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Ford Escape 2022 review: Vignale FWD

The Vignale has a great sporty look on the outside. (Image: Dean McCartney)

We've all heard of the Ford Escape, but have you heard of the Ford Escape Vignale? It's the premium version of this mid-size SUV, priced at $46,590, plus options and on-road costs.

It competes with cars like the Kia Sportage SX+, Mazda CX-5 GT SP, and Toyota RAV4 Cruiser.

Read more about Ford Escape

I test drove this car over three weeks with my family of three (including a road trip away), to see if it ticked all the boxes. And if you want to know this mum's thoughts on the Ford Escape Vignale, keep reading.

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What does it look like?

The Vignale has a great sporty look on the outside, from the big chrome grille to the large 19-inch alloy wheels, and even more so with the optional 20-inch wheels fitted to the test car.

Our car also came with optional 'Solar Silver' prestige paint, which I think is worth the extra $650 if you really love what you see.

It's the premium version of this mid-size SUV, priced at $46,590, plus options and on-road costs. (Image: Dean McCartney) It's the premium version of this mid-size SUV, priced at $46,590, plus options and on-road costs. (Image: Dean McCartney)

The interior features the seats and steering wheel trimmed in Ford's 'Sensico' synthetic leather, a soft plastic dash with contrast stitching (which I think looks really nice), and wood-look trim, which gives it a bit of class.

The Vignale has a great sporty look on the outside, from the big chrome grille to the large 19-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Dean McCartney) The Vignale has a great sporty look on the outside, from the big chrome grille to the large 19-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Dean McCartney)

The best part is everyone gets to enjoy the sunroof as it's panoramic. You can open it all the way, or just half way if the backseat passengers are in the sun too much.

How does it drive?

This car is an easy drive. When you put your foot down, there's no lag, it just takes straight off.

I was driving the 2.0-litre 'EcoBoost' front-wheel drive version which features an eight-speed auto transmission.

Thanks to all of that, there's plenty of power for getting up hills (even when loaded for our week away), and it has 'Hill Launch Assist' to help steady the car on steep take-offs.

But there are some downsides. The steering feels light and floaty, which I didn't enjoy. And the brakes don't feel like they respond evenly.

I was driving the 2.0-litre 'EcoBoost' front-wheel drive version which features an eight-speed auto transmission. (Image: Dean McCartney) I was driving the 2.0-litre 'EcoBoost' front-wheel drive version which features an eight-speed auto transmission. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Put your foot on the brake and it engages to a certain point, but you need to press the pedal harder to get the car to stop entirely.

Sometimes that makes it hard to judge where the car will come to a complete stop, and that tendency resulted in a few abrupt halts.

The 2.0-litre 'EcoBoost' front-wheel drive version features an eight-speed auto transmission. (Image: Dean McCartney) The 2.0-litre 'EcoBoost' front-wheel drive version features an eight-speed auto transmission. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Also, when driving through dual speed zoned streets, the sat nav indicates the lowest speed regardless of time and day.

So, if you're unfamiliar with the streets, or distracted by the endless questions your toddler is asking you from the back seat, you will be that annoying person driving 40km/h through a weekday school zone, on a Saturday morning.

How spacious is it?

For everyday life, there is plenty of space in this five-seater for front and rear passengers. We even packed it up to go away for a week a few hours north.

There is plenty of space in this five-seater for front and rear passengers. (Image: Dean McCartney) There is plenty of space in this five-seater for front and rear passengers. (Image: Dean McCartney)

The back seats can slide forward to create more room in the boot, increasing cargo space from 412 litres to 526 litres. To fit our standard sized pram in length ways, we needed to slide that rear row all the way back.

Sliding the back seats forward, increases cargo space from 412 litres to 526 litres. (Image: Dean McCartney) Sliding the back seats forward, increases cargo space from 412 litres to 526 litres. (Image: Dean McCartney)

We fitted everything you could think of when packing to stay in an Airbnb for a week. All our luggage, an Esky, our three-year old's bike, and our travel pram even slotted into the footwell behind the driver's seat without needing to change the driver's seating position.

How easy is it to use every day?

I could easily do all my everyday errands. There are no dramas filling up the boot with groceries, it's easy to navigate in busy shopping centre carparks, and I could get our son in and out of his car seat without stress (even with me being six months pregnant).

There was no adjustment period jumping into this car from driving my own. The only down side is, although it's a medium SUV, the floor of the boot doesn't feel all that much higher than a wagon.

That was one feature I was looking forward to, not having to bend down as low, but for the ease of everything else, that one down fall isn't too much of a worry.

It has two ISOFIX car seat points and three top tether points, we used a top tether point for our son's car seat and it was a really easy install.

In terms of storage, there are three cupholders for front seat passengers, as well as generous door bins with bottle holders and a large centre storage box/armrest.

There are three cupholders for front seat passengers, as well as generous door bins with bottle holders and a large centre storage box/armrest. (Image: Dean McCartney) There are three cupholders for front seat passengers, as well as generous door bins with bottle holders and a large centre storage box/armrest. (Image: Dean McCartney)

The wireless charging tray is in front of the gearshift in the centre console, as well as 12V outlet, plus USB-A and USB-C ports, with the same charging choices available in the rear.

Speaking of which, there are two cupholders in the back, but only tiny door pockets.

Being a mum who often has her hands full when at the boot, having the 'Hands-Free Power Tailgate' function to open the boot is a life saver. Well, it would be if it ever worked.

I mustn't lie, it did work... once in the entire time I had this car. So, that's pretty disappointing.

although it's a medium SUV, the floor of the boot doesn't feel all that much higher than a wagon. (Image: Dean McCartney) although it's a medium SUV, the floor of the boot doesn't feel all that much higher than a wagon. (Image: Dean McCartney)

What I also found a bit disappointing, was the seats. They aren't very supportive, so look out if you're going around a corner a little fast, you'll feel like you're going to fall off.

They're quite firm, too, which made things a tad uncomfortable for our three-hour road trip.

I'm also not thrilled by the noise the doors make when you close them. Akin to the lid of a metal kettle being slammed shut. Kind of erodes the Vignale's flagship vibe.

How safe is it?

There are some great safety features with this car, I felt super confident having my family along for the ride.

It has six airbags, ABS and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist), AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot information with cross-traffic alert, a driver impairment monitor, lane keeping aid (with lane departure warning), adaptive cruise control (with stop and go function), front and rear parking sensors, and seatbelt monitors for all seats.

Oh, and it also has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating (to 2019 criteria).

What’s the tech like?

This car has a great sound system, with 10 speakers and a subwoofer, so no matter where you sit, you'll be sure to enjoy the tunes.

It has satellite navigation, which always comes in handy with 'Speed Limit Detection', which as I mention above, will always give you the lowest speed in dual speed zones.

The multimedia screen is 8.0 inches, which is on the smaller side, but that didn't get in the way of how awesome the reversing camera is.

The multimedia screen is 8.0 inches. (Image: Dean McCartney) The multimedia screen is 8.0 inches. (Image: Dean McCartney)

It's so clear, and really easy to park with. One of the better reversing cameras I've used.

What bothers me about the screen is the lag in touching it, especially when typing an address for navigation. And the nav keyboard is in alphabetical order, rather than a QWERTY layout, which is super annoying.

There's a head-up display showing the speed limit and navigation directions, negating the need to glance down at the dash so often.

I can't forget to mention the heated front seats (my favourite feature in winter), as well as the 10-way power adjustment for the driver's seat. I feel bad for the front passenger, they only have eight-way adjustment, and it's manual.

Standard dual-zone climate control is also a welcome inclusion.

How much does it cost to own?

For the premium model, I was expecting to spend a lot of money on fuel, but that wasn't the case.

Ford claims combined cycle fuel consumption of 8.6L/100km. And before leaving for our holiday (where we did a lot of freeway driving), the Escape averaged about 9.5L/100km through suburbia.

Overall, it consumed 8.8L/100KM. (Image: Dean McCartney) Overall, it consumed 8.8L/100KM. (Image: Dean McCartney)

Overall, it consumed 8.8L/100KM. You can fill up with E10, although fuel economy will suffer somewhat using that fuel.

Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first) and the first four workshop visits are capped at $299 each, including GST. In my opinion, that's pretty great!


The Wrap

Overall, the 2021 Ford Escape Vignale is easy to drive, safe, has a premium sporty look, and a decent amount of tech included. But for the price, I'd expect more. The seats that don't support you enough, the inconsistent hands-free power tailgate, and the unconvincing sound of the doors closing are just a few things that don't sit well with a premium model. It's an enjoyable ride. I'm just not sure I'd pay that much for it.

Likes

Easy to drive
Safety
Premium sporty looks

Dislikes

Seats lack support
Inconsistent hands-free tailgate
Laggy media touchscreen

Scores

Ash:

3.5

The Kids:

3.5

$47,090

Based on new car retail price

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