2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2020 Ford Escape FHEV

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

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

Both the RX Series and the Escape FHEV have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Lexus RX Series weighs 516 to 1186 pounds more than the Ford Escape FHEV. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The RX 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 FHEV’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Escape FHEV. 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 FHEV ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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

Reliability

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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 RX Series’ reliability 48 points higher than the Escape FHEV.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Escape FHEV isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Ford is ranked 16th.

Engine

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The RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 95 more horsepower (295 vs. 200) than the Escape FHEV’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 108 more horsepower (308 vs. 200) than the Escape FHEV’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the RX 350 is faster than the Ford Escape FHEV:

RX Series

Escape FHEV

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.7 MPH

84.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The RX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Escape FHEV (17.2 vs. 14.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the RX Series has larger tires than the Escape FHEV (235/65R18 vs. 225/65R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RX Series has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Escape FHEV. The RX Series’ optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Escape FHEV.

Suspension and Handling

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The RX Series offers an available 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 FHEV’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RX Series’ wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the Escape FHEV (109.8 inches vs. 106.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RX Series is 2 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Escape FHEV.

The RX 350 handles at .79 G’s, while the Escape FHEV SE Sport 4x4 pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The RX 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Escape FHEV SE Sport 4x4 (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The RX Series has 1.7 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more front hip room, .2 inches more front shoulder room, 2.8 inches more rear hip room and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Escape FHEV.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the RX Series’ rear seats recline. The Escape FHEV’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Escape FHEV 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 RX Series. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the Ford Escape FHEV is limited to 1500 pounds. The RX Series offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The RX Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Escape FHEV 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 second in service department satisfaction. With a 70% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

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The RX 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 FHEV’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 RX 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 FHEV can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RX Series’ 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 FHEV’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the RX Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

When the RX Series 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 FHEV’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RX Series’ standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Escape FHEV offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the RX Series and the Escape FHEV offer available heated front seats. The RX Series also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Escape FHEV.

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

On extremely cold winter days, the RX Series’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Escape FHEV doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The RX 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 FHEV Titanium.

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 2020/06/06

Consumer Reports® chose the Lexus RX Series as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Escape FHEV isn't recommended.

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