2020 Subaru Forester vs Ford Escape Small SUV Comparison in Shingle Springs, CA

The 2020 Ford Escape is a pretty standard small SUV. But the 2020 Subaru Forester breaks the mold. It gives you everything you expect from a small SUV, but it doesn't stop there: it throws in the safety and capability that Subaru is known for, making it a truly versatile vehicle. Whether you're for driving to work, dropping the kids off at school, or planning an off-road adventure, the Subaru Forester is the perfect small SUV for all your needs. We'll compare these two SUVs in the paragraphs below, but be sure to take the Subaru Forester for a test drive to really get a feel for it.

Interior of a 2020 Subaru Forester with rear seats folded

Subaru Forester vs Ford Escape: Space & Comfort

With 104 cubic feet of passenger volume, the 2020 Ford Escape is on the lower side of average for small SUVs. The 2020 Subaru Forester, by comparison, is far above average. It has 111.9 cubic feet of passenger volume, which makes long road trips much more enjoyable! These SUVs have similar standard cargo volume, but that changes when you fold down the rear seats; the 2020 Subaru Forester has more than 10 cubic feet more maximum cargo space. And it's not just space that makes the Subaru Forester more comfortable. It comes standard with features that are available upgrades only in the Ford Escape, including automatic climate control. Heated rear seats are an option in the Subaru Forester, but not available in the Ford Escape.

Touchscreen in a Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester vs Ford Escape: Technology & Driver Assistance

When it comes to interior technology, the difference between these two SUVs is striking. At the entry level, the 2020 Subaru Forester comes with a STARLINK® multimedia system that includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen in the center stack. This gives you access not only to Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, but also to cloud-based applications and more. The standard SYNC® system in the 2020 Ford Escape, by comparison, has a 4.2-inch LCD screen. It's only when you upgrade to a higher trim level that you ditch the system of yesteryear for an actual modern touchscreen.

But technology is meant for more than just enjoyment; it can also keep you safe. Both of these SUVs have standard driver assist features like Lane Keep Assist and a Pre-collision Braking System. But the 2020 Subaru Forester also includes Adaptive Cruise Control at the entry level; this feature is an available upgrade only in the Ford Escape. The Subaru Forester also offers an available feature you won't find in the Ford Escape: DriverFocus™ Distraction Mitigation System. This system alerts you if your driving indicates that you're drowsy or distracted.

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Subaru Forester driving down off-road trail

Subaru Forester vs Ford Escape: Performance

The engines in the Subaru Forester and the Ford Escape generate nearly identical horsepower and torque, but there's an important difference. Unlike the inline engine in the Ford Escape, the SUBARU BOXER® engine in the Forester gives it a remarkably low center of gravity for a refined ride both on and off the roads. And when it comes to off-road exploration, the Subaru Forester is the natural choice. Every Subaru Forester comes standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The 2020 Ford Escape is a front-wheel drive vehicle, with AWD available as an optional upgrade.

Family loading a Subaru SUV

Subaru Forester vs Ford Escape: Value

The 2020 Subaru Forester and the 2020 Ford Escape are priced similarly, with the Escape being just a few hundred dollars more than the Forester. But that's just at the entry level--and, as you've seen, the entry-level models aren't really comparable. There are some areas (like the impressive amounts of space) where no amount of upgrading will make the Ford Escape better. But if you want it to include features like all-wheel drive and adaptive cruise control--features that are standard in the Subaru Forester--you'll end up paying noticeably more. With just all-wheel drive added, the Ford Escape ends up being several thousand more than the Subaru Forester. When it comes to getting the most for your money, the 2020 Subaru Forester is the better SUV.

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2020 Subaru Forester 2020 Ford Escape
$24,495 Starting MSRP* $24,885
182 Horsepower 180
176 lb-ft Torque 177 lb-ft
Standard All-Wheel Drive Available Upgrade
33 Highway MPG / 26 City MPG Gas Mileage (w/ AWD) 33 Highway MPG / 27 City MPG
111.9 cu. ft. Passenger Volume 104 cu. ft.
76.1 cu. ft. Maximum Cargo Volume 65.4 cu. ft.
Standard Automatic Climate Control Available Upgrade
Standard Adaptive Cruise Control Available
6.5-Inch Touchscreen Standard Center Stack Screen 4.2-Inch LCD Screen

*Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.