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Ford Escape Vs. Honda CR-V: Compare Cars

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Ford Escape Vs. Honda CR-V

Ford Escape Vs. Honda CR-V

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The Ford Escape and Honda CR-V are two of the best-selling crossovers on the market. Yet they offer two very different takes on what's important in this kind of vehicle. They're both good for families on a growth spurt, but which one is the better pick and why?

It's easy to pick out the ways in which the new Escape excels--and the ways in which Honda's crossover carves out an even bigger niche for itself. It boils down to size and fun. If you're looking for the flexible, utility-driven safety specialist, take the CR-V. It's not rated as highly here, but in several critical categories, we've put it ahead of the Escape.

The most important scores for families--quality and comfort--are the ones in which the CR-V shines. It's a little smaller than the new Escape in some critical dimensions, but it delivers more usable interior space thanks to a more upright shape with more efficient packaging. The seats are more plushly upholstered, too--and the flip-fold mechanism that turns the second-row seat from passenger perch to cargo bench is the most clever touch in its class. By comparison, the Escape reads more like a tall station wagon, with the combination of a rather low dash but upright driving position feeling a little more carlike overall.

The CR-V also rules the safety rankings, earning not just a top five-star score from the federal government, and both models earn mostly 'good' scores from the IIHS. Both have a less-than-ideal performance in the new IIHS small overlap frontal test, with the Escape getting an especially low 'poor' rating. The Escape is also a four-star federal performer. It's not a complete smack--down though, as the Escape offers more advanced safety technology like parking sensors and active park assist.

For families hunting down a new commuting appliance, the CR-V works extremely well. That said, after a day's drive in the athletic, attractive new Escape, we'd give it the enthusiast nod, each and every time. Not only does it look the part of a hot hatchback--the CR-V's hunched-over back has nothing on Ford's rally-ready air intakes and rakish angles--the Escape's turbo thrust, ride and handling hold up to repeated thrashings. The electric power steering at least feels like it's in the game; the ride's very well damped, even taut; the 240-horsepower four's able to hit 60 mph in under 8 seconds, even with only a six-speed automatic running plays underfoot. (A pair of less powerful engines are available, too: a 2.5-liter four with 170 hp, and a turbo 1.6-liter four with 178 hp.)

Fuel economy ends up in Ford's corner: the CR-V's top EPA ratings hit 30 mpg, while the best Escape model is rated at 33 mpg highway.

For those times when running around off-road is part of the plan, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds, and has optional all-wheel drive, just like the CR-V. Its cabin has much firmer seats with much thinner padding, which telegraphs a sportier feel without delivering discomfort. Its back seats fold forward too, though not with the final flourish of fold-forward fancy that Honda's mustered in the CR-V.

As for features, the Escape triumphs, though Honda's made good progress. The CR-V now has standard Bluetooth, and streaming audio and mobile connectivity are reality. The Escape feels in a class above, if you shop by feature lists, with options for leather, a panoramic sunroof, MyFord Touch's voice-command controls, even a hands-free tailgate that opens or closes with the wave of a foot.

In the end, it's a decision between brand-new and carefully updated crossovers. The Escape's a wholly different vehicle that the faux-truck that was not so long ago discontinued. The CR-V on the other hand has changed in no-nonsense, evolutionary ways, keeping it at the top of the class for the mission it has in mind. Our advice: If you're so busy you barely have time to think of the driving itself, get the CR-V; but if you want a little fun sprinkled in, the Escape stays true to its name.

2014 Ford Escape 2014 Honda CR-V
2014 Ford Escape 2014 Honda CR-V
TCC Rating
8.2 With authentically athletic looks and performance balancing out good passenger space, cargo versatility, and loads of high-tech features, the 2014 Ford Escape is attractive to a wide range of buyers. 7.6 The 2014 Honda CR-V isn't exactly sprightly, but it nails efficiency on a few levels and finally brings more features to the family-wagon fight.
Styling
8The Escape doesn't bother nodding to the past; it forgets about the old SUV look and dashes for a more dynamic look. Read more7Simplicity rules inside, while on the outside some might find the 2014 Honda CR-V a little too nondescript. Read more
Performance
8The Escape is one of the best-handling crossovers in its class, and the 240-hp turbo four helps make the most of it. Read more7The 2014 Honda CR-V is confident and smooth, even though excitement is sorely lacking. Read more
Quality
8The Escape is small -- compared to other compact crossovers even -- but it makes good use of the space and has great front seats. Read more8You'll find loads of interior space and very smart seat-folding; yet materials and trims might be a disappointment to some. Read more
Safety
8Good safety ratings and plenty of safety features -- including a new standard rearview camera system -- makes the 2014 Escape a great family pick. Read more8The 2014 Honda CR-V gets mostly top ratings from both major U.S. safety agencies, but the IIHS small overlap test leaves room for improvement. Read more
Features
9Leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, and Sony sound boost the Escape past other bargain crossovers -- but the price goes up accordingly. Read more8Available infotainment systems are on par with those found elsewhere--although you still need to move to the top EX-L to get some extras, like satellite radio. Read more
Green
8Some models of the 2014 Ford Escape will top 30 mpg on the highway. Read more7Mileage ratings for the 2014 Honda CR-V are among the highest mileage in its class, but tall gear ratios don't always translate that to real-world driving. Read more
MSRP
from $23,100 from $23,120
Invoice
from $21,772 from $21,717
Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway
25 26
Front Leg Room (in)
43.1 41.3
Second Leg Room (in)
36.8
Read Full Specs
38.3
Read Full Specs
 
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