the 2015 Ford Escape were not released in time for this review but expect them to remain competitive with others in the compact-crossover class.
That suggests a base-price range of roughly $23,800-$30,000 for Escapes with front-wheel-drive and $26,000-$32,000 for those with AWD. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer's destination fee; Ford's fee for the 2014 Escape was $895.
Estimated price for the 2015 Ford Escape S – probably available only in front-wheel drive -- is $23,800. S models will come with the aforementioned standard equipment, plus cloth upholstery.
Starting price for the 2015 Escape SE is an estimated $26,600 with front drive and $28,300 with AWD. SE models likely will continue with a 10-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, fog lamps, and 17-inch alloy wheels They'll probably again offer the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine as an option continuing around $1,200.
Returning as the Escape flagship, the 2015 Titanium model should again come with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost as its sole engine and begin around $30,000 with front-drive and $32,000 with AWD. As a fully equipped Escape crossover, the Titanium will continue standard with leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob. Also apt to be included: dual-zone climate control, a Sony 355-watt, 10-speaker audio system, the hands-free foot-activated liftgate, Sync with MyFord Touch, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Expect Escape’s optional sunroof to be priced at $1,500 and, in conjunction with MyFord Touch, the optional navigation system to be available for $800.
2015 Ford Escape Fuel Economy back to top
Fuel-economy ratings for the 2015 Ford Escape were unavailable in time for this review but are not apt to change from those of the 2014 model. That means the 2015 Escape's fuel economy should continue among the best in its competitive set.
With the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, expect the 2015 Escape fuel-economy ratings of 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive.
The 1.6-liter EcoBoost is likely to again rate 23/32/25 mpg with front drive and 22/30/25 with AWD. Look for 2015 Escapes with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost to again rate 22/30/25 with front drive and 21/28/24 with AWD.
Ford most likely will continue to recommend 87-octane gas for 2015 Escapes equipped with 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and premium 91-octane for those with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost.
Again aiding 2015 Escape fuel efficient will be an active grille-shutter system that reduces wind resistance. Escapes with the 2.5-liter engine and the1.6-liter EcoBoost will continue with grille slats that stay open when extra engine cooling air is required, such as low-speed stop-and-go driving. When cruising on the highway at steady speeds, the grille slats automatically close to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
2015 Ford Escape Release Date back to top
The 2015 Ford Escape is expected to go on sale in summer 2014.
What's next for the 2015 Ford Escape back to top
Some sources characterize expected changes to the 2016 Escape as a “reskin,” meaning fairly extensive styling alterations. Just as likely are fairly minor trim and appearance updates. Regardless, the 2016 Escape’s changes will seek to keep the crossover fresh until Ford introduces the next fully redesigned Escape for model-year 2018 or 2019.
No midcycle update will change Escape’s basic shape or dimensions. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, however, could be replaced prior to the full redesign. A candidate is Ford’s new and more sophisticated, more economical 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine. This turbocharged three-cylinder engine makes its first U.S. appearance as an option in the 2014 Ford Fiesta subcompact, where it rates 123 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.
Escape is known as the Kuga in some overseas markets, where it’s offered with a turbocharged diesel four-cylinder. Don’t expect Ford to make a diesel – or a gas-electric hybrid – powerplant available in the U.S.-market Escapes, at least not during the current design generation.
2015 Ford Escape Competition back to top
Honda CR-V: The 2015 CR-V probably will continue to trail only the Ford Escape in the compact-crossover sales race. That level of sustained popularity suggests CR-V buyers are satisfied not only with its design and performance, but with its selection of features. The 2015 CR-V won't be significantly different from the 2014 and will continue with a roomy and modern-looking body, competitive pricing, and an enviable record for reliability and resale value. The sole engine will remain a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with some 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, the lone transmission a five-speed automatic. Driving manners are first-rate, but fast acceleration isn't on the agenda. Fuel-efficiency is, with ratings of at least 23/31/26 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 22/30/25 with AWD.
Toyota RAV4: No. 3 in the compact-crossover sales derby behind the Escape and CR-V, RAV-4 was redesigned for model-year 2013 with livelier styling and new features. Like the Honda, the 2015 RAV4 again will be offered with a single four-cylinder engine connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. It beats Escape for passenger and cargo room but rides too hard over big bumps and ruts. And its aged engine -- a 172-horsepower 2.5-liter -- will remain undistinguished for performance. Fuel economy will be competitive with ratings of 24/31/26 mpg with front-drive, 22/29/25 with AWD.
Nissan Rogue: Hoping to emerge as more than an also-ran for looks and performance, Rogue was fully redesigned for model-year 2014. Full details were unavailable in time for this review, but wilder styling isn't likely to amend its primary role as an affordable crossover attempting to bridge the gap between the young-singles and young-family markets. Expect the return of a single four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission in lieu of a conventional automatic.