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Ford Escape Trend FWD 2018 review

If you’re in the market for an Escape, you’ll also most likely be looking at a Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and a Hyundai Tuscon.
Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

19 Dec 2017 • 14 min read

Stepping into a Ford is like stepping back in time for me. My family had a big Ford Falcon while I was growing up. We've all been in one! But Ford has come a long way since then.

The Ford Escape is a five-seat, mid-sized SUV that much like all Fords, really does what it sets out to do: transport your family seamlessly from school to work and home again. If you’re in the market for an Escape, you’ll also most likely be looking at a Toyota RAV4Mazda CX-5 and a Hyundai Tuscon.

I drove a middle of the range Ford Escape Trend, in the front-wheel drive (FWD) petrol version. Let’s see how it performed on my busy family week of playdates, birthday parties and even a sleepover for the kids at grandma’s while mummy and daddy got to go out (had to mention it, it's so rare these days).

How does it drive?

With the Ford Escape, what you see is what you get. It’s an easy drive and there are no fancy buttons to get used to or components to work out. The front window is beautifully wide and there are no visibility issues out the back either, so you won’t be complaining about blind spots - something I know can be an issue in some competitors. Everything is nicely within reach, and I’m not scrambling to find anything.

As I was in the FWD version, there were some moments when I thought it could have done with more traction on the road. Around corners on a freeway for example. But if you’re light on the accelerator and are concentrating, as well you should be, this is not an issue.

  • It’s not huge on the power with a 1.5 litre 'EcoBoost' engine - perfectly fine if you’re driving in the inner city or suburbia. It’s not huge on the power with a 1.5 litre 'EcoBoost' engine - perfectly fine if you’re driving in the inner city or suburbia.
  • The Escape Trend FWD Eco is quite fuel-efficient, with Ford claiming 7.2 litres/100km on the combined cycle. The Escape Trend FWD Eco is quite fuel-efficient, with Ford claiming 7.2 litres/100km on the combined cycle.

It’s not huge on the power with a 1.5 litre 'EcoBoost' engine - perfectly fine if you’re driving in the inner city or suburbia. There are larger engine options should you want a bit more oomph.

It’s really easy to park, helped along by the size, good visibility and of course the rear parking camera and sensors.

How spacious is it?

It has plenty of legroom for me and my 185cm husband. The front is nice and roomy and while it’s not as enormous as a large SUV, you don’t feel like it’s small in any way. The driver’s seat adjusts manually and I’m able to find a comfortable driving position quickly.

In the back, there is plenty of room for my two children aged four and six. I can also fit in there super easily, though I’m small at 161cm. But there is definitely lots of room and this is a genuine five seater - you can actually fit three car seats across the back, not like some cars which just say you can fit them. I tried it with two booster seats and the big six months-seven years car seat and it worked perfectly fine.

  • The front is nice and roomy and while it’s not as enormous as a large SUV, you don’t feel like it’s small in any way. The front is nice and roomy and while it’s not as enormous as a large SUV, you don’t feel like it’s small in any way.
  • In the back, there is plenty of room for my two children. In the back, there is plenty of room for my two children.

The boot space is also big enough to fit the CarsGuide, pram, and more importantly, my children’s bikes. Now, they are little bikes, but in some cars (Kia Sportage, I’m looking at you) I am shuffling things around like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, which really is not fun when you’re packing up after a long day of bike track riding.

The Ford Escape swallowed them easily with room for groceries as well. However, it’s not as big as a RAV4’s boot, which is huge for its class.

What is the safety like?

The Escape Trend comes with seven airbags includng side curtain airbags for the front and back row. There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for car seats and it has a five star ANCAP rating.

However this middle-of-the-range model is missing Auto Emergency Braking (AEB), which now comes standard on its rivals the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4, and is that excellent bit of technology which stops the car if it senses you're about to hit something. But you do get things like cruise control and rear parking sensors.

What does it look like?

Outside, it kind of looks like a beefed up hatchback cross van. It’s much sleeker and sportier than the RAV4 or even the CX-5 and the Kia Sportage, so it’s definitely not your classic SUV. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you’re after. For those hesitant to move up to an SUV from a hatch, you will love it.

Inside is fairly basic, with a standard dash and centre console area. The steering wheel is leather so points for that, and everything else is well laid out. This model has fabric seats and if you’re wondering how they go with children, well, my daughter stepped in dog poop on the weekend, then climbed into the car. Joy.

The Escape Trend gets 17-inch wheels as standard. The Escape Trend gets 17-inch wheels as standard.

I scrubbed the seats with soap and antiseptic and it actually came out. So there you have it - the absolute worst thing possible you can get on fabric carseats will come out. Though I would definitely suggest buying floor mats for the back because they don’t come standard. And they really would have been helpful.

How easy is it for everyday use?

Gotta hand it to Ford, the Escape is super practical. The doors open wide, the car is not so high off the ground that the children needed to be picked up, they could get in on their own. The boot was the right height to hoist groceries into, not too high, and everything is where it should be.

There’s a small spot to throw your keys and your phone, one of my must-haves in a car. There are two cupholders in the front and two cupholders in the middle armrest in the back plus a bottle holder in each door that fits even the wide CarsGuide water bottle.

  • The boot space is also big enough to fit the CarsGuide, pram, and more importantly, my children’s bikes. The boot space is also big enough to fit the CarsGuide, pram, and more importantly, my children’s bikes.
  • The Escape comes with a space saver spare tyre. The Escape comes with a space saver spare tyre.

The Escape comes with a space saver spare tyre which means that if your tyre busts on a long road trip, you’ll need to change it then find somewhere to replace the tyre, because space savers don’t last on very long trips.

What's the tech like?

The good news is the Ford Escape comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which means as soon as you plug your phone into one of two USB points in the centre console, the icons on your phone pop up on the 8.0-inch multimedia screen, and your phone is instantly connected. You can also really easily play Spotify through it. You instantly know what you’re doing when it comes to the tech.

The in-built sat nav is fine to use and the digital radio works a treat. The speakers aren’t fantastic however. The in-built sat nav is fine to use and the digital radio works a treat. The speakers aren’t fantastic however.

Even if you don’t want to use that, the in-built sat nav is fine to use and the digital radio works a treat. The speakers aren’t fantastic however. I went for a few long drives in this car and really wanted to turn the music up loud to let loose, but the sound wasn’t cutting it. I still managed, of course.

What does it cost to drive?


The Wrap

The Ford Escape is a neat family SUV. It’s one of those cars that does the job and while not the most flashy mobile on the road, it's good value for money. At this price, you’ll be in a five seater that comfortably fits your family and is in it for the long haul.

I gave it seven stars out of 10, taking points off for no AEB and the styling in general. My children gave it seven lolly bags out of 10 - they were a bit disappointed it took me so long to clean off the dog poop, that they got to their birthday party late. Kids.

Likes

Fuel efficient
Spacious cabin and boot
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

Dislikes

No AEB
Interior styling
Not great speakers

Scores

Nedahl:

3.5

The Kids:

3.5

$28,490 - $47,490

Based on new car retail price

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