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In order to bring you the most useful hands-on road test, TheCarConnection.com has driven several different variations of the Escape and report on it here in this Bottom Line. Then TheCarConnection.com’s team of experts read reviews pertaining to the 2010 Escape, bringing you additional pros and cons, as well as opposing viewpoints.
The 2010 Ford Escape is proof that shoppers shouldn’t always go with first impressions. Although many might be turned off by the Escape’s boxy, traditional design that looks a bit like a 7/8-scale Ford Explorer, the Escape includes car-based underpinnings and Ford has in recent years done a good job in keeping the Escape’s feature set and driving experience quite modern.
For 2008, Ford gave the Escape a modest facelift that vastly improved the interior look and feel, while just last year the Escape got a new lineup of powertrains—including a more powerful and fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine and a much mightier optional V-6. Both engines are carried through to 2010. Most drivers will do just fine with the base 171-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, provided they don’t often haul heavy loads or plan to tow; it’s smoother than the previous four-cylinder. The V-6 Escape has more than adequate pep, though the engine doesn’t feel as refined as most rival V-6s.
Either engine responds well with the six-speed automatic transmission; four-cylinder buyers also have a five-speed manual gearbox to choose from. The four-cylinder with the five-speed returns 22 mpg city, 28 highway, while the V-6 rates up to 18 mpg city, 26 highway, though TheCarConnection.com’s editors have observed lower figures with the V-6.
For those who place fuel economy or petroleum independence as one of their highest shopping priorities, there’s the 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid, which returns fuel economy figures of up to 34 mpg city, 31 highway. The Hybrid is covered by a separate review.