Radar detectors have been commercially available for over half a century now, helping countless drivers save money by avoiding speeding tickets. While we don’t approve of going over the limit on public roads, it’s not a bad idea to have a little warning about cops using speed camera under the next overpass; that’s exactly what Escort Max 360c MKII is designed to do, so we wanted to try it out.
We planned a road trip from our headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan to the New River Gorge area in West Virginia, with the escort hanging the entire way. To be clear, this is NOT an instrumented test of the MKII, but rather a demonstration of typical consumer use. We installed it, glued it to the windshield and drove up the mountains and back, taking notes on how the MKII performed. For our latest instrumented radar-detector test comparison, see this article.
About Radar Detectors
Police radar primarily uses K and Ka band frequencies. X-bands can appear, but they are very rarely used these days. You will also hear the term “laser”, which is basically a laser beam that is extremely difficult to pick up unless it is already pointed at your vehicle. You don’t want to encounter a policeman using a laser – better get ready for the ticket on the spot.
Now not every alert your radar detector shows is a cop. We’ve had plenty of false alarms on our trip across the country, and these can be set off by anything from blind spot monitors from other vehicles to motion-sensing entry doors from shopping malls. commercial or even other radar detectors. High end detectors can filter them out, and with GPS lock like the Escort, the detector can “remember” where faulty alerts are coming from.
Notable Features of the Escort Max 360c MKII
This is the second generation of Escort’s Max 360c, and the first improvement announced by the brand is a 50% increase in range over the previous generation. That’s important because in our Escort Max 360c MKI test, we found the distance ranges to be a little less than the competition. This new generation improves that a lot. Additionally, a new DSP chip promises lightning-fast performance, dual-band Wi-Fi enables connected car capability, and new filtering software reduces false alarms.
The thing looks cool too, perched elegantly on its magnetic stand. The blue directional arrows are designed to point to the source of the alert, but we’ve found this to occasionally fail or lag, just like with the MKI. Escort allows drivers to simply plug and play directly into the 12 volt outlet. The power cord isn’t very long, so if your outlet is far from the mounting location, this could be a problem.
The display screen brightness is adjustable and you can tune the sensitivity setting to a variety of driving situations – we’ve kept it on Auto or Highway. There’s also a handy mute button on the base of the power cord for when it gets really loud.
For even more information and information about your cruise, you can download the Escort Live app. It offers community alerts for speed cameras, locations spotted by the police, and more. We tried it out and found connecting to the radar was pretty easy, and the in-app experience was simple and informative. The only problem is that often user-based alerts from, say, an hour ago mean the agent is long gone.
The trip and our trip
Our destination was the New River Gorge area of West Virginia, which, if you haven’t been there, is one of the most beautiful areas east of the Rockies. We knew some mountain roads were in our future, so we snagged a Ford Bronco Everglades and hit the road.
The Bronco may not be a cop magnet like a Lambo, but the bully still got plenty of attention. The radar detector was planted on the windshield, but just barely. The 12 volt outlet is deep in the center console and the detector’s power cord was at its length limit. However, it worked and we think the high position gave us a slight advantage in radar detection.
Learn more about the Escort Max 360c MKII
Covering nearly 1000 miles on our road trip, we took plenty of notes on the Escort’s performance. Installation was simple – plug and play, as Escort said.
The MKII picked up plenty of K and Ka band playbacks, howling obnoxiously enough to startle us a bit in our seat. We quickly lowered the volume. We would say there was about a 60:40 ratio of visible police presence to an invisible cop or false alarm with K and Ka band alerts. We ran into three real speed traps, which the escort warned us about with plenty of notice. So far, the escort seemed to be doing its job.
But we weren’t blinded by a false sense of security. We started noticing cops that the detector missed. It might not be the escort’s fault, but it’s something to keep in mind with owning a radar detector.
The Thing isn’t cheap, with prices typically around $700. However, you get a lot of bells and whistles with this radar detector, and Escort is a trusted brand. Heck, Escort offers a exchange program so you can earn credit on your old radar detector when upgrading and even a Ticket Limited Guaranteewhich means Escort will pay your speeding ticket in certain situations.
Yes, it’s a high price, but the money is to keep you from spending on tickets. Depending on how often you get arrested, this thing will pay for itself over time.
Overall, the Escort Max 360c MKII is an expensive but technologically advanced radar detector. Using one is not an excuse to speed up, but rather an early warning system for you to check your speedometer. It also doesn’t provide an invincibility bubble, but can save you from otherwise hidden speed traps.
Our recommendation? If you get one, pair it with a crowdsourced app like Waze, which can alert you to even more speed cameras. We like to use both the detector and Waze during the day, but you’ll definitely want to rely on the detector more at night.
So, to reiterate, if this is your first time buying a radar detector, don’t expect an invincibility shield against speeding. It just sniffs the Smokey Race Radar so you can recheck your speed and adjust accordingly. If you can bear the cost, the Escort Max 360c MKII is a solid choice.
Associate commercial editor
Collin Morgan is the Associate Trade Editor at Hearst Autos, where he showcases the best gear for your automotive projects. He’s been a technician in the auto repair trenches of the Midwest, explored the auto sanctuaries of central Italy, and now enjoys rolling slow cars at various Michigan racetracks.