Reviewers had gripes about the general sluggishness and outdated transmission of the 2008 Ford Escape.
Cars.com notes that the handling of the new Ford Escape is “firmer than that of recent models like the Ford Edge and Taurus X.” This rigid ride was considered acceptable, though Edmunds.com was hoping for a bit more absorption in “small road imperfections.” Ultimately, the comfort level comes down to personal preference. Drivers who prefer the firmer feel of a truck will likely enjoy the 2008 Ford Escape, while those accustomed to smaller, sportier rides may be turned off.
Automobile.com knocked off points for the older four-speed automatic transmission, stating that “it is sometimes slow to shift” and is especially reluctant to “shift itself down into first gear.” Car and Driver chimed in on the lackluster acceleration of the 2008 Ford Escape, adding insult to injury with the observation that “we measured distinct decreases in every one of our performance tests” over previous-year models. These performance tests included acceleration, which showed that with the V-6 AWD Limited Escape, Ford’s new crossover, “takes 10 more seconds to get to 100 mph than it did in 2001.”
With the 2008 Escape, Ford made obvious attempts to improve fuel economy. In general, reviewers found these efforts to be satisfactory. ConsumerGuide reported that the 4WD Limited Edition Escape 2008 averaged 17.6 mpg, while the 2WD Hybrid Escape Ford scored an impressive 31.2 mpg. The Limited Edition fuel-economy is comparable to similar models, such as the Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4, though it falls a few miles per gallon below the Jeep Patriot.
The Ford Escape Hybrid, which gets much better gas mileage, is covered separately by TheCarConnection.com.