2020 Ford Escape FHEV vs. 2020 Nissan Kicks

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/05

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Escape FHEV 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 Nissan Kicks doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The Escape FHEV has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Kicks 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.

The Escape FHEV offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Ford Escape FHEV has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Escape FHEV has standard 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

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

The Ford Escape FHEV weighs 834 to 1015 pounds more than the Nissan Kicks. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Escape FHEV the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Kicks last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2019.

Warranty

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There are almost 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escape FHEV’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Escape FHEV has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Kicks doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

Engine

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The Escape FHEV’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 78 more horsepower (200 vs. 122) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Escape FHEV is faster than the Nissan Kicks:

Escape FHEV

Kicks

Zero to 60 MPH

8.7 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

17.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.7 MPH

77.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/05

On the EPA test cycle the Escape FHEV gets better mileage than the Kicks:

MPG

Escape FHEV

FWD

2.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

44 city/37 hwy

AWD

2.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

43 city/37 hwy

Kicks

FWD

1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/36 hwy

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Escape FHEV’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Kicks doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Escape FHEV has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (14.2 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Escape FHEV has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Kicks doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Ford Escape FHEV has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Escape FHEV stops much shorter than the Kicks:

Escape FHEV

Kicks

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Escape FHEV has larger tires than the Kicks (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escape FHEV has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Escape FHEV’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.

The Ford Escape FHEV’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Ford Escape FHEV has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Kicks has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Escape FHEV has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Escape FHEV has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Escape FHEV flat and controlled during cornering. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escape FHEV’s wheelbase is 3.6 inches longer than on the Kicks (106.7 inches vs. 103.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escape FHEV is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Kicks.

The Escape FHEV SE Sport 4x4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Kicks SR (28.3 seconds @ .6 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The Escape FHEV has 10.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (104 vs. 93.9).

The Escape FHEV has 4.3 inches more front hip room, 4.6 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 5.7 inches more rear legroom, 4.2 inches more rear hip room and 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

Cargo Capacity

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The Escape FHEV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Kicks with its rear seat up (34.4 vs. 25.3 cubic feet). The Escape FHEV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (60.8 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

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

Towing

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The Escape FHEV has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Kicks has no towing capacity.

The Escape FHEV can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Escape FHEV can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Kicks can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Ergonomics

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When three different drivers share the Escape FHEV Titanium, the 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Escape FHEV Titanium offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Kicks doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Escape FHEV’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Kicks has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The power windows standard on both the Escape FHEV and the Kicks have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Escape FHEV is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Kicks prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Escape FHEV Titanium’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 Kicks’ passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

The Escape FHEV’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 Kicks’ manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Escape FHEV Titanium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

The Escape FHEV’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Kicks SV/SR.

The Escape FHEV has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Escape FHEV Titanium’s 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. The Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Escape FHEV and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Escape FHEV has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Escape FHEV offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Kicks doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Escape FHEV. The Escape FHEV’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the Escape FHEV offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.

The Escape FHEV 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Escape FHEV Titanium’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Kicks doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/05

The Ford Escape outsold the Nissan Kicks by over four to one during 2019.

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

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