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The resident car enthusiasts at TheCarConnection.com consulted a wide range of road tests online to compile this comprehensive review of the 2008 Ford Escape. TheCarConnection.com’s experts also drove the 2008 Ford Escape and have added driving impressions and more details where helpful, as well as helped you decide which reviews to trust when the sources have different opinions.
- Still looks good
- New interior is a big improvement
- Available Hybrid model
- Comfortable for four adults
- Four-speed automatic
- No third-row seat
The 2008 Ford Escape is a survivor. Launched in 2001 after the first-generation Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 already were on the market, the Escape and its near-twins, the Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute, have endured in largely the same form while other compact crossovers have grown up and out.
That’s both good and bad. The Ford Escape always has had some of the better road manners in the class, and it’s one of the few smaller crossovers to come with a Hybrid powertrain as an option. (TheCarConnection.com covers the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid separately.) On the downside, the Escape’s powertrains aren’t up to date in 2008, and there’s no third-row seating option.
For the Escape, Ford’s crafted a new set of lines inside and out. A clear improvement on the last edition, the new Escape has a much larger front-end appearance and a much richer style to its dash and cabin. It’s a more masculine look that ties the Escape more closely to Ford’s big Expedition and Explorer SUVs.
Inside, the Escape’s dash has been reworked to include a strip of readouts near the windshield, including temperature and radio functions. Recycled materials are used for all the seating surfaces. New audio systems include a standard MP3 jack for personal music players. Ford has swapped out the Escape’s green lighting for a new blue treatment--and it’s swapped the Escape’s small console for a laptop-sized bin between the drive and the front passenger. The front seats are a little flat but comfortable for long trips, and there’s plenty of headroom for four adults inside. The second-row seat doesn’t have a lot of extra room for adults, but two will ride happily. The Escape’s assembly quality seems very high, with good materials and well-fitted trim pieces.