2021 Kia Sportage vs. 2020 Ford Escape

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Sportage’s standard Downhill Brake Control allow you to creep down safely. The Escape doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

Both the Sportage and the Escape have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front 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, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Sportage comes with a full 5-year/60,000-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 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Escape. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Escape ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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 Sportage’s reliability 26 points higher than the Escape.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage second among compact suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Escape isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 7 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 4 cyl. is faster than the Ford Escape turbo 3 cyl.:

Sportage

Escape

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

84.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Sportage uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Escape with the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Sportage has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Escape FWD’s standard fuel tank (16.4 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Sportage stops much shorter than the Escape:

Sportage

Escape

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Escape (245/45R19 vs. 225/65R17).

The Sportage LX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Escape’s standard 65 series tires. The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Escape’s optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 1 inch wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Escape.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Escape Titanium AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Escape SE (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Escape’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.2 feet).

Chassis

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The Sportage is 4.1 inches shorter than the Escape, making the Sportage easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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

Ergonomics

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Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Escape doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Escape’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except S/LX) 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.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sportage will cost $325 less than the Escape over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Escape because typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the Escape, including $1022 less for a muffler, $23 less for front brake pads, $191 less for a starter, $56 less for a fuel pump and $554 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Sportage will be $414 to $731 less than for the Ford Escape.

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 2020/10/25

The Kia Sportage has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Sportage

Escape

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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