Buying Guide

2018 Ford Escape Buying Guide | Compact crossover questions, answered

Autoblog answers all your questions about the 2018 Ford Escape

The Ford Escape is right in the thick of the compact SUV segment, with rivals including the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. The Escape is perfectly suited to SUV buyers who don't want to give up car-like driving manners. Handling is fun and sporty, something you don't often encounter in the sport-utility segment, no matter size or price point. The ride is firmer than some alternatives, however.

Changes for the 2018 Escape are minimal. A new trim level – the SEL – is squeezed between the existing SE and range-topping Titanium trim. The Escape's most powerful engine, a 245 horsepower four-cylinder, is now only available in Titanium trim.

Here you'll find all the information needed to make an educated buying decision if you're considering a 2018 Ford Escape, including safety and reliability ratings, engine specs, horsepower, fuel economy ratings and pricing.

We'll also summarize what Autoblog's professional auto reviewers think of the Escape.

2018 Ford Escape interior instrument panel

Is the 2018 Ford Escape Safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2018 Ford Escape an overall crash-test rating of five stars. The Escape scored perfect five-star ratings in front and side impact tests, along with a four-star rating for rollover resistance. The NHTSA tested the Escape in both front- and all-wheel drive formats, with identical results for each.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which provides ratings for new vehicles based on its own comprehensive crash tests, gave the Escape "good" ratings in all but one test. Driver-side protection in the small overlap test was deemed "acceptable." The Escape also scored an "acceptable" rating for the effectiveness of its headlights, along with a "marginal" rating for ease of use of the onboard LATCH anchors for child seats.

Ratings may differ for Escapes from other model years, so be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you're researching.

At the time of this writing, the 2018 Escape is subject to two ongoing recalls, according to the NHTSA. The first involves improper fitment of front brake hoses, which might chafe against other components and cause a brake fluid leak. This recall affects only 88 vehicles in total. The second recall involves an airbag inflator component that could detach during airbag deployment and become a projectile in the passenger compartment. This recall involves 11,113 vehicles.

Is the Escape reliable?

J.D. Power most recently reviewed initial quality in the 2017 Escape, which is almost identical to the 2018 model. It gave the Escape five out of five possible stars — a rating referred to as "among the best" — in four categories: powertrain quality design, body and interior quality design, overall quality, and overall quality design.

The Escape scored a three-out-of-five ranking – or "about average" – for powertrain quality mechanical, overall quality mechanical, and body and interior quality mechanical.

A note about J.D. Power's methodology: we have some rather serious issues with the way it weights serious and less serious reliability issues. Read more about that here.

How much interior and cargo room does the Escape have?

The 2018 Ford Escape seats up to five people, with 43.1 inches of front leg room and 37.3 inches in the backseat. Passengers get 39.9 inches of front head room and 39.0 inches in the rear seat.

The Escape offers 34.0 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats in the upright position, or 67.8 cu ft with them folded down. For comparison, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 has a 38.4 cubic feet of cargo room with its folding rear seats in place, and 73.4 cu ft with the rear seats down.

Find 2018 Ford Escape pricing, information, and even ones on sale near you.

2018 Ford Escape interior cargo area

What are the Escape engines and specs?

The entry-level Escape S comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 168 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission – the only gearbox offered across the entire range – the Escape S is available only in front-wheel drive format.

The Escape SE and SEL trim levels are equipped with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder, which delivers 179 hp and 177 lb.-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. Buyers have a choice of two- or four-wheel drive with this powertrain, in either trim.

The Escape Titanium, fitted with either front- or all-wheel drive, is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that offers a total of 245 hp and 275 lb.-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm.

What fuel economy does the Escape get?

The EPA rates the standard Escape S with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway. Escapes with the turbo 1.5-liter return 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The most powerful Escape is also the least economical. The Titanium model with the turbo 2.0-liter offers an economy average of 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway.

Is there a hybrid Escape?

There is no hybrid version of the Escape.

Does the Escape have AWD?

The Escape S is only available with front-wheel drive. All other Escape trim levels offer a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

What is the MSRP of the Escape?

The 2018 Escape has a starting MSRP of $23,940 for the S trim and goes up to $32,140 for the Titanium trim level. A mid-range Escape SEL with AWD and the 1.5-liter four-cylinder starts at $26,695.

Use Autoblog's Smart Car Buying program powered by TrueCar to search out competitive local pricing and savings on the 2018 Ford Escape.

2018 Ford Escape interior shifter

Can I read the latest review of the Escape?

Autoblog tested the Escape when it was brand new for the 2017 model year. Driving both the turbo 1.5-liter and turbo 2.0-liter back-to-back, Autoblog's Associate Editor, Jonathon Ramsey, noticed the difference between the two engines isn't as pronounced at the horsepower numbers suggest.

"Even though the 1.5-liter gives up 66 hp and 89 lb.-ft to the 2.0, the smaller EcoBoost doesn't feel like the cheap choice," he wrote.

Noting that the Escape shares the same platform as the nimble Ford Focus, Ramsey said "the handling DNA of the Escape's source material is evident in every switchback turn and sweeper," though the heavier and taller Escape provided steering that was ultimately "less communicative" than its sibling.

To get a sense of how the Escape's closest competitors stack up, use our Compare Cars tool.

Still, the Escape isn't all about tearing around corners. Most drivers aren't too interested in pushing the limits of their compact SUV. In that regard, Ford's small sport-utility earns high marks for everyday usability. "Around town the Escape is quiet as a vault, on the highway only wind noise intrudes into the cabin," Ramsey observed.

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Ford Escape Information

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Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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