2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack vs. 2019 Ford Escape

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

The Golf Alltrack has standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, 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.

The Golf Alltrack has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Escape doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Golf Alltrack (except S) offers optional Maneuver Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Escape doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Golf Alltrack. But it costs extra on the Escape.

Both the Golf Alltrack and the Escape have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

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 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is safer than the Escape:

 

Golf Alltrack

Escape

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

ACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

24 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Golf Alltrack the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Escape was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Golf Alltrack comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Escape’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Golf Alltrack’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Escape’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Escape’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 2 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. produces 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 170) than the Escape’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (199 vs. 177) than the Escape’s optional 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is faster than the Ford Escape (automatics tested):

 

Golf

Escape 2.5

Escape 1.5 turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

7.1 sec

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

16.9 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87.8 MPH

80.9 MPH

78.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Golf Alltrack gets better fuel mileage than the Escape:

 

 

 

MPG

Golf

AWD

Manual

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Escape

FWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

AWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Escape with the 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Golf Alltrack offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Escape doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Golf Alltrack offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Escape doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf Alltrack stops much shorter than the Escape:

 

Golf Alltrack

Escape

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Golf Alltrack SEL handles at .85 G’s, while the Escape Titanium AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Golf Alltrack SEL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Escape SE (27 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Golf Alltrack’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Escape’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Golf Alltrack easier. The Golf Alltrack’s trunk lift-over height is 24.8 inches, while the Escape’s liftover is 27.3 inches.

The Golf Alltrack’s cargo area is larger than the Escape’s in almost every dimension:

 

Golf

Escape

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

41.5”/69.1”

33.6”/67”

Max Width

50.2”

45.6”

Min Width

39.6”

40.4”

Height

29.2”

34.5”

Servicing Ease

The Golf Alltrack 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.

Ergonomics

The Golf Alltrack’s 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 Golf Alltrack the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Escape can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Golf Alltrack 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.

The Golf Alltrack’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Escape’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Golf Alltrack SE/SEL has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Escape doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Golf Alltrack (except S) also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Golf Alltrack’s 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.

Model Availability

The Volkswagen Golf comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Ford Escape isn’t available as a four door.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Escape isn't recommended.

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 12 of the last 12 years. The Escape has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Escape has never been chosen.

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

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