Practicality and Flexibility

It boils down to the numbers here. Both CUVs have a split 60/40 second row that easily folds flat. However, the Ford is more roomy inside, being slightly larger and bragging a more boxy architecture. With the second row in place, the Ford Escape offers 962L to the Hyundai Tucson’s 877L. And with said seats folded, the Ford is considerably more cavernous.

That said, the Tucson’s back seats are more adult-friendly with their nicer contouring and deeper padding. But for ultimate hauling capacity, the Escape wins.

Fuel Economy

Official numbers for the 2017 Ford Escape SE AWD with 1.5L EcoBoost are 10.2 L/100 km city, 7.8 L/100 km highway and 9.1 L/100 km combined. The 2016 2.0L Hyundai Tucson Premium AWD counters with 11.0 city, 9.0 highway and 10.1 combined.

Our real-world testing produced markedly different results. Over a loop of mixed urban landscape that included a stretch of highway driving, the Hyundai Tucson returned 9.8 L/100 km to the Ford Escape’s 11.4 L/100 km.

Conclusion

There’s a reason why the Ford Escape has been a top segment seller. It’s stylish, roomy, well-built and drives with European flair. And now that the Escape is available with Ford’s vastly improved Sync 3 interface, it is an even more compelling choice.

But here, it loses out to the new Hyundai Tucson Premium AWD. The Hyundai is not flashy. It’s not fast and the interior lacks the Ford SE’s  pizzazz. But its base price undercuts the Ford by $500, and for that we’re getting better fuel economy, a more pleasant driving experience and standard heated rear seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist.

There’s an underlying current of simplicity and goodness to this basic Tucson that wins us over. And to throw a little more gas on the fire, choosing the $36,649 2016 Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Limited (that still undercuts the as-tested price of our loaded Ford Escape SE) nets a 175-hp 195 lb-ft 1.6-litre turbo four, slick seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, leather, 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, premium audio, power liftgate, 19-inch wheels… you get the picture.

Warranty:
5 years/100,000 km; 5 years/100,000 km powertrain; 5 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 5 years/unlimited distance roadside assistance

Pricing: 2016 Hyundai Tucson Premium AWD
Base price: $28,999
Optional equipment: none
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $1,795
Price as tested: $30,894

Warranty:
3 years/60,000 km; 5 years/100,000 km powertrain; 5 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 5 years/100,000 km roadside assistance

Pricing: 2016 Ford Escape SE 4WD
Base price: $29,399
Optional equipment: white platinum metallic tri-coat $550; Equipment Group 201A (SE Convenience Package, rear park sensors, roof rails, Sync 3, tonneau cover, power 10-way driver seat, Sync Connect); power liftgate $500; twin panel moonroof $1,750; all weather floor mats $150; voice activated touch screen nav $800; roof rail cross bars $150; SE Sport Appearance Package (leather wrapped steering wheel, 19-inch black alloys) $1,500
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $1,690
Price as tested: $38,139

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