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Ford Escape

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Well known since 2000 as one of the leading compact crossovers, the Ford Escape is now a thoroughly modern vehicle in its third year of the current generation. Its predecessors were boxy and outdated after their 12-year run, despite two rounds of updating, but the latest Escape offers sleek and modern styling, more fuel-efficient powertrains (though no hybrid), seating for five, and all the... Read More Below »
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Ford Escape
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New & Used Ford Escape: In Depth

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Well known since 2000 as one of the leading compact crossovers, the Ford Escape is now a thoroughly modern vehicle in its third year of the current generation. Its predecessors were boxy and outdated after their 12-year run, despite two rounds of updating, but the latest Escape offers sleek and modern styling, more fuel-efficient powertrains (though no hybrid), seating for five, and all the technology features a family buyer could want.

See our 2015 Ford Escape review for more information, including photos, news, and driving impressions. You can also see the Escape vs. its competitors.

Ford Escape history

When it was first introduced in 2001, Ford's Escape instantly became one of its best-selling vehicles. It picked up on a trend just emerging: compact crossovers. The Toyota RAV4 had started the niche, and was followed soon by the Honda CR-V. The Escape would join them as one of the most popular vehicles in the segment, even picking up sales as it got older. 

The tall, boxy silhouette of the first-generation Escape proved to offer a good blend of space for passengers and cargo, mixed with just enough ruggedness for very light off-roading Its car-based underpinnings were originally borrowed, in part, from the Mazda 626, and they survied through many small updates and changes over its eleven years, along with restyled sheet metal in 2004 and a more substantial reworking in 2007.

The first Escape was a good choice for those who needed compactness and maneuverability yet wanted impressive safety and a flexible, spacious interior. Its original base engine was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, making 130 horsepower. It was underpowered, coarse and unrefined. In 2005, this engine was replaced with a 2.3-liter making 153 horsepower—enough to power the Escape confidently enough, provided you don't carry a heavy load or need to pass quickly on the highway. The 200-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 that was available gives the Escape a very different character. It's worth noting that real-world fuel economy in four-cylinder versions of the Escape often didn't prove to be much better than that of V-6 Escapes.

Interior materials of the Escape through 2007 on all but the top Limited model were quite inferior to those of other vehicles in its class, but the substantial refresh given to the model for 2008 brought upgraded materials throughout. At that time the Escape received new powertrains, including a 240-horsepower version of the 3.0-liter V-6, along with a new 171-horsepower, 2.5-liter base four-cylinder engine. By 2010 its entertainment offerings were upgraded to include SYNC, Ford's Bluetooth-driven voice controller for phone, audio, and navigation systems.

Throughout its lifetime, the first-generation Escape earned mostly good scores for safety. The most noteworthy exception is for 2001-2007 models without the optional side airbags, and frontal performance for 2001-2004 models. In the IIHS's new roof-strength test got a mediocre 'marginal' score, keeping it from getting the Top Safety Pick designation this year. The NHTSA did not re-score the Escape after it changed its testing criteria for the 2011 model year.

From 2004 through 2012, Ford sold a Hybrid version of the Escape. Using a system comparable to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, the Escape Hybrid combined an Atkinson-cycle version of the four-cylinder with a sizable battery pack and electric motor system. Fuel economy was rated at 34 mpg city, 31 highway, and the Escape Hybrid became a favored vehicle among politicians who want to "drive American." It was available with optional all-wheel drive, and about half of all Escape Hybrids were fitted with it.

The Escape also spawned the Mercury Mariner and the Mazda Tribute, both of which also had Hybrid variants at one time. Both were discontinued in the 2011 model year.

The new Ford Escape

For the 2013 model year, a brand-new Escape was introduced. The launch of the 2013 Escape wasn't an easy one, with a number of high-profile recalls that happened in the new Escape's first few months on the market. For the larger recall, more than 70,000 2013 Escapes sold in the U.S. with the 1.6-liter four were recalled for overheating that could result in a fire risk. Two of the first few recalls were linked to its optional 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

A trio of four-cylinder engines is offered in the current Escape, with a carryover 2.5-liter four-cylinder being the most economical choice. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, as are both other engine choices. A pair of new turbocharged four-cylinders take over the Escape's performance duties: a 178-hp 1.6-liter turbo four is the mainstream engine choice, while a 240-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four is the quickest Escape offered in the 2013 model year. All versions improve on fuel economy, with some versions earning ratings of up to 33 mpg highway.

The new Escape left behind its Mazda-based roots--and this time, no Mazda companion was offered, though the new Mazda CX-5 crossover bears a striking resemblance in looks, proportions, and overall dimensions to the Escape. The Hybrid model also did not return. Instead, Ford now offers a more Prius-like gas-electric hatchback, the C-Max Hybrid. Like the C-Max, the new Escape uses running gear from the same family as Ford's Focus sedan, which means front-wheel drive--but only the Escape offers an option for all-wheel drive, not the C-Max.

The new Escape remains in the same compact size class, but Ford promises ample interior and cargo space, with new conveniences and features. A new flip-fold mechanism for the rear bench seat helps tuck in the headrests for easier cargo loading, as does a motion-sensing tailgate that opens or closes at the wave of a foot under the rear bumper. The Escape's electric power steering can park the car itself, with the driver keeping control over braking, while blind-spot monitors can alert drivers of traffic approaching from the side and rear.

Safety has been improved in this new crossover. The new body structure helped the Escape earn the IIHS' Top Safety Pick status for 2013, but that rating was withdrawn for 2014 when the two-year-old car earned an embarrassing 'poor' rating on the new small-overlap front crash test. The NHTSA gives it four stars out of five on most tests, with a five-star rating for side-impact protection.

MyFord Touch, the voice-controlled system that runs audio, phone and optional navigation systems, has clearer displays and improved action, and the new Escape has options for luxe touches like leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof.

The Escape is priced from about $23,000 to more than $33,000, in trim levels from base to Titanium.

Used Ford Escape Models

The Ford Escape was the company's first-ever compact crossover, and has been one of the most popular entries in the segment against the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. Offered with four-cylinder and V-6 engines, a variety of transmissions, and even a hybrid model--all with optional all-wheel drive--the Escape is an upright and straightforward small utility vehicle that was restyled twice during its long first generation from 2001 through 2012. An all-new Escape, launched for 2013, is more stylish and luxurious, but older Escapes remain popular as used cars and they're tough little family vehicles with few frills and a compact footprint.
Ford Escape Related News
 
2008 Ford Escape Hybrid

2005-2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, 2006-2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid Recalled For Stalling

Ford Motor Company has issued a recall for select models of the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV. According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic... read more September 12, 2014 by 


 
2014 Ford Escape

Ford Recalls: 2013-14 Ford Escape & Focus ST; 2015 Ford Transit; 2015 Lincoln MKC

Ford Motor Company has issued a series of recalls for several late-model Ford and Lincoln vehicles. According to Detroit News, the recalls affect nearly 165,000 Ford owners... read more August 18, 2014 by 


 
2014 Ford Escape

2014 Ford Escape Recall: Possible Panorama Roof Glass Separation

Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] is recalling certain 2014 Ford Escape models for an issue that could cause the glass of its panorama roof to detach. Affected Escapes were built... read more July 15, 2014 by 


 
2014 Ford Escape

Ford Adds 101,000 Vehicles To Recall List: Ford Edge, Escape, Flex, Taurus; Lincoln MKS, MKT, MKX

Ford Motor Company has issued six new recalls -- some big, some small -- for roughly 101,000 North American vehicles. According to Detroit News, the recalls affect a wide... read more July 8, 2014 by 


 
2004 Ford Escape XLT

2001-2004 Ford Escape Recalled for Rust

Ford Motor Company is recalling 2001-2004 Escape crossovers operated in salt-belt-states due to a condition that develops from prolonged exposure to road salt. In affected... read more June 19, 2014 by 


 

Specs: Select a Trim

Style MSRP Invoice MPG City MPG Hwy
4WD 4-Door (2)
SE Specs $27,300 $25,457 22 30
Titanium Specs $31,260 $29,151 22 30
FWD 4-Door (3)
S Specs $23,100 $21,772 22 31
SE Specs $25,550 $23,826 23 32
Titanium Specs $29,510 $27,518 23 32
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