2016 Honda CR-V 2WD EX vs 2016 Ford Escape

2016 Honda


2016 Ford

Yes185 HP No168
Yes181 Torque No170

2/2 Winner

  • Horse Power   100% 100%
  • Torque   100% 100%

Oh, the crossover. If you have one, you love it. If you do not own one, automakers around the world are trying to sell you one. The crossover segment is the fastest growing auto segment. It is growing so fast; automakers are throwing everything and the kitchen sink into developing crossovers big and small, luxurious and practical and for every flavor and lifestyle.

More months than not, the Honda CR-V is often the top-selling small crossover in its segment. Right on its heels in the no. 2 slot is the Ford Escape. And it is in the no. 2 spot for good reason when compared to the CR-V.

Going head-to-head, the 2016 Honda CR-V and 2016 Ford Escape have many similarities, but it is their subtle differences that make the CR-V a clear winner.

One Engine to Rule Them All

Simplicity is Honda’s golden rule, and that is noticeable in the powertrain of the 2016 CR-V. Power comes from a 2.5-liter inline-four engine. It makes 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of trim, a well-engineered continuously variable transmission is the only gearbox available.

The 2016 Ford Escape offers two engines, to better confuse consumers on what they are getting. There is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four engine making 168 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. There is also a turbocharged 1.6-liter. This forced induction engine makes 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Regardless of the engine in the 2016 Escape, a six-speed automatic gearbox is the only available transmission.

Numbers often do not lie. If they are, check your alcoholic intake rate. You may be running a bit rich. Honda’s 2.5-liter engine provides ample power without a fancy turbocharged engine or a detuned naturally aspirated mill.

The only place the Escape outdoes the CR-V is in torque, and only then it is three lb-ft. Miniscule in the grand scheme of things. Both the Escape and CR-V power the front wheels as standard. An all-wheel-drive system is an available option on both

Yes26 City MPG No22
Yes33 Highway MPG No32
Yes29 Combined Fuel Economy No26

3/3 Winner

  • City MPG 100% 100%
  • Highway MPG 100% 100%
  • Combined Fuel Economy 100% 100%

From Paper to the Tank

Ford’s EcoBoost technology was aimed at offering V-6 performance while returning four-cylinder-like fuel economy numbers. That may work on paper, and in advertising, but in reality, in daily driving situations that are not open roads to Happy Valley, those turbocharging gains are nil.

The 2.5-liter engine in the Escape returns 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Not bad for a crossover. The 1.6-liter turbo engine, the engine designed for big performance and a tiny thirst returns 22 mpg in the city and 30 mph on the highway.

Comparing Ford’s 2.5-liter engine to its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, and you can be left scratching your head why two are offered in the first place. The gains are minimal, almost unnecessary.

The 2016 Honda CR-V’s 2.5-liter returns better fuel economy than both of Ford’s engines. The CR-V gets 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg during highway driving. Compare that to the power the 2.5-liter engine makes, and you can see why the Honda gets our nod in terms of fuel economy and engine performance.

Yes413.1 City Range No347.3
Yes520.2 Highway Range No483.2
Yes70.9 Cargo Capacity No67.8
Yes104.1 Passenger Volume No98.1

4/4 Winner

  • City Range   100% 100%
  • Highway Range   100% 100%
  • Cargo Capacity   100% 100%
  • Passenger Volume   100% 100%

Don’t Damage the Packaging

The problem with the small crossover segment is not that it is crowded, even though it kind of is. The problem with the small crossover segment is design. Four doors, a hatch and raised suspension are the hallmarks of a modern crossover. Often built on a car chassis, a crossover is often only distinguishable by its design inside and out.

Because it is built on the Focus chassis, the Ford Escape is cramped on the inside. That cramped interior is seen in its interior space measurements. With 132.4 cubic feet of interior space, it only holds 34.3 cu-ft of cargo with the seats up. Drop those seats and cargo space increases to 67.8 cu-ft.

The Honda CR-V is bigger in almost every regard. Interior space measures 138.7 cu-ft. Cargo space is 37.2 cu-ft with the seats up and 70.9 cu-ft with the seats folded down. While it is only a few cubic feet larger than the Espace, the 2016 CR-V feel cavernous in comparison. Both have a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.

Top o’ the Line

Honda is known for offering understated technology. It is not in your face and works every time you need it to. Ford has packed its 2016 Escape with so much in-your-face technology it becomes overpowering. Also, Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment touchscreen display is not the most well-received piece of in-car technology.

On the top-trim CR-V, one can get a 320-watt, 7-speaker sound system with one subwoofer and three months of satellite radio. On a Ford, you will be left trying to get the touchscreen to take inputs through your gloved finger.

9/9 Winner

  • Over all 100% 100% 16 Best Family Cars Best Buy Award   U.S. News Best Cars for Families   2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick+   NHTSA 5-Star Safety Ratings   

2016 Honda CR-V is the clear winner!

They Said What?

“While more of a hatchback on stilts than a true SUV, the CR-V is still exactly what most buyers are looking for when it comes to versatility. Its exterior gives it a look that is stylish and modern, while the interior is quiet and made from soft-touch materials.” – Car and Driver

“While both engines [in the Ford Escape] produce good power, the smaller unit is lackluster, needing to rev higher to get the crossover moving.” – Motor Trend

Duking it Out

The Ford Escape and Honda CR-V compete in the same segment, for the same buyers and those buyers push the CR-V into the sales lead. It does not do it with deceptive advertising or huge incentives, but with thoughtful engineering and design. The 2016 Honda CR-V has the style, features, power and price to make it a class-leading winner.

Fuel economy estimates and driving range based on EPA test data. Your actual driving distance will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle. Based on 2014-2016 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors. Complete comparison details can be found at Awards and accolade information can be found at

The 2016 CR-V has been named to the list of 16 Best Family Cars of 2016 in the 2-Row SUV class by Kelley Blue Book’s[1]. Each vehicle was praised for impressive comfort, driving dynamics and family practicality. [1] For more information, visit Kelley Blue Book is a registered trademark of Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. We’re proud to announce that the 2016 Honda CR-V has been named Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy of the Year in its respective class of Small SUV/Crossover. [1] For more information, visit Kelley Blue Book’s Kelley Blue Book is a registered trademark of Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. U.S. News has recognized the 2016 CR-V as the Best Car for Families in its class of Compact SUV. This vehicle was recognized for its expansive standard features, spacious interior, and safety and reliability ratings. [1] View U.S. News Best Cars at The 2016 CR-V Touring has been awarded the coveted 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in recognition of its superior crash safety performance. Safety matters most, and the 2016 CR-V earned top marks with a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)1. [1] Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s New Car Assessment Program ( Model tested with standard side airbags (SAB).