2019 Lexus NX Series vs. 2019 Ford Escape

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus NX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Ford Escape doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The NX Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Escape doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The NX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Escape doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The NX Series has standard Pre-Collision Brake, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Escape offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The NX Series offers an optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Escape doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The NX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Escape only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that flash a light and beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the NX Series and the Escape have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the Ford Escape:

 

NX Series

Escape

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

355

2417

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Injury Risk

42%

47%

Neck Compression

70 lbs.

106 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the Escape:

 

NX Series

Escape

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

2 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

21 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the Ford Escape:

 

NX Series

Escape

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

49 G’s

54 G’s

Hip Force

303 lbs.

649 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Escape was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

The NX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Escape’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the NX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Escape. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Escape ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The NX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Escape’s (6 vs. 5 years).

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 NX Series’ reliability 30 points higher than the Escape.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 53 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Ford is ranked 18th.

Engine

The NX Series has more powerful engines than the Escape:

 

Horsepower

Torque

NX 300h 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

194 HP

199 lbs.-ft.

NX 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

235 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Escape 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

168 HP

170 lbs.-ft.

Escape 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

179 HP

177 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Lexus NX Series is faster than the Ford Escape:

 

NX 300h

NX 300

Escape 4 cyl.

Escape 1.5 turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.9 sec

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

15.3 sec

16.9 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.5 MPH

91 MPH

80.9 MPH

78.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the NX 300h gets better fuel mileage than the Escape 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. AWD (33 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/28 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the NX 300 F Sport AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Escape Titanium AWD 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (22 city/27 hwy vs. 21 city/27 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the NX Series 300h’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Escape doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

The NX 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Escape doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the NX Series’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Escape:

 

NX Series

Escape

Escape EcoBoost

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

11 inches

11 inches

The NX Series stops much shorter than the Escape:

 

NX Series

Escape

 

70 to 0 MPH

183 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The NX Series offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Escape’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The NX 300 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Escape SE (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the NX Series’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Escape’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the NX 300 F Sport AWD is quieter than the Escape Titanium AWD:

 

NX Series

Escape

At idle

37 dB

42 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

The NX Series has .6 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.5 inches more rear hip room and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Escape.

Cargo Capacity

The NX Series’ cargo area is larger than the Escape’s in almost every dimension:

 

NX Series

Escape

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

36”/71.5”

33.6”/67”

Max Width

53”

45.6”

Min Width

44.3”

40.4”

Height

27”

34.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the NX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Escape doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the NX Series. The Escape doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The NX Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Escape uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 60% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

The NX Series’ instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Escape does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The NX Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Escape’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

If the windows are left open on the NX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Escape can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The NX Series has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Escape doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the NX Series F Sport has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Escape doesn’t offer cornering lights. The NX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The NX Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Escape and aren’t offered on the Escape S.

When the NX Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Escape’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The NX Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Escape offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the NX Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Escape doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The NX Series has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Escape SE/SEL/Titanium.

Economic Advantages

The NX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the NX Series will retain 52.34% to 52.9% of its original price after five years, while the Escape only retains 41.72% to 45.81%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the NX Series is less expensive to operate than the Escape because typical repairs cost much less on the NX Series than the Escape, including $3 less for front brake pads and $290 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Escape isn't recommended.

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

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