2012 Ford Escape Review

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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

The 2012 Ford Escape still antes up solid crossover bona fides, but its sluggish handling and plasticky interior are ready for retirement

It's been around the block, for sure, but the 2012 Ford Escape isn't your average 11-year-old crossover vehicle. It's one of the best-selling of its kind, despite its age, thanks probably due to a trucklike appearance, a reasonable base price, an available Hybrid edition, and a good track record for safety and reliability.

It doesn't hurt that the Escape looks like a 7/8ths-scale Explorer--first-generation, of course. While the other compact crossovers whizzing around the car world range from truly cute utes to avant-garde pieces of sculpture, the Escape still looks like a utility vehicle, with tall windows, bluff corners, and a chromey grille that's pure vintage Nineties, if such a thing can exist. The blocky looks, in context, are an appealing counterpoint to all the jellybean-shaped crossovers introduced in the decade since it was new. The truckishness carries over inside, in a less great way: all the shapes read cleanly and simply, but they're clad in plastics that put durability over a quality look and feel. It's downright grainy in there, and looks especially low-rent in lighter colors.

Some Escapes are greener than others. For those who want to live up the promise of the SUV body, there's a V-6 with enough thrust to carry a full load of people and stuff. That's not so much the case with the base four-cylinder; they're fine as solo commuter cars, and capable and refined enough for that kind of use. In either version, the six-speed automatic's up to the task, with very smooth shifting extracting better fuel economy from these engines than they've produced in the past. The Escape Hybrid is our choice above all, thanks to a gas-electric drivetrain that can cruise along quietly at highway speeds, weaving together battery and combustion power, trimming fuel consumption to 34/31 mpg in front-drive versions.

On any version, the Escape's handling isn't bad, but it shows how much automakers have learned about softening up ride and sharpening up handling in crossovers in the 11 years since the Escape took its first bow. The Escape feels tall, and body roll is a big part of its M.O. It also has more ride harshness than some more suave crossovers; we'd pass on four-wheel-drive versions for their comparatively stiff ride as a result.

The Escape's upright body grants it decent headroom, even though it has a relatively high floor. It could use a little more leg room so four adults can sit in real comfort, but the cargo area's pretty sizable, and the rear seats fold down almost all the way to boost storage capacity.

The Escape is no longer the safety standout it had been, at an earlier time when robust, car-based crossovers weren't the norm. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2011 Escape "good" ratings for front and side impact protection, but calls it "marginal" in its new roof-crush test. And in the new federal tests, the Escape gets an iffy three stars out of five in all tests. The Escape has standard dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control with rollover protection. It also offers Ford's MyKey system, which gives parents control over the vehicle's top speed, volume levels and other features, but lacks features like a rearview camera and blind-spot monitors. Active park assist uses the Escape's electric power steering and sensors to guide the vehicle into a parallel parking spot, with the driver controlling braking.

Hybrids and gas Escape models alike can be fitted with the most up-to-date infotainment features in the class, which ends up being the Escape's saving grace: you can control the audio system and your phone through the SYNC system, plug in your iPod via USB to access your personal music library, or dial up some Sirius satellite radio for beamed-in radio--or traffic information, sports scores and weather reports. Leather seats, a sunroof, remote start, navigation, HD Radio and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system are major options.

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April 26, 2015
2012 Ford Escape FWD 4-Door XLT

A solid reliable vehicle.

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I am quite happy with my 2012 Ford Escape in all respects except one. The Gas Mileage is atrocious. I am a self employed rural mail carrier contractor so I stop at every box along my route. This has resulted... + More »
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March 21, 2015
For 2012 Ford Escape

perfect fit for our active lifestyle.

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Plenty of room, easy maintenance, great visibility, sits high. ..
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October 1, 2016
2017 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD

Roomier,quieter,LOVE Sync 3 with Fordpass!

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I had a 2012 Escape Limited with 4wd and the 3.0l V6. Great little SUV for Michigan winter and 21.5 MPG overall. Pretty much '0' issues, ever. I looked at the 2016 vs the 2017 Escape, and the 2017 with the... + More »
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November 17, 2015
For 2017 Ford Escape

I have owned a New escape SE for 4 years (20K miles) and it could have been made with better quality materials.

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Mine rattles in several areas. The tire pressure monitor and external temp. monitor constantly show incorrect readings. Fuel consumption significantly exceeds those advertised. Subaru is a significantly better... + More »
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February 9, 2016
2016 Ford Escape 4WD 4-Door SE

nice solid and great handling vehicle

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I like the car a lot more than I thought. The SyncIII is easy to use. Even though it's a 4 banger, it's surprisingly smooth at all engine speeds including idle...would buy it again
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October 26, 2015
2016 Ford Escape 4WD 4-Door Titanium

Ford Escape number 2.

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My last Ford Escape was a 2013. At 25 k miles had to get a new transmission. Covered under warranty had to replaced. No other problems.. Bought the new Ford because of all the new features on 2016 model. Love... + More »
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September 19, 2015
2016 Ford Escape 4WD 4-Door Titanium

Up to now i am satisfied with my purchase,futur will tell i i made the good choice.

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Very nice vehicle for the price.Lots of gadgets,some good some as good but all in all very nice and good vehicle.
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March 22, 2016
2015 Ford Escape FWD 4-Door Titanium

My First Ford

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I live in Mexico. I was given a budget to purchase my company car. Due to the road conditions here in Mexico I wanted an SUV or Truck as a company car. After looking at the price of trucks compared to my... + More »
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February 12, 2016
2015 Ford Escape 4WD 4-Door Titanium

Awesome SUV!

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I love everything about this SUV! The ride is quiet, handles great, and the 2.0 econoboost turbo has awesome power! I recommend this car highly!
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September 29, 2015
2015 Ford Escape 4WD 4-Door SE

Best car I've ever owned!

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This is a great vehicle, comfortable, responsive and overall fun to drive!
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