It’s time to compare two SUVs and pit the Ford Escape against the Mitsubishi Outlander.

Both of these models first went into production back in 2001, and they’ve been popular for more than a decade. However in recent years both the Ford Escape and the Mitsubishi Outlander haven’t been making the sales they used to, and we think this was due to a lack of innovation. 

However, in 2021 both brands made tonnes of welcome and frankly overdue changes to their most popular SUVs. Let’s get into an in-depth review and compare these two giants to see if 2021 is the year the Escape and Outlander stage their big comebacks. 


The 2021 Ford Escape looks so much different from the previous generation that it’s almost unrecognisable. While the previous models had a more aggressive look, the new Ford Escape has gone for a more luxurious, high-end appearance. It has a standard grille with a beautiful chromium finish just at the bottom of the full-LED headlights. 

While the Ford Escape is aiming for that luxurious and premium look, the Mitsubishi Outlander applied a more modern look to its exterior. It’s not a complete overhaul of its previous models, but the new design feels very refined. Especially from the front, the outlander looks very unique. With sleek, contemporary lines flowing back from its bold chrome grille highlights, the Outlander makes a sophisticated statement on the road.

Both the 2021 Outlander and Escape come with 18-inch alloy wheels. The Ford Escape has a slightly higher (191mm) ground clearance than the Outlander (190mm). So, both models are true to their roots and suitable for off-road driving. 

Related Reading: 7 Best Medium SUV's In Australia


Inside the cabin, the Ford Escape looks good, but it feels a bit bland and boring. While the exterior of the Escape is a complete redesign from the previous generation, the inside is not so much. The overall look of the interior isn’t bad, but it’s just too common. This is almost exactly the same interior layout you get in a Ford Focus, and kind of similar to the Hyundai Kona as well. 

On a positive note, it’s a very practical and minimalistic layout. There aren't too many buttons around the infotainment system. You get a brushed aluminium dashboard and the centre console is made with contoured plastic. These are very strong and premium materials, so you do get a functional, minimalistic vibe inside the cabin. It’s very well-built so there are no jittery sounds inside the cabin while you’re driving. 

The Mitsubishi Outlander, on the other hand, goes for a more modern cabin layout that’s held onto the design philosophy of the Outlander of the previous model. The overall interior is a great combination of the piano black and space gray colour. There’s sparkly black plastic casing around the infotainment and the gearbox, which really makes them stand out. 

Similar to the Ford Escape, it’s not too button heavy, but the dials and the buttons are massive compared to the Escape. Both of the models come with standard cloth upholstery, which can be upgraded to leather on the higher-end variants. However, the front seats of the Outlander have microfiber in the middle, which gives you amazing back support, and it's really comfortable for long-drives. 

Both cars have a very spacious cabin that’s suited for travelling with your family. However, the Ford Escape does have an edge on the overall cabin size. It has more legroom and headroom in the front and back seats compared to the Outlander. However, you can choose between a 5 seater and 7 seater on the Mitsubishi Outlander, where the Ford Escape only has a 5 seater option.

The 2021 Ford Escape also has a much bigger boot size for cargo, which is 556 liters on the base model, compared to the 463 liters on the Outlander (5-seater model).

Related Reading: The 7 Best Seven Seater SUV's In Australia


Both cars have very different performance specs. Even though Ford markets the Escape as a family SUV, it packs a very powerful engine that you’d expect to see in those performance-driven sporty models. 

The 2021 Ford Escape comes with 4 variants in Australia, with one of them being a  Plug-in Hybrid model. All of the other variants come with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It has 183kW of power, with a fuel economy of 8.6L/100KM, and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2021 Ford Escape can go from 0-100 in 7.5 seconds. This high level of performance is due to its turbocharged engine, which increases the engines power output by forcing extra compressed air into the combustion chamber.

escape vs outlander

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander might not have a more powerful engine than the Ford Escape, but it’s more fuel-efficient. There’s a lot of variety for the Outlander, as it offers 15 variants to choose from in Australia, six of them are 5-seater models, and nine being 7-seater. There are also three plug-in hybrid models within this range. 

The base Outlander (ES) comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder MIVEC engine, with a power of 124 KW, and 7.2L/100KM fuel economy. If you opt for a manual gearbox on the base (ES) mode, you’ll get a 2.0-liter engine with 110 KW of power, and 7.0L/100KM fuel economy. 

You can get a 2.2L Turbo engine for an even better fuel economy of 6.2L/100km on the higher-end LS and Exceed models of the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander. 

See The Top 7 Hybrid SUV's in Australia

Tech and Safety

Both of these cars have an 8-inch touchscreen display, which is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

You can upgrade to a 10-inch display on the higher-end models. The 2021 Ford Escape does take an edge in tech because it comes with Ford’s built-in Synch 3 ecosystem. It gives you Voice-Activated App Control, 180-degree split view, make hands-free calls, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto wireless compatibility, and the ability to access your car through the Ford Sync mobile app. These features are available from the base models of the Ford Escape. 

Both the Escape and the Outlander have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. They both share similar safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assistance, cross traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and car park assist.

However, the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander is packed with more additional features that take vehicle safety to a whole new level. These additional safety features include - active traction control, active stability control, and multi around monitor. 


Ford Escape 

  • Premium exterior. 
  • Spacious cabin and larger storage space. 
  • Powerful performance.
  • High-quality tech.

Mitsubishi Outlander

  • Premium and modern interior design. 
  • Fuel-efficient engine. 
  • Loaded with additional safety features. 
  • Can choose from a 7-seater option. 

Read Our Comparison Of The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander and Hyundai Tucson


The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander ES, which is the base model, starts from $32,990, with the high-end Outlander EXCEED priced at $49,990. 

The base model of the 2021 Ford Escape starts from $40,153, with the high-end Escape Vignale costing around $54,000. 

Why you should buy the Ford Escape 

The 2021 Ford Escape gives you a premium driving experience with its high-performance engine. Its overall design is a big change from the previous generation models. If you’re looking for a 5-seater SUV but with large storage and interior space then the Ford Escape is the best choice for you. 

See Our Full Review of The 2021 Ford Escape

Why you should buy the Mitsubishi Outlander 

If fuel efficiency is your biggest concern, then the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander will be a better choice. Also if you have a big family, then the 7-seater option is also a great deal. On top of that, you’re getting some additional safety features at a comparatively lower price. 

See Our Full Review of The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander 

Final Verdict

Making a definite choice among these two SUVs is a difficult task. It’s hard to overlook the premium exterior, spacious cabin, and the high-performance specs of the 2021 Ford Escape. 

However, the Mitsubishi Outlander is by far the best value for money. You’re sacrificing that high performance 183kW engine, but 124kW output is more than enough for regular driving. Also, if you’re worried about space and storage, you can always choose the 7-seater option which is still cheaper than the entry-level Ford Escape. 

So, based on fuel efficiency and value for money, we recommend the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander as the better choice out of the two models. 

Read About The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Here

Other Options to Consider

Toyota RAV4 

If you’re looking for a large spacious SUV like the Ford Escape, but also a fuel efficient engine like the Outlander, then the Toyota RAV4 is a great alternative. It has a 2.0L petrol engine with 127kW of power, and a fuel economy of 6.5L/100KM.

The base model only starts from $36,490. It also has a very premium and vibrant interior design that stands out from the Ford Escape and the Mitsubishi Outlander. 

Find Out How The Rav4 Compares to The Honda CR-V

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is a great choice if you’re looking for high-performance but at a more affordable price range. It has a 2.5L petrol engine, with 136kW of power, and a fuel economy of 7.5L/100KM. The price only starts from $35,990. Subaru also launched its first-ever hybrid model with the Forester. So, it’s a great value for money option to consider. 

See How The Subaru Forester Stacks Up Against The Ford Escape

Toyota Kluger 

The 2021 Toyota Kluger is a great performance alternative. It uses a 3.5-litre v6 engine, which gives you a massive 218kW of power output. The fuel economy is 8.9L/100KM, which is similar to the Ford Escape but with much greater power. The Toyota Kluger is also a 7-seater and a hybrid option. Its price starts from $44,850.

See Our Toyota Kluger vs Mazda CX-9 Comparison

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Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.