2019 Ford Escape vs. Subaru Forester

December 3rd, 2018 by

2019 Ford Escape

Let’s Compare These Two Great SUV’s


The 2019 Ford Escape is one of the best-selling compact SUVs on the market. At first glance, the differences between the Escape and Forester seem insignificant, but after closer inspection, the Escape provides better performance, fuel efficiency, safety features, reliability, comfort, and design options than the Subaru Forester.

The two vehicles have similar Manufactured Suggested Retail Prices. The Ford Escape has four trims available in the S, SE, SEL and Titanium models and it has three engine options to choose from to meet whatever needs you have for this compact SUV.


The Escape has three engine options: a base 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a 179-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, and a 245-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All Escape engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Motor Trend tested the Ford Escape turbo four-cylinder and found it is faster than the Forester 2.5i 2.5 SOHC four-cylinder model (automatics tested on both vehicles). The Escape can go from zero to 30 mph in 2.6 seconds compared to the Subaru model which took 3.3 seconds. The Escape could go from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds compared to the Subaru model which took 9 seconds. The Escape Titanium 2.0 turbo four-cylinder produces 17 pounds per foot more torque (275 vs 258) than the Forester 2.0 XT’s optional 2.0 turbo four-cylinder engine.

These engine options enable the Escape to have 2,000 pounds more towing capacity than the Subaru Forester. Maximum trailer towing in the Subaru Forester is limited to 1,500 pounds, but the Escape offers up to a 3,500-pound towing capacity. The Ford Escape greatly out-muscles the Subaru Forester in horsepower.


The Ford Escape has a larger turning radius than the Subaru Forester, making it slightly more difficult to maneuver in and out of tight spaces, but the Forester may need a slightly larger parking space because of its larger width. The Escape is slightly shorter, which can make it easier to parallel park or easier to find a perpendicular parking space to accommodate the Escape’s exterior dimensions.

The Escape has larger tires than the Forester, which gives it better traction. The Escape has better ride, handling, and brake cooling than the Forester because it has optional 19-inch wheels and the Forester’s largest wheels are only 18-inch.

Ease of Use

The Escape’s optional easy entry system glides the driver seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Forester does not offer this option. The Escape has 0.1 inches more front legroom and 0.6 inches more front hip room than the Forester. The Escape has a low-liftover cargo hatch design making it easier to load or unload cargo. The Escape hatch lift-over is 27.3 inches, while the Forester’s lift-over is 28.6 inches, which makes it easier to load or unload groceries with the Escape. The Escape Titanium model has a liftgate that can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands free. The Forester does not have this feature so you would need to put your cargo down to open your hatch.

The front grille of the Escape uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps to improve highway fuel economy. The Forester does not offer active grille shutters.

Power windows are standard on both the Escape and Forester and have locks to prevent small children from operating them. However, when the locks are engaged on the Escape, the driver can still operate all the windows to close one if a child opens it. The Escape windows are easier and faster to operate at drive-up windows or when talking to someone outside the car. The Forester rear power window controls have to be held the entire time.

The Escape has standard speed-sensitive wipers so the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed while driving. The Escape has standard automatic headlight on/off features. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Forester only has this feature on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.

The Escape and the Forester offer rear vents for the comfort of the rear seat passengers, but the Forester does not offer rear seat air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Escape Titanium is quieter than the Forester 2.5i Touring based on testing by Car and Driver.

Technology and Safety Features

The Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s optional driver alert monitor can detect an inattentive driver and sound an alarm to suggest taking a break. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has determined about 100,000 accidents a year are caused by drivers who fall asleep. The Forester does not offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Escape and the Forester have a wide range of active safety features available as standard or as an optional extra.

However, the NHTSA rated the Escape five stars and the Forester four stars in front-end 35 mph crashes on new vehicles, which makes it safer than the Forester. The Escape had better ratings in side injury crashes for lesser neck and chest passenger injuries than the Forester according to the NHTSA data.

One of the best features on the Escape is the capless fueling system, which reduces fuel evaporation and lessens the pollution to our environment.


The two vehicles have essentially the same basic warranty, but there are more Ford dealerships so Escape owners would have better access and faster service for any problems with their model.

The 2019 Ford Escape has a large edge over the Subaru Forester when you evaluate the safety, performance, and styling options of each vehicle. In nearly every way, the 2019 Ford Escape is the best choice.

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