2020 Ford Escape PHEV vs. 2020 BMW i3

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 2020/08/06

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Escape PHEV 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 BMW i3 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Ford Escape PHEV are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW i3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Automatic Emergency Braking in the Escape PHEV as “Superior.” The i3 scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Escape PHEV 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 i3 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 Escape PHEV offers an optional backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The i3 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Escape PHEV’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The i3 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Escape PHEV’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The i3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Escape PHEV’s 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 i3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Escape PHEV and the i3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

The Ford Escape PHEV weighs 561 to 898 pounds more than the BMW i3. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Escape PHEV is safer than the i3:

Escape PHEV

i3

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

8 mm

15 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Torso Acceleration

10 g’s

13.3 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

Low

Max Neck Shearing Force

0

5

Max Neck Tension

294

561

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

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 PHEV the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The i3 is not a “Top Pick.”

Warranty

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Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Escape PHEV 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the i3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the i3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 9 times as many Ford dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escape PHEV’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 1 place higher in reliability than BMW.

Engine

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The Escape PHEV’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 30 more horsepower (200 vs. 170) than the i3’s standard electric motor. The Escape PHEV’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 16 more horsepower (200 vs. 184) than the i3s’ standard electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Escape PHEV running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the i3 REx running on electricity (109 city/91 hwy vs. 107 city/93 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the Escape PHEV running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the i3 REx running its gasoline engine (43 city/38 hwy vs. 30 city/31 hwy).

The Escape PHEV has 8.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the i3 Range Extender (11.2 vs. 2.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Escape PHEV 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 i3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Escape PHEV’s brake rotors are larger than those on the i3:

Escape

i3

Front Rotors

13 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11 inches

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/08/06

For better traction, the Escape PHEV has larger tires than the i3 (225/60R18 vs. 155/60R20). The Escape PHEV SE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the i3 (225/60R18 vs. 175/55R20).

The Escape PHEV’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the i3’s standard 70 series front tires.

The Escape PHEV offers an optional space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the i3; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Escape PHEV has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Escape PHEV has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Escape PHEV flat and controlled during cornering. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escape PHEV’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the i3 (106.7 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

Passenger Space

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The Escape PHEV has standard seating for 5 passengers; the i3 can only carry 4.

The Escape PHEV has 20.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the i3 (104 vs. 83.6).

The Escape PHEV has .4 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front legroom, 4 inches more front shoulder room, 2.1 inches more rear headroom, 7 inches more rear legroom and 6.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the i3.

Cargo Capacity

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The Escape PHEV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the i3 with its rear seat up (34.4 vs. 15.1 cubic feet). The Escape PHEV has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the i3 with its rear seat folded (60.8 vs. 36.9 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escape PHEV SEL/Titanium’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The i3 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

© 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 2020/08/06

The Escape PHEV has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The i3 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

© 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 2020/08/06

The Escape PHEV offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The i3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Escape PHEV’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the i3’s standard power windows.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Escape PHEV’s exterior PIN entry system. The i3 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its BMW Assist can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Escape PHEV has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the i3 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Escape PHEV detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The i3 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Escape PHEV SEL/Titanium has standard extendable sun visors. The i3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

On extremely cold winter days, the Escape PHEV SEL/Titanium’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The i3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Escape PHEV has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The i3 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Ford Escape PHEV Titanium has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The i3 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Escape PHEV Titanium offers an optional 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 i3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Escape PHEV 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 i3’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

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 2020/08/06

The Ford Escape outsold the BMW i3 by almost 50 to one during 2019.

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