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2020 Honda CR-V vs 2020 Ford Escape – Rochester, NY

  • 2020 Honda CR-V

    A gray 2020 Honda CR-V LX is angled left on a white background.

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    2020 Ford Escape

    A brown 2020 Ford Escape is angled right on a white background.

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    28/34 MPGFuel Economy (city/highway)27/33 MPG
    75.8Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)65.4

    The modern SUV is meant to be able to do it all, combining incredible cargo capacity and utility with the comfort, ease, and fuel efficiency of a compact sedan. With such high expectations, finding the right model to purchase can feel like a daunting task, particularly when considering the sheer number of models that are out on the road today. However, as with any grouping of competitors, there are a couple of leaders in the field, and comparing them can help to understand the market better. That being said, let's take a look at the 2020 Honda CR-V vs 2020 Ford Escape.

    These two SUVs are solid competitors, bringing plenty of value to the table, but which is superior? On the one hand, we have the 2020 Honda CR-V, a safety and family-forward SUV that comes in at an affordable baseline price of $25,050 MSRP*. This Honda SUV is also available in a number of trim variants, including the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. There are also hybrid versions available, including the Hybrid LX, Hybrid EX, Hybrid EX-L, and Hybrid Touring. As a result, you have an SUV that can be tailored to fit diverse automotive needs. On the other hand is the 2020 Ford Escape, a more compact SUV with a marginally low entry price of $24,885 MSRP. The Ford Escape also gets a plethora of trim choices with hybrid options, including the S, SE, SE Plug-In Hybrid, SEL, Titanium Hybrid, and Titanium. So, both of these SUVs provide a low entry-price, a decent spread of trims, and hybrid models that add to already fuel-efficient models. Although, determining which is the better SUV is going to require more than a surface-level analysis.

  • Performance

    A gray 2020 Honda CR-V Touring is parked atop a parking garage near Rochester, NY.

    Power-delivery and the experience behind the wheel is a huge deal for any driver, in particular for those who drive SUVs. SUV or sports utility vehicles are intended to be relative power-houses capable of not just hauling the weight of the vehicle but all of the cargo and passengers inside. Some SUVs are also incredible tow-machines, with enough power beneath the hood to pull a fraction of their total weight. The 2020 Honda CR-V and the 2020 Ford Escape are unique in that they have plenty of capable engines, but also make fuel-efficiency a top priority.

    Performance from the CR-V

    The Honda CR-V makes the blend of power and efficiency possible through the use of a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that uses a CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission) to put out 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. This basic engine isn’t too bad at hauling cargo behind its tailgate either, with a max towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. The Honda CR-V is no off-road vehicle; however, the 7.8-inches of ground clearance make it an excellent all-weather vehicle, particularly thanks to the fact that you can purchase a capable all-wheel drivetrain. That said, when you buy the base model, you’ll get a pretty snappy front-wheel drivetrain. Fuel economy is solid in the baseline Honda CR-V with the EPA rating it for 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway, a combined fuel economy of 30 MPG2 . Meanwhile, the all-wheel model earns 27 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway, with a combined average of 29 MPG2 . Set on either 18- or 19-inch wheels, the Honda CR-V offers a smooth ride and thrilling driving experience no matter what trim you opt for.

    Driving the Ford Escape

    The 2020 Ford Escape, on the other hand, uses a smaller, relatively well-powered 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine rated for 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. This turbo-3 engine is supported by a formidable 8-speed automatic transmission and a front-wheel drivetrain. The base engine of the Ford Escape is a bit more tow capable than its competitor, sporting a max towing capacity of 2,000 pounds; however, it is evident that it is less powerful in terms of horsepower. This base engine can also be upgraded to a bigger 2.0-liter turbo-4, which is rated for 250 hp and 280 lb-ft worth of torque, but it’ll cost extra. An all-wheel drivetrain is also available, and it does a good enough job at handling when road conditions are less than satisfactory. On the fuel economy front, the base model of the Ford Escape gets similar, but not quite as good, ratings as the Honda CR-V earning 27 MPG in the city, 33 MPG on the highway and 30 MPG combined. Meanwhile, the turbo-4 model earns 26 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.


  • Interior

    The gray leather interior of a 2020 Honda CR-V Touring is shown with a city seen through the windows.

    Both the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape sport enough room to seat five passengers comfortably; however, the interior quality of a vehicle goes beyond just its seating capacity. The size of a cargo hold can be just as important as the number of comfortable seats, as can the interior materials and the number of features that can define driving experience.

    Inside the CR-V

    The Honda CR-V has a substantial cargo hold, sporting 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and a sprawling 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space when those seats are folded down. The Honda CR-V can be purchased with durable cloth-upholstery in base models, and comfy leather in higher trims. Rear passengers also get to relax and ride with a full 40 inches of legroom, space that ensures they will not be cramped.

    In terms of interior technology, the Honda CR-V comes reasonably well-equipped. Base models get power-adjustable seating, windows, locks, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 5.0-inch infotainment screen. If you’re looking for more tech and more screen real-estate, you can upgrade your model to something like the Honda CR-V EX. The EX trim is built as standard with a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as keyless ignition, heated seats, and an upgraded audio system. At the peak of trim levels, the Honda CR-V is quite luxurious, with the Touring model getting leather upholstery, a wireless smartphone charger, and a premium audio system.

    The Escape's Insides

    The Ford Escape is much smaller by comparison, sporting only 37.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and a maximum spacing of 65.4 cubic feet of cargo room. Like the Honda CR-V, the Ford Escape can be purchased with either cloth or leather upholstery, depending on what trim you opt for. Infotainment and comfort features are somewhat diverse, although base models get pretty spartan accommodations that include a small 4.2-inch LCD screen for an AM/FM radio, two USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity. You can upgrade things significantly though it’ll cost you a bit extra. Models like the 2020 Ford Escape SE get heated front seats, a 10-way power driver’s seat, an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen, and a set of heated mirrors.

  • Safety

    A couple is loading cargo into the rear of their Honda CR-V Touring since it won the 2020 Honda CR-V vs 2020 Ford Escape comparison.

    Safety specs have always been important, but as technology has advanced, there is an increased focus on smart and driver assistance features. These features were once considered luxuries but nowadays are expected to be included as standard on many models. Fortunately, both the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape come with plenty of active safety features.

    Staying Safe in the Honda CR-V

    The Honda CR-V comes packed with a plethora of incredible driver assistance features. Many of these features would be considered premium additions in some competitor models, but Honda has gone the extra mile to include them all at no additional fee. All of these features are part of the Honda Sensing package and include things like lane departure warnings, a lane-keeping assist system, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision warnings. As a result, you get ultimate protection no matter what trim you decide to purchase.

    Escape to Safety

    The 2020 Ford Escape also comes diversely equipped when it comes to active safety and driver assistance features. Each Escape model comes included as standard with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights, and blind-spot monitors. You can also equip your Ford Escape with a head-up display and a surround-view camera system if you opt for an upgraded model.

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