2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Honda CR-V

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  • 2021 Ford Escape

    A grey 2021 Ford Escape is angled left.

    Starting at

    $26,130 est

    2021 Honda CR-V

    A grey 2021 Honda CR-V is angled right.

    Starting at

    $25,350

    181 - 250Horsepower (hp)181 - 190
    155 - 280Torque (lb-ft)179 - 232
    3,500Max Towing Capacity (lbs)1,500

    People like vehicles that offer good versatility, and few vehicles offer the adaptability drivers want quite like a crossover. These models offer the roominess of a sport utility vehicle with the fuel economy and driving ease of a sedan. If they are built right, you will not have to deal with the maneuverability issues associated with a larger SUV or the tight rear seat found in many sedans. What’s more, many crossovers in competition with each other on the market, like the 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Honda CR-V, give you some incredible options.

    For example, both the Ford and Honda crossover come with a hybrid engine option, giving you the ability to improve the already commendable fuel economy of both models. In addition, they each offer optional all-wheel drive to provide better traction, always a plus if you live in an area with rough winter weather. Each crossover also features its automaker’s respective infotainment system, the Ford Sync 3 and HondaLink. This allows you to utilize your smart devices through such features as Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

    With either the Ford Escape or the Honda CR-V, you will get all the benefits of a crossover vehicle without compromising on the features and systems you desire. The competition between these two market contenders is close and fierce. Nevertheless, there are some key differences between the 2021 Ford Escape and 2021 Honda CR-V that may reveal a winner between them.

  • Trims

    A red 2021 Ford Escape is shown while being charged after winning the 2021 Ford Escape vs 2021 Honda CR-V comparison.

    Regular or Hybrid, There's an Option for Everyone with the Escape

    The 2021 Ford Escape comes with eight different trim levels. This is due in large part to Ford’s decision to add additional trim levels to the hybrid model of the Escape. The base model is the Escape S, with an estimated MSRP of $26,130. It rides on 17-inch steel wheels and is the only trim without a hybrid option.

    The next trim is the Escape SE, which adds additional Sync 3 features like SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as 17-inch shadow silver-painted aluminum wheels. The SE Sport Hybrid is the least expensive hybrid model of the 2021 Escape. There is also an all-new trim, the SE PHEV, that adds the convenience of a plug-in hybrid engine.

    Next up is the SEL trim level. This adds 18-inch machined-face aluminum wheels, leather seats, fog lamps, a power liftgate, and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. The SEL PHEV has the same features as the SEL but with a plug-in hybrid engine. The top trim is the Titanium and Titanium PHEV, and it comes fully loaded with 19-inch machined-face aluminum wheels, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, voice-activated navigation, and adaptive cruise control.

    Choose Regular or Hybrid with the CR-V

    Similarly, the base trim of the 2021 Honda CR-V does not come with a hybrid option. The CR-V LX has a base MSRP of $25,350 and comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels. The CR-V EX and EX hybrid add a blind spot information system and dual-zone automatic climate control. Meanwhile, the EX-L and EX-L hybrid add leather seats, power-adjustable front seats, and a power tailgate. The top trim level is the CR-V Touring and Touring hybrid that includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, and a wireless phone charger.

  • Performance

    A blue 2021 Ford Escape is shown after towing a boat, next to a family taking photos.

    Engine Options: The Escape

    The 2021 Ford Escape has three engine options, while the 2021 Honda CR-V has only two. The base engine on the 2021 Escape is a 1.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost I-3 gas engine. That is right; this is a 3-cylinder engine. Nevertheless, it effectively utilizes its turbocharger to produce 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. It also has Auto Stop-Start Technology to reduce engine emissions while improving fuel economy. This engine comes standard on the Escape S, SE, and SEL trim levels.

    The other gas engine option on the 2021 Ford Escape is a 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost I-4. This is standard on the Escape Titanium while also being an option on the SEL trim. This engine produces 250 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The turbo I-4 engine also features Auto Stop-Start Technology.

    The hybrid engine on the Escape SE Sports Hybrid, SE PHEV, SEL PHEV, and Titanium PHEV is a 2.5-liter iVCT Atkinson-Cycle I-4. This engine can produce up to 221 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque. This hybrid engine works with an 88 kW electric motor charging off of a 14.4 kWh battery pack to power the Escape hybrid at lower mileages for up to 37 miles between charges. Ford has reduced the size of this battery by two-thirds from the one featured on the 2020 Escape hybrid to provide greater interior space.

    Engine Options: The CR-V

    In contrast, the gas models of the 2021 Honda CR-V come with only one engine option, a 1.5-liter turbocharged 16-valve DOHC I-4 gas engine. This engine produces 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid engine on the CR-V is a 2.0-liter I-4 that produces 181 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque.

    Transmissions

    Every 2021 Ford Escape with a gas engine comes equipped with an 8-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. This will give you exceptional control of your Escape while having 8 specific gear speeds improves overall engine efficiency. The hybrid models feature an electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission (eCVT). This is the same as on the hybrid models of the 2021 Honda CR-V. Rather than having set gear speeds, an eCVT constantly adjusts the engine to current driving conditions. For its gas models, Honda chose a CVT transmission in lieu of ones with a set gear speed. While this reduces your control over engine performance, the belief is that having a CVT will improve overall efficiency.

    Fuel Economy

    If you are concerned about saving money at the pump, both of these crossovers have a great deal to offer you. The Escape S, SE, and SEL with the turbocharged I-3 engine will provide an estimated 27 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway with front-wheel drive. If you opt for all-wheel drive, your expected fuel economy will drop slightly to 26 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The Escape Titanium and SEL with the turbocharged I-4 will get slightly less gas mileage, with an estimated 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway with front-wheel drive.

    These figures are comparable to those on the gas-powered Honda CR-V. Front-wheel drive CR-V models provide up to 28 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway, while all-wheel drive ones can give you up to 27 miles per gallon in city driving and 32 miles per gallon in highway driving.

    Still, nothing can compare to the fuel economy you will get if you opt for a hybrid engine. The 2021 Ford Escape with a hybrid can get up to 44 miles per gallon in city driving and 37 miles per gallon on the highway. That is a total combined of around 102 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent. This beats the figures on the 2021 Honda CR-V hybrid, which provides 40 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway with its all-wheel drive system.

    Towing

    One thing that truly sets a crossover apart from a sedan is its ability to tow. This is the utility part of a crossover being a sport utility vehicle. The 2021 Ford Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds. In comparison, the 2021 Honda CR-V has a maximum trailering capacity of only 1,500 pounds.

  • Space

    A red 2021 Ford Escape is driving down a wet road in to the city.

    One thing folks look for in a crossover is the ability to comfortably seat up to 5 passengers. While the 2021 Honda CR-V LX provides a very spacious 105.9 cubic feet of passenger space, this decreases markedly to 102.9 cubic feet if you choose any other trim level. In contrast, the 2021 Ford Escape provides a solid 104 cubic feet of passenger space, making this a very roomy crossover model.

    Stretch Out in the Passenger Seats

    This contrast is further revealed by looking more closely at the specific interior figures for each crossover model. The 2021 Ford Escape provides front row passengers with 40 inches of headroom, 42.4 inches of legroom, 55.2 inches of hip room, and 57.6 inches of shoulder room. This spaciousness continues to the back seat, where passengers will enjoy 39.3 inches of headroom, 40.7 inches of legroom, 53.3 inches of hip room, and 56 inches of shoulder room. That is the most rear row legroom for any crossover currently on the market.

    The CR-V LX has 40.1 inches of headroom, 41.3 inches of legroom, 55.1 inches of hip room, and 57.9 inches of hip room in the front row. The back seat will enjoy 39.2 inches of headroom, 40.4 inches of legroom, 49.5 inches of hip room, and 55.6 inches of shoulder room. The headroom in all other 2021 CR-V models decreases to 38 inches in the front row and 39.1 inches in the back seat. Clearly, you and your passengers will be able to stretch out better in an Escape than a CR-V.

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