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Compact SUVs like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V have grown in popularity for a variety of reasons. One of the major reasons they are so popular is that they offer all wheel drive capabilities at a low price point. They also offer great passenger and cargo room which adds to their versatility. While the Escape and CR-V both offer these features, there are some differences between the two vehicles that buyers should be aware of when comparing the two vehicles as possible purchases.
The CR-V offers two engine options, and the Escape offers three engine choices. Buyers of the Escape will have to step up from the base model to the SE to get access to all wheel drive capabilities. The CR-V offers all wheel drive as an add on option at the base trim level.
The Escape offers three engine choices for buyers looking to get the most out of their driving experience. The base trim level offers a 1.5 liter, four cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and adequate fuel efficiency. The powertrain on the Escape S with front wheel drive gets 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The SE and SEL trim levels offer a turbocharged version of the base engine that boosts the horsepower to 179. Fuel efficiency with the turbo charged four cylinder jumps to 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
The top trim level of the Escape boasts a 2.0 liter turbo charged engine that gets an impressive 245 horsepower. One benefit of stepping up to the extra potent engine option at the Titanium trim level is the towing capability. The Titanium can be equipped with a towing package that allows the Escape to trailer 3,500 lbs. This engine option offers fuel efficiency of 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
While the CR-V does not offer a more powerful engine or a towing package, it does offer fuel efficient engines and a CVT transmission. The automatic transmission is more efficient because it does not have multiple speeds. It does simulate shift points for a more traditional driving experience, but the transmission is designed with efficiency in mind.
The CR-V pairs its advanced transmission with two engine options. The 2.4 liter four cylinder is the base engine and offers 184 horsepower and 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. This engine is the standard option at the base trim level. Buyers looking to step up to the turbo charged four cylinder will have to also step up to the EX trim level. The EX is the second tier trim option and comes standard with a 190 horsepower engine that gets even more remarkable gas mileage with 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
Buyers looking for an exciting driving experience will probably opt for the Escape Titanium. The Honda CR-V engine lineup is more geared toward efficiency and practicality. The Escape definitely offers the most powerful and sporty option available between these two vehicles.
The warranties and predicted reliability ratings of the Escape and the CR-V are identical. Both vehicles have a 3.5 star out of five predicted reliability rating. Warranties for both vehicles include a three year or 36,000 bumper to bumper warranty and a five year or 60,000 mile warranty on the powertrain.
Both the Escape and CR-V offer quiet, comfortable rides. The CR-V has been hailed by many as one of the most comfortable rides for passengers. It has ample head room and leg space in both front and rear seating. It also has a very upscale interior with many premium materials and accents. The CR-V seats five people with two captain chairs in the front row and a three person bench seat in the back. The rear seat also offers 60/40 split fold down capabilities. Standard seating for the CR-V is cloth, but leather adornments are available in the upper trim levels.
The CR-V also has excellent cargo space. It offers 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. With the rear seats folded down, the CR-V offers 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
The CR-V driving experience is enhanced by excellent convenience features. It is equipped with a five inch audio control screen at the base trim level, but buyers stepping up to the CR-V EX will be provided with a seven inch touchscreen infotainment system. The EX is also equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The amenities only go up in desirability from there. The top trim level includes navigation, voice recognition and a nine speaker sound system.
The Escape offers exceptional drivability features with one of the most responsive and agile driving experiences available in a compact SUV. The Escape has a smooth ride and responsive steering as well.
The Escape also offers a great ride for passengers. The seats can be updated to leather and the interior is very upscale. The Escape offers ample head and leg room for front and rear seat passengers. The standard seating configuration includes two captain chairs in the front row and a 60/40 split bench seat in the rear.
Cargo space is also ample in the Escape. It offers 34 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 64 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded flat. While it trails some competitors in cargo space, it still offers great versatility. Like the CR-V it can be equipped with a hands free power liftgate for easy loading and unloading.
The Escape also offers advanced technology to help the passengers and driver enjoy the ride. The base model of the Escape offers a voice activated infotainment system with a 4.2 inch display. Buyers can upgrade the infotainment system to an eight inch touchscreen with Ford's Sync3 system. Upgrades also include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and AppLink capabilities. Top level amenities include a Sony 10 speaker HD sound system, navigation and ambient lighting.
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Both the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape earned top ratings from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The CR-V edged out the Escape by passing every test performed with a perfect rating. The Escape had only one bad mark for poor passenger safety in one test. The CR-V was awarded a Top Safety Pick designation by the Institute.
Both the CR-V and the Escape are equipped with a standard backup camera on every vehicle. The Escape also offers a standard MyKey feature. The MyKey system allows owners of the Escape to set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers.
Advanced safety features for the CR-V are included with every trim level above the LX trim. These features are a part of the Honda Sensing safety system. The Honda Sensing package includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and mitigation, forward emergency braking, and a lane keep assist system.
Standard on every CR-V are driver and passenger airbags, front and rear head airbags, and front side airbags. The CR-V also has four wheel anti-lock brakes, traction and electronic stability control, and brake assist.
Ford also offers advanced safety features for the Escape. Every trim level except the base offers buyers the ability to purchase the Ford Safe and Smart package. This add on equipment group includes adaptive cruise control, rain sensing wipers, automatic emergency braking, a lane keeping system and comprehensive blind spot monitoring. The package also includes automatic highbeams and a windshield wiper de-icer.
Standard safety equipment for the Escape includes front head airbags, rear head airbags and front side airbags in addition to the driver and passenger airbags. Each Escape also comes with traction control, electronic stability control, four wheel anti lock brakes and brake assist.
Which Has the Best Value?
The base model prices for both the Escape and the CR-V are very similar. Both vehicles start out with a sticker price of just over $24,000. Buyers that have their hearts set on all wheel drive will face a different set of base prices.
Because the Escape S is not able to be upgraded to all wheel drive, buyers have to step up to the SE trim. This adds thousands to the price of an Escape just to get all wheel drive. Buyers looking for the best deal on a compact SUV with all wheel drive will potentially save thousands with the CR-V LX because it can be upgraded at the base trim.
The Escape also falls behind the CR-V in fuel economy. Though the CR-V only has two engine options, it still beats the most fuel efficient Escape engine. The Escape gets adequate fuel economy with its turbo charged engines, but buyers will again have to step up to the SE trim level just to get access.
For bargain shoppers, the need for fuel economy and all wheel drive will make the CR-V stand out as a deal compared to the Escape. Buyers looking for the best deal on an upper trim level will find that the Escape SEL, which is outfitted with leather, a turbo charged engine and many advanced features is slightly less costly than the similarly equipped CR-V EX-L.
At the upper trim levels, buyers may again be swayed to favor the Escape Titanium over the CR-V Touring. The Escape Titanium costs less, is similarly equipped with top end amenities, and also includes the powerful 2.0 liter turbo charged engine. Aside from the extra excitement while driving, the Escape Titanium also offers a towing package for added versatility.
Which is Better?
The Honda CR-V offers great efficiency and value. It also offers excellent cargo space and passenger head and leg room. When buyers combine those factors with the excellent safety rating, it is little wonder that the CR-V is one of the highest rated and best selling compact SUVs. It offers a smooth, comfortable ride and plenty of upgrades for the more discerning buyer.
The Escape offers buyers the ability to get all the best features available in a compact SUV for a low price tag. The optional 245 horsepower engine and sporty driving experience make it an exciting choice for buyers looking for a little extra power and capability. The Titanium trim level may be a better choice for buyers looking to get the most out of their compact SUV.While both vehicles are capable and offer safety and versatility, the CR-V works better as a fuel efficient and less costly daily driver. The CR-V LX can also be upgraded to all wheel drive, making it a more attractive base trim level. While the middle trim levels of the CR-V and Escape stack up nicely against each other, the Titanium trim level of the Escape is probably a better vehicle than the Touring trim level of the CR-V.