In the Ford sport-utility family, the Edge and the Escape don’t have as storied a history as the Explorer. But the cute utes are no less significant within Ford’s model lineup. Even as supporting cast members, the Edge and Escape round out the Blue Oval’s competitive SUV portfolio. In a Ford Edge versus Ford Escape comparison, the little details prove to be important.
For more information on what little details to look for in any vehicle, check out our article on how to choose the perfect car for you.
- About the Ford Edge:
- About the Ford Escape:
- Ford Edge versus Ford Escape: What has Better Interior Quality, Space, and Comfort?
- Ford Edge versus Ford Escape: What has Better Safety Equipment and Ratings?
- Ford Edge versus Ford Escape: What has Better Technology?
- Ford Edge versus Ford Escape: Which is Better to Drive?
- Ford Edge versus Ford Escape: Which Car is Priced Better?
- Ford Edge versus Ford Escape: Which Car Should I Buy?
The Ford Edge is a midsize crossover with seating for up to five. It was first introduced in 2006 and shared its platform with several vehicles in the Ford group. This included the Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKX, Mazda 6, and Mazda CX-9. (Ford once had a 33-percent controlling stake in Mazda but by 2015 had divested all remaining shares.)
Only now in its second generation, the Ford Edge was last redesigned in 2015, but received a mid-cycle face-lift for the 2019 model year. This update included interior and exterior changes but most notably saw the addition of the performance-tuned ST model.
The Ford Edge ST brings a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 to the lineup. Its output is 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. The Edge SE, SEL, and Titanium trims see an engine change as well. Dropping the 3.5-liter V6, the standard engine is now a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. The 2019 Ford Edge also receives a new eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the outgoing six-speed.
All Ford Edge vehicles are manufactured at Ford’s Oakville Assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
The Ford Escape may be a compact crossover but its legacy is a substantial one. The Escape holds the distinction of being the first-ever SUV to feature a hybrid engine. The Ford Escape was introduced in 2001 with its hybrid version arriving in 2004. Although a North America-only model, the Ford Escape hybrid set the tone for the automaker’s future investments in electrification.
But there are manufacturing similarities with the Ford Edge. The first-generation Escape, like the Edge, shared underpinnings with Mazda. In this case, the Mazda Tribute. Both vehicles were manufactured in Claycomo, Missouri. The Tribute was eventually discontinued, however, and production of the Escape moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 2011.
Although the Escape nameplate continued, the third-generation model was actually the European-market Ford Kuga, which featured a completely different platform. Now in its fourth generation, the 2020 Ford Escape is all-new and sees the return of the hybrid as well as the introduction of a plug-in variant. The Escape is slated to go on sale in late 2019 and will be offered in five trim levels: S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, and Titanium. The PHEV version will arrive in showrooms next spring.
The interiors of the Edge and Escape are like night and day. The 2019 Ford Edge features a cabin that is not unlike its pre-facelifted brethren except for a new rotary gearshift dial. The 2020 Ford Escape also receives this non-traditional shifter. However, the cabin space feels cleaner and more open in the Edge than in the Escape.
Both crossovers feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen on all but the base model, but the center stack in the Escape is a bit busy. Its large display sits on top as opposed to being flush within the console like in the Edge. The Escape also features a number of protruding buttons and knobs unlike the cleaner design of the Edge.
In terms of ergonomics, however, the Ford Edge’s seating position may feel tall for petite drivers. And the thick A-pillars may create a blind spot for those who sit closer to the pedals.
The Ford Edge is slightly longer than the Escape and offers more cargo capacity, but overall passenger comfort is nearly identical. Legroom in the Edge is 42.6 inches in the front and 40.6 inches in the rear. The Escape offers 42.4 and 40.7, respectively, and also features a sliding second row for added flexibility. The Escape does lose the headroom battle but not by much. Just 0.2 inches less for front-seat occupants but down an inch in the backseat. Still, consider that the Edge is taller by two inches.
The Ford Edge gets a win in this category, albeit slightly due to a cleaner look.
Ford Co-Pilot 360 is standard equipment on both the Ford Edge and Escape. This suite of safety technologies includes automatic high-beam, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, pre-collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support, and post-collision braking.
Both can be optioned with adaptive cruise control with auto start-stop and lane-centering capabilities. Evasive steering assist also is available for both but is a segment-exclusive on the Escape.
The 2019 Ford Edge received a 5-Star (out of 5) overall crash safety rating from NHTSA for both front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive models. The 2020 Ford Escape has not yet been tested but its previous generation FWD and AWD models did receive 5-Star ratings. Neither vehicle fared as well in IIHS tests, though.
The 2019 Ford Edge received “Good” grades in crashworthiness but did not achieve a Top Safety Pick designation due to its “Poor” headlights. The 2020 Ford Edge is not rated but the previous generation also missed the mark on headlights but in the small overlap tests as well.
Based on similar equipment, safety is a tie.
The all-new Ford Escape gets a win in technology. Active Park Assist 2.0, which the Edge does not offer, allows the driver to park the vehicle with the push of a button. The Escape is the first in its class to offer the semi-autonomous feature. The Escape also is available with a 6.0-inch head-up display, which is a first for a Ford vehicle in North America.
Both, however, do feature a FordPass Connect 4G wi-fi modem with connectivity for up to ten devices. The standard SYNC includes a 4.2-inch LCD screen, AppLink, hands-free voice commands, and a smart-changing USB port. The available SYNC 3 adds smartphone integration, Alexa and Waze navigation, two USB charge ports, and pinch-to-zoom capability. While the Edge does have four 12-volt sockets to the Escape’s three, the latter offers type A and type C USB charging ports.
The Ford Edge keeps things simple here by offering only two engine choices while the Escape features four. Both offer all-wheel-drive models except with the Ford Escape PHEV, which is front-wheel drive only. But which of the CUVs drives better is a matter of driving preference.
With wheel-and-tire packages starting from 18 inches and upwards to 21, the Ford Edge offers a firmer ride but not necessarily an uncomfortable one. The Ford Escape sits on standard 17-inch tires with thicker sidewalls to cushion the ride.
If performance plays a major role in your purchase decision, then the Edge wins. Especially with the ST trim courtesy of Ford Performance. The Ford Edge is the first SUV to wear the ST badge and can do the zero-to-60 mph sprint in less than six seconds.
The refreshed 2019 Ford Edge starts at $29,995 for SE models and at $42,355 for the ST. No pricing has been announced for the all-new 2020 Ford Escape but the outgoing model starts at $24,105 for the base SE and $32,620 for the top-of-the-line Titanium. Pricing for both excludes a $1,095 destination fee.
Industry pundits expect an increase with the new Escape, projecting its starting MSRP to be closer to $25,000. Then add another $1,000 or so for the hybrid model. The future PHEV will cost considerably perhaps reaching $30,000.
That being said, a pricing winner is TBD based on where the Escape lands and if the EPA confirms Ford’s fuel economy claims of more than 550 miles per tank with the PHEV and 400 miles for all other Escape models.
If dynamic performance and handling matter, the 2019 Ford Edge wins this pick. If fuel-efficiency and technology are more important, the 2020 Ford Escape gets the vote. If considering vehicle design, award an extra point to the Ford Edge. It’s sleeker inside and out, offering a robust personality and handsome demeanor. The Ford Escape appears muted in comparison, but much of its wonder is on the inside and under the hood.