At least they didn't score lower in the IIHS and NHTSA tests.
I took another look at the IIHS pictures http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/photo_comp_smsuv.htm after reading Road and Track's online review of the 2002 CR-V. They tell us that Honda added some extra under-floor bracing to the 2002. When you look at the crash picture of the CR-V, it does not seem to have a bend in the roof like the Escape does and the back end seems higher off the ground.
I'm wondering if that might be a large part of what caused the big difference in the test? Could be a pretty simple fix for Ford if it is.