Escort MAX 360c 36

Escort MAX 360c Review: Impressive Performance, but is This Radar Detector Really Worth $650?

Escort MAX 360c 14 scaled
Escort MAX 360c
Pros
IVT Filter
360 Degree Coverage
Crowd-Sourced Alerts
Cons
Price
Prone to false alerts at times
8.5
Final Score
Where to Buy

Affiliate Disclosure: Automoblog and its partners may earn a commission when you purchase the products featured in this review. The MAX 360c in this review was supplied by Escort Radar. The opinions below are my own based on my personal experience with the product.


I have not owned a radar detector since 2008 when I picked one up randomly for whatever reason. After it went kaput a short time later (it was a cheap one), I never replaced it. To be completely honest, I have since thought radar detectors were frivolous, unnecessary, and stupid. At best, they are mildly annoying with their constant beeping and blipping; at worst, radar detectors are a total waste of money.

That said, Escort had their work cut out for them when they sent me the MAX 360c. And even more so when I saw the retail price of 650 bones! I’m probably not spending $50 on a radar detector, let alone $650. What in the world could the MAX 360c possibly do to justify the cost? I’m sure it’s a nice unit and all, but $650?

Escort MAX 360c
8.5/10 Our Score

The Escort MAX 360c offers long-range detection, false alert and IVT filters, Bluetooth connectivity, and a multi-color OLED display. Within the preferences menu, drivers can personalize their experience with the MAX 360c.

Although the MAX 360c is versatile and feature-packed, do you really need such a high-end radar detector? After all, there are other reliable units – which we cover below – for less money. We spent three weeks on the road with the MAX 360c to see if it’s worth the $650. 

Why Buy a Radar Detector? 

The most obvious reason is to avoid a speeding ticket or moving violation. If you consider the average cost of a speeding ticket in the United States (around $150, not counting the increased insurance premium), then yes, a radar detector makes sense. However, the question is whether or not you need to spend $650 for the MAX 360c? After all, there are other units available for much less

After three weeks of driving with the MAX 360c, I believe the answer is yes and no. You don’t need something near as fancy as the MAX 360c to get things like false alert and IVT filters, long-range detection, and a colorful display. Even within Escort’s product lineup, the more budget-friendly MAX 3 will do the job. Or there is the Cobra RAD 380, a literal steal for $100 when you consider the price of the MAX 360c. 

However, those less expensive units may feel like greasy sardines versus having a prize catch mounted to your windshield. In that regard, yes, the Escort MAX 360c is the big fish worth bragging about to your friends. And this is where the MAX 360c started to change my mind about paying good money for a radar detector.

Escort MAX 360c with its travel case.
The MAX 360c includes a suction cup mount (EZ Mag Mount), 12-volt SmartCord USB, and a handy travel case.

Escort MAX 360c In-Depth: What It Offers

The MAX 360c is loaded to the gills with features, which helps justify the price. As I set up the Escort MAX 306c, I used this quick reference guide and corresponding spec sheet. Allow me to explain some of the best features.

360-Degree Protection 

The MAX 360c lives up to its name with its front and rear antennas for maximum coverage. Additionally, the MAX 360c issues directional alerts via illuminated arrows around the OLED display screen. Right now, I have the directional alert arrows color-coded according to the alert. For example, x bands light up green while k bands light up blue. During a laser threat, all arrows flash in red.

Escort is confident enough to offer a ticket guarantee for the MAX 360c for one year after purchase. Essentially, if you get smacked with a radar or laser speeding ticket, Escort pays for it (subject to terms and conditions, of course). The ticket guarantee is a nice perk when you are spending $650 for the MAX 360c. 

AutoLearn Technology 

The MAX 360c uses GPS technology to memorize your route and reject false alerts automatically. When this happens, the MAX 360c shows the word “STORED” on the display screen. Similarly, you can use the little button on the USB adapter that powers the MAX 360c to either mute or store a false alert. Press it once to mute an alert and three times to lock out an alert. If you lock out an alert by mistake, no worries. The next time you receive it, hit the little button twice on the USB adapter to unblock it.

You can also hit the mute button on the unit itself to lock out false alerts, but as long as the USB power cord is within reach, it’s easier to use that.

Escort’s AutoLearning Technology is a fantastic feature, but I didn’t always have the best luck with it. The MAX 360c quickly learned and filtered out false alerts around the usual shopping plazas and grocery stores. No issues there. While driving through Detroit proper, however, the city’s industrial areas overloaded the MAX 360c with false alerts, and I suspect that would be the case where you live too.

For example, if you take I-75 southbound out of Detroit, you pass Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant and the Marathon Refinery, two massive facilities on the River Rouge. It’s a similar story over by the American Axle facilities in Litchfield, Michigan. The MAX 360c, for whatever reason, struggles to filter false alerts in and around these industrial locations. I am constantly hitting the USB power cord to either mute or block the false alerts.

But the MAX 360c does redeem itself. This time of year, there is significant road construction on I-94 westbound, which leads out of the Detroit metro. After only two trips down I-94 heading towards Ann Arbor, the MAX 360c recognized the digital road construction signs and locked them out.

If you want, you can turn the AutoLearn feature off via the preferences menu.

Mark Location

The “MRK” button (or Mark Location button) on top of the unit will flag a location for an alert. There are four labels to pick from: Red Light, Speed Camera, Speed Trap, and Other. Over near Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn one evening, my MAX 360c sent me a laser warning (and I was able to see the patrol car a few moments later). I immediately marked the location as a Speed Trap but decided to hang out in the area. As I circled Fairlane Town Center and the now-abandoned Edward Hotel, I was able to drive right into the patrol car’s path.

The Escort MAX 360c displayed a little icon of a blue police car with a corresponding distance measurement as I moved toward the marked location. The first warning issued by the MAX 360c came at an impressive 1,500 feet, over a quarter of a mile away. The distance displayed all the way down to 140 feet when I drove right past the patrol car.

IVT Filter

Like the AutoLearn feature, the IVT Filter (or in-vehicle technology filter) reduces the likelihood of false alerts that stem from the advanced safety features on other vehicles around you. This includes radar-sensor-dependant systems like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

The IVT filter works flawlessly on the MAX 360c. On several occasions, I could see the blind-spot indicator light on the exterior mirror of the vehicle I was passing. And the Escort MAX 360c was as quiet as a mouse. The IVT filter’s effectiveness helps justify the $650 price tag.

Joining the IVT filter is the Intelligent Speed Sensitivity feature, which automatically adjusts the unit’s sensitivity based on your current speed to reduce false alerts.

Custom Configurations

Through the OLED Display, you can create your own experience with the MAX 360c. Although the default settings are pretty good already, I recommend scrolling through them anyway. On the top of the unit, hit the “SEN” and “BRT” buttons to access the preferences menu. Tap “SEN” to scroll through everything in the menu and the volume buttons to change the different settings within a given category.

You can adjust things like the threshold of the over-speed warnings, alert tones, and the GPS filter through the preferences menu. You can dive into 15 individual radar bands and turn them on or off. For example, the ka-POP band is off by default (which is typical for most detectors today), but you can switch it on if you desire.

You can also change the display color between blue, green, red, and amber. This is a fun little attribute of the MAX 360c, especially if you have ambient lights in your vehicle. I prefer blue or green as they are a bit softer on the eyes, especially at night. However, if you like louder colors, go for red or amber!

Escort MAX 360c at night.
You can choose from four different brightness settings for the OLED display: Minimum, Medium, Maximum, and Auto. Our favorite at night is the blue as it is soft on the eyes. In the background is the abandoned Edward Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan.

Connectivity Features 

This is where the Escort MAX 360c shows its value and what separates it from lower-cost units. Three critical elements make up the connectivity suite for the Escort MAX 360c. Having access to these features helped sell me on the MAX 360c and high-caliber radar detectors in general.

Escort Live App

While you can buy a radar detector without Bluetooth connectivity, using the Escort Live app with the MAX 360c makes it that much more versatile. It’s almost like Oreos and milk. Every time I jump in my car, I plug in the MAX 360c and pull up the app on my phone. Like it’s second nature by now.

The Escort Live app is nice in that it’s both functional and simple. Click on the map tab to see any surrounding alerts in real-time, as reported by a community of over three million Escort customers. Real-time, user-generated alerts include things like red light and speed camera locations and the origins of various radar bands.

The over-speed warnings are particularly helpful, especially if you happen to miss the speed limit sign. Over-speed warnings can be changed via the app in different increments, all the way up to 25 mph over (I set mine for either five or 10 mph over). While driving, you can see your current speed on the OLED display relative to the speed limit in the area. If you travel faster than your set over-speed, you will hear a voice alert.

The only drawback is that the MAX 360c with the Escort Live app may be too good at detecting speed limit signs. While traveling on the interstate, the speed limit indicator can suddenly go from 70 mph to a much lower speed, like 20 or 30 mph (in which case, you will receive an alert). However, the MAX 360c is not reading the speed limit on the interstate, but rather the speed limit of the off-ramp or surrounding area just off the road. Depending on where you are driving, you may receive a lot of false alerts when it comes to over-speed warnings.

Defender Database 

If you want to go above and beyond, Escort’s Defender Database (part of the Escort Live app and available via a subscription) provides even more shared alerts from other drivers. The Defender Database offers weekly updates of red light and speed camera locations, mobile cameras, and even air patrol zones.

Just driving around metro Detroit and staying in my local area, I would skip the Defender Database. Although, if I were frequently traveling to different states, then yes, I would spring for the Defender Database. My advice is to get the three-year subscription ($49.95) versus the one-year plan ($24.95) as it’s a better value overall. 

Connected Car Compatible 

If you have a vehicle with a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, you can connect the MAX 360c to it. Doing so will allow you to receive important software updates from Escort on the go.

Just below the MAX 360c is the standard MAX 360. The MAX 360 is close to the 360c when you consider its features and functionality (and even a little less at $450), but it won’t support over-the-air updates. Like the Defender Database, if you are frequently traveling, the live software updates will be easier than having to do them via your computer. The MAX 360c also has a nicer display when compared to the standard 360.

Escort MAX 360c.
The Escort MAX 360c is easy to install with its suction cup mount. Removal is just as easy.

Escort MAX 360c Extras  

The MAX 360c will let you go nuts with fun accessories. Available upgrades include the 1080p M1 dash camera and the ZW5 or ZR5 laser shifters. The M1 dash cam is a fast plug-in-play option, although the laser shifters will take a little more work. Laser shifters are also illegal in some states, so make sure to check your local laws before installation. 

Is The Escort MAX 360c Worth It? 

Despite my skepticism about radar detectors, especially a $650 unit like the MAX 360c, I do believe it’s worth the cost. Whether or not it’s right for you is another question. As we discussed, there are radar detectors with the latest technology for less money. If all you need is a little peace of mind for your daily commute, then you are overbuying with the MAX 360c. True, the MAX 360c will deliver, but there is no sense in grabbing a shovel when a spoon will suffice.

Instead, consider getting a unit like the Uniden R3 or Cobra RAD 480i. The Uniden retails for $260 while the Cobra is a mere $150, and both are solid choices. If you are okay spending $600 or $700 for a radar detector, take a look at the K40 Platinum 100 before ordering the MAX 360c. The K40 is $100 less than the MAX 360c and has similar features. 

The thing about the MAX 360c is that it’s probably hard to go back to a less expensive unit once you see all that it can do. I should note that Escort sent me the MAX 360c at no cost for this review. I still don’t know that I would personally spend $650 for a radar detector, but I understand the allure of the MAX 360c after driving with it for three weeks. Despite my skepticism, if not downright dismissal of radar detectors, the MAX 360c hasn’t left my side since I got it.

In a little while, my wife and I will take off to grab some dinner. Of course, I will stuff the MAX 360c back in the carrying case and toss it up on the windshield when we leave. Plus, the MAX 360c just looks cool. Part of my skepticism about radar detectors stems from how I think they often look like a hunk of plastic with a pixelated screen and a cord sticking out. Oh, and it makes noise too? Great.

I don’t feel that way about the MAX 360c, especially when car wash attendants or drive-thru cashiers ask me about it. I tell them the same thing I am saying now: you don’t need such a high-caliber radar detector, but is it ever nice to have. “My spouse/other family member needs one of those” or “I had no idea they could do all that” are the two most common responses.

Despite not always getting the AutoLearning thing down, I believe the MAX 360c will give me many years of faithful service. Maybe at the end of that road, I will look into Escort’s trade-in program. It might be nice to have a next-generation MAX 360c if they ever colonize Mars and I end up living there. 

 Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

Our Verdict
8.5/10 Our Score

The Escort MAX 360c offers long-range detection, false alert and IVT filters, Bluetooth connectivity, and a multi-color OLED display. Within the preferences menu, drivers can personalize their experience with the MAX 360c.

After three weeks on the road with the MAX 360c, it would be hard to consider a less-expensive, and therefore, less capable unit. If you want a top-of-the-line radar detector with all the features and extras, the MAX 360c is a great choice. If you have a loved one with a birthday coming up, the MAX 360c will also make for a great gift.

Escort MAX 360c Specs

Operating Bands

  • X-band 10.525 GHz ± 25 MHz
  • K-band 24.150 GHz ± 100 MHz
  • Ka-band 34.700 GHz ± 1300 MHz
  • Laser 904nm, 33 MHz Bandwidth

Radar Receiver/Detector Type

  • Superheterodyne, Varactor-Tuned VCO
  • Scanning Frequency Discriminator
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP)

Sensitivity Control

  • Highway, Auto, Auto No X, Auto Lo K

Power Requirement

  • 12VDC, negative ground
  • Escort SmartCord USB (included)

Escort MAX 360c Warranty

  • The Escort MAX 360c comes with a one-year limited warranty that protects against defects in materials and workmanship. Escort will repair or replace your radar detector free of charge (you do pay for shipping, however).

Dimensions

  • 1.38” H x 3.25” W x 5.15” L

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I register my Escort MAX 360c?

Yes. Registering your MAX 360c will give you access to the Escort Live app. It will also streamline things if you need to file a warranty claim.

My suction cup mount keeps falling down.

If this happens, gently rinse the suction cup mount off under warm water and allow it to air dry. Doing so will remove any debris, dust, and dirt that may be causing the suction cup mount to lose its grip.

Is the Escort Max 360c wireless?

No. In order for the MAX 360c to work, it must be plugged in via the included SmartCord USB.

Does Escort charge for shipping?

Escort offers free shipping on all orders over $99.

Escort MAX 360c

 $ 649.95