2019 Ford Escape vs. 2019 Fiat 500X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 500X doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Escape and the 500X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Escape 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500X. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 500X ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 7 times as many Ford dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escape’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Escape’s reliability 48 points higher than the 500X.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escape second among compact SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The 500X isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Engine

The Escape Titanium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 68 more horsepower (245 vs. 177) and 65 lbs.-ft. more torque (275 vs. 210) than the 500X’s 1.3 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Escape has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500X (15.7 vs. 12.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Escape EcoBoost’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500X:

 

Escape EcoBoost

500X

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11 inches

10.95 inches

The Escape stops much shorter than the 500X:

 

Escape

500X

 

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Escape has larger tires than the 500X (235/55R17 vs. 215/60R17).

The Escape’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500X AWD’s standard 60 series tires. The Escape’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the 500X AWD Trekking/Trekking Plus’ optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escape offers optional 19-inch wheels. The 500X’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Escape’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 500X doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escape’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the 500X (105.9 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The Escape’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57% to 43%) than the 500X’s (60.3% to 39.7%). This gives the Escape more stable handling and braking.

The Escape Titanium AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the 500X pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Escape Titanium AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the 500X Trekking (27.3 seconds @ .6 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Escape (except 2.0L ECOBoost) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 500X doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Escape has 7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500X (98.7 vs. 91.7).

The Escape has .8 inches more front headroom, 1.7 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 2.5 inches more rear legroom, .2 inches more rear hip room and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500X.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Escape’s rear seats recline. The 500X’s rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Escape is 2.6 inches lower than the 500X (16.8” vs. 19.4”). The Escape’s rear step up height is 2.1 inches lower than the 500X’s (17.5” vs. 19.6”).

Cargo Capacity

The Escape has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the 500X with its rear seat up (34 vs. 12.2 cubic feet). The Escape has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the 500X with its rear seat folded (68 vs. 32.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Escape easier. The Escape’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 27.3 inches, while the 500X’s liftover is 31.4 inches.

The Escape’s cargo area is larger than the 500X’s in every dimension:

 

Escape

500X

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

33.6”/67”

n/a

Max Width

45.6”

41.3”

Min Width

40.4”

37.8”

Height

34.5”

28.8”

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Escape SEL/Titanium has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Escape Titanium, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The 500X doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Escape’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the 500X’s (1500 vs. 0 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Fiat 500X is only 1000 pounds. The Escape offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the Escape (except S), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The 500X doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Escape (except S)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s 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 500X doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches. The 500X’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior keypad. The 500X doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its extra cost Uconnect Access can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Escape’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The 500X’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Escape’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the 500X’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

The Escape has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The 500X only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

On extremely cold winter days, the Escape Titanium’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 500X doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Escape SE/SES/Titanium has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Escape has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500X doesn’t offer rear vents.

The Escape Titanium has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The 500X doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Escape Titanium’s Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 500X doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Escape is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The 500X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Escape owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Escape will cost $105 less than the 500X over a five-year period.

The Escape will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Escape will retain 41.72% to 45.81% of its original price after five years, while the 500X only retains 35.57% to 36.62%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Escape is less expensive to operate than the 500X because typical repairs cost much less on the Escape than the 500X, including $240 less for a water pump, $15 less for a muffler, $23 less for front brake pads, $83 less for a starter, $308 less for fuel injection and $200 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

The Ford Escape outsold the Fiat 500X by over 52 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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