On the last three Fridays of every month, Graeme Fletcher combines manufacturers’ incentives from Unhaggle.com with resale value, dependability and overall ratings to find you the best deal for your money in new cars. This week, we look at affordable crossovers with all-wheel-drive. The hot deals are on the 2019 Ford Escape SEL, Kia Sportage EX and Nissan Rogue SV.
2019 Ford Escape
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $32,249
Ford Canada Incentive*: $2,164
Unhaggle Savings: $250
Total Savings: $2,414
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $1,930
Total Before Tax: $31,765 — click here for exclusive local pricing
Heading into 2019 the Ford Escape sees little change. The cabin has quality materials and an easy-to-use infotainment system. Sync3 is anchored by an eight-inch touchscreen that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The back seat will accommodate two adults, and a third if they are friends. The cargo capacity measures 964-litres seat up and 1,925L with the 60/40-split/folding seats down.
While reverse sensing and a back-up camera are standard, to get the key safety equipment, like blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, lane departure warning with keeps assist and rain-sensing wipers, requires the Safe and Smart package. At $1,200 it is money wisely invested.
The Escape SEL featured here arrives with a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. It makes 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. While smooth there’s a noticeable bout of turbo lag off the line — no complaints about the mid-range. It works with a six-speed automatic to drive all four wheels. The all-wheel-drive system powers the front wheels, but looks at a number of sensors to determine the need to send power rearward. The reactive nature puts it into the slip-first-grip-later category, but it is better than the front-drive Escape.
The SEL has a so-so run from rest to 100 kilometres an hour of 9.9 seconds (a function of the turbo lag) and a posted average fuel economy of 9.1 litres per 100 kilometres. It also has a 907-kilogram tow capacity.
The Escape’s suspension limits body roll without impinging on the ride quality. The basics are backed up with a steering setup that’s nicely weighted. The P235/55R17 tires and brake-based torque vectoring then improve the turn-in response and give it a sporty feel.
The Ford Escape SEL arrives with a combined Unhaggle discount of $2,414 and a pre-tax sticker of $31,765.
2019 Kia Sportage
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $30,595
Kia Canada Incentive*: $1,000
Unhaggle Savings: $250
Total Savings: $1,250
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $1,925
Total Before Tax: $31,270 — click here for exclusive local pricing
After a redesign in 2017, the Kia Sportage carries over into 2019. The cabin is, by segment standards, loaded and then some. The list runs from leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel to a seven-inch infotainment screen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It is also marked by its above average materials and fit and finish.
Move rearward and the Sportage has surprisingly rear seat space — two six-footers will find ample head- and legroom. Again, a third adult is an iffy proposition. The cargo capacity rates 868L with the seats upright and 1,703L with the 60/40-split/folding seats flat.
To get blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, auto emergency braking and lane departure warning along with front/rear parking sensors mandates moving up to the EX Premium, which ups the sticker by $3,400. It does bring a lot of extra equipment, but it is a sizeable premium to add some basic safety equipment.
The Sportage is powered by a 2.4L GDI four-cylinder that makes 181 hp and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is refined in operation and drives all four wheels through a six-speed automatic. The box is smooth and shifts quickly, which makes the most of the engine’s power. The Dynamax Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which was designed in conjunction with Magna, proactively controls the torque distribution for better traction during acceleration and cornering. As a result it hooks up without the wheelspin typical of a reactive system. There’s also a lock mode for low traction situations. As a package, it is one of the better systems.
The Kia Sportage EX runs to 100 km/h in 8.8 seconds, has a posted average fuel economy of 10.5 L/100 km and a tow capacity of 907-kg.
The Sportage’s suspension takes a balanced approach — it limits body roll without getting harsh over rough pavement. Throw in the P225/55R18 tires and it responds quickly to inputs, which gives it a sporty driving feel. It also tracks well on the highway and has good long distance comfort.
The Kia Sportage EX has a price of $31,270 after the $1,250 combined Unhaggle discount is applied.
2019 Nissan Rogue
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $31,298
Nissan Canada Incentive*: $1,000
Unhaggle Savings: $750
Total Savings: $1,750
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $1,935
Total Before Tax: $31,483 — click here for exclusive local pricing
While the basics remain the same, the 2019 Nissan Rogue gets more safety equipment as standard fare. All models get blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision prevention with auto braking. The SV model featured here adds lane departure warning with keep assist and auto high beams along with pedestrian detection for collision avoidance. That’s a comprehensive list.
The cabin is nicely attired and comes with the desirable features including a seven-inch audio display that supports NissanConnect as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Rogue also arrives with two of the most comfortable front seats in this class, which makes it ideal for long distance cruising.
The Rogue’s rear seat is generous in its proportions and it has plenty of cargo space. There’s 1,112L with the seats upright and 1,982L when folded flat. A plus is the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat, which allows longer items (up to 2,240-mm) to be carried in the cabin with the liftgate closed.
The Rogue is powered by a 2.5L inline four-cylinder. It spins out 170 hp and 175 lb.-ft. of torque in a smooth and seamless fashion. The power is relayed to the road through Nissan’s Xtronic CVT and all four wheels. The transmission is fairly well sorted in that it feels more like a regular automatic than the usual motor-boating CVT. Yes, it does drone under hard acceleration, but for the most part it remains quiet and unflustered. When the all-wheel-drive system is in place, the Rogue gets its power down efficiently with minimal unwanted wheelspin. It also has a low-speed lock mode for those more trying times.
The Rogue runs its riders to 100 km/h in 9.8 seconds and has a posted average fuel economy of 8.7 L/100 km. The towing capacity is limited to 500-kg because of the CVT.
The Rogue is tuned to favour ride comfort over handling. As such it wafts along the highway smoothly and quietly, and the steering is crisp and has decent feedback. The downside is it feels somewhat ponderous when pushed down a looping on-ramp
The Nissan Rogue SV arrives with a combined Unhaggle discount of $1,750 and a sticker of $31,483.
Transport Canada does not list any recalls for these three affordable crossovers.
The Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Ford Escape an Acceptable rating for the driver side small offset collision, but a Poor score for the passenger side small offset test. It does get Good ratings in all other crash tests, a Basic for forward collision avoidance and an Acceptable for headlight performance. The Kia Sportage gets Good ratings for all crash tests including the driver and passenger side small offset tests. It also gets a Superior for forward collision avoidance. The reason it is not a Top Safety Pick+ is the Marginal score for headlight performance. The Nissan Rouge has Good ratings for all crash tests including the driver side small offset test, although it is yet to be rated for the passenger side small offset test. It gets a Superior for forward collision prevention and an Acceptable for headlight performance.
The projected resale value of these three well-equipped yet affordable crossovers with all-wheel-drive varies. The 2019 models are too new, so the following information is based on the 2018 model. In this case, the expected value in 2022, after being driven an average of 20,000 km/year, is $14,900 for the Ford Escape SEL, $11,750 for the Kia Sportage EX and $16,850 for the Nissan Rogue SV.
In an ironic twist, this week’s hot Unhaggle deal is the Kia Sportage EX AWD. While it has the poorest resale value, its safety scores are much better than the other two crossovers featured here. Mechanically, it has been reliable and it has a solid fun-to-drive quotient. It is not the best short-term proposition, but over the longer term it pays dividends.
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