Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Escape Titanium

Kamil Kaluski
by Kamil Kaluski

Today’s cute compact crossovers are slowly replacing mid-size sedans as the most popular vehicle on the market, and with good reason too. They have smaller footprints, are easier to drive, are more versatile, more economical, and AWD systems provide a piece of mind during foul weather. Is the Escape a…wait for it…game changer?

The interior is unmistakably Ford, with clear analog gauges and the MyFord Touch system high and center. The seats are very comfortable, heated in the front, and the angle of the headrests is adjustable so they will not press against the back of your head like some other Fords. The rear seat is best for two passengers but three adult butts or three booster seats will fit. The rear bench folds flat and is split 60:40. The dash is made of at least four different types of materials which do not always complement one another or match up perfectly, such as where the A-pillar meets the dash. HVAC controls and other buttons are small, low in the dash, and obscured by the shifter. At night the interior ambiance lighting can be adjusted in color and intensity to match your mood.

The MyFord Touch system received a slew of upgrades over the years and is now actually usable by a novice. Some of the touch-screen buttons are small and shorter drivers may need to stretch to touch the screen. Those truly adventurous can opt to shout at the system to get it to do what they want. The system easily connected to my phone and offers a ton of options and features which will likely go unused by most buyers. An Audi or Lexus-like knob would make this one of the best systems on the market.

The previous generation had large square windows but this one, like the rest of the auto industry, has smaller windows all around. Despite that, visibility in all directions remains surprisingly good. Doors are large and open wide, making the chore of loading kids into the car a task that won’t break your back. Auto up and down on all windows, as opposed to just the driver’s window, is a nice touch. The rear bumper height is low, making loading and unloading easy. The big rear power hatch can be opened by waving your foot under the bumper, but it is slower in operation than other cars.

The top engine choice is a 240hp and 270lb-ft 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder which is very nicely matched to the vehicle; smooth, quick, and responsive. The six-speed automatic has two driving modes, D and S. In S it downshifts sooner and holds the gears longer, but not too long, where it becomes annoying. The ride is smooth and when tossed into a highway ramp, the Escpape remains neutral and composed, if a bit top-heavy. In this 4WD configuration, the EPA rates the Escape at 21mpg city and 28mpg on the highway. When equipped with a Class II trailer tow package, the little Escape can tow a 3500lb trailer.

The 2015 Ford Escape starts at $22,610 for the base SE model with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine and 2WD. Those wanting 4WD need to step up to the SE with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine (178hp/184tq) which starts at $26,810. Our Titanium model, with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost ($1195 over the 1.6-liter), starts at $31,965. Equipment Group 301A adds HID headlights, blind-spot detection, automatic wipers, and parking sensors for $1735. Navigation system is $795 and destination charges are $895 for a total MSRP of $35,150. At the time of this writing there was a $750 factory incentive.

The Escape is a nice vehicle overall, but aside from the peppy engine it does not bring anything new to the market. While none of its competitors feel more exciting in any comparable way, it feels like Ford decided to make just another vehicle to fill the market niche. The powerful engine is nice, but this is a price driven category where competitors offer one engine at a much lower overall price.

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there.

Ford provided the vehicle for this review.

Kamil Kaluski
Kamil Kaluski

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  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Sep 23, 2014

    If some of the folks above discussing AWD vs FWD+snow tires were as smart as they seem to think they are, they would stop the tiresome habits of unfair comparisons and confusing technological capability with human behavior. There is no question AWD vehicles have better traction than 2wd. There is no question a car with better clearance will get through rougher stuff than one with lesser clearance. There is no question more clearance leads to a higher center of gravity which will degrade cornering. There is no question snow tires grip better on snow than all-seasons. Yet, some persist in comparing AWD equipped with all-seasons, with 2wd with snow tires. How about making it fair and comparing AWD plus snow tires with 2wd plus snow tires? How about factoring out the skill of the drivers when comparing different vehicle configurations and tire types? Consider what an AWD vehicle with snow tires and a skilled driver can do in snow. Can a 2wd with snow tires and a driver of equal skill match it? Um, no. I agree that like many features and for many car buyers, AWD is yet another feature that allows manufacturers to condition the public into believing an increasingly upscale vehicle is the minimum equipment level for an acceptable purchase. But AWD probably offers a better value proposition than, say, expensive artsy proprietary headlight clusters or padded surfaces no one will ever touch.

    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Sep 23, 2014

      The problem is, the majority of people see AWD as a perfectly fine substitute for having the proper tires on the vehicle. It simply is NOT. *I* know better, which is why my AWD Range Rover runs appropriate tires in the winter, just like my RWD BMW does. And my FWD Saab did. With the added bonus that since I am not using tires that have to be jack of all trades but master of none, I can run higher performance tires for summer use in the summer than "all seasons" that have to be usable all year. The proof that I am correct is all around every winter when the roads are slippery. AWD does nothing for the majority of people but waste money and supply a false sense of confidence. I have absolutely NO concern over getting stuck in the winter. I have HUGE concern over being able to stop and steer, neither of which are helped particularly by AWD, in comparison to having the right tires on the vehicle. So ultimately, I agree with you that AWD+snow tires is the best. My Rover laughs at winter. But it hits your wallet three ways: costs more to buy, costs more in gas, and costs more to fix. I have AWD on the Rover because that is the only way they come, and I do regularly have to haul boats and Seadoos over a sand beach and up a steep embankment at the lake. That it is a great winter vehicle is just a bonus, the BMW will get me anywhere I need to go. And really, if the conditions are just slippery, and not unplowed snow, the BMW IS better than the Rover. It stops better, and it steers better, because it weighs almost 1500lbs less. The Rover would win a drag race in the slipperies, but who cares?? And this is with the Rover having much more aggressive tires. Obviously an AWD BMW would be better than the RWD one in the same conditions on the same tires. But at a cost I am unwilling to pay. As someone on here previously said, it's spending $6000 to keep from spending $600 on the right tires. Nicer plastics cost about nothing. Better headlights at least let you see better in the dark every single night(though I find them to be well past the point of value for money too, I ordered my BMW with halogens). AWD is really useful only a handful of days a year, and even on those days, it is just not THAT useful for the majority of people. It will even get some of them injured or killed.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Sep 24, 2014

    The cell phone Millennial look dash, boring blah grey/charcoal interior and monotone look do not make me think 35 grand. And I still wonder how these highly stressed turbo 4 bangers are going to hold up in the real world, especially after towing. The exterior styling really does little to raise my heartbeat either. I can go right across the street to the Hyundai store and get a V6, larger cargo area and much more pleasing interior looks/quality for this kind of coin!

  • MaintenanceCosts If he releases gas, he's trying to juice his chances in the election.If he doesn't release gas, it's a Klaus Schwab plot to force everyone into 15-minute citiies.
  • SCE to AUX AP reports:"The move, which the department said is intended to help “lower costs for American families and consumers,″ follows a mandate from Congress to sell off the 10-year-old Northeast reserve and then close it. The language was included in a spending deal Congress approved in March to avert a partial government shutdown."Mr Biden may be vainly trying to buy votes with the timing, but it looks like he is forced to do it anyway.
  • Oberkanone Mixed messages from Biden administration. Is today an EV day or Gasoline day?
  • Slavuta "The Biden-Harris Administration is laser focused on lowering prices at the pump for American families" - Green agenda, 15 minute cities... No wonder WEF Schwab has retiredMeanwhile the US became biggest by far producer and exporter with oil being the main export, a gasoline station pretending top be a state, just like McCain described it. At least. Saudis share the oil profits amongst population.
  • Duties Here is a novel idea: allow consumer demand to drive product development, not the dictates of a shuffling, octogenarian leftist in Washington D.C.