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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
Escape's interior imparts a low-buck atmosphere
the firmer new foam is an improvement over earlier seats
ride quality is impressive in all models
With all the improvements made for the 2009 Ford Escape, it's disappointing that Ford doesn't see fit to upgrade the materials. However, the Ford Escape manages to redeem itself somewhat in the area of passenger comfort.
The carlike Ford Escape still retains dimensions befitting a normal-size SUV compared to its growth-hormone-injected competitors. Inside there’s ample room for four adults. ConsumerGuide says that “while the optional sunroof cuts into headroom a bit, most adults should find more than adequate headroom. Legroom is good for most adults, though taller riders would benefit from longer seat tracks.”
The front seats are comfortable, and according to Automobile.com, the “step-in height is reasonable with seat cushion height close enough to hip level for most people to achieve comfortable access. Once in the seats, the firmer new foam is an improvement over earlier seats in support and comfort.” Rear seating, however, seems to fall a little short. “The rear bench seat is lightly contoured for two, but a center passenger is more than an afterthought, and a nearly-flat floor helps,” says Automobile.com. Total passenger volume is 99.4 cubic feet, smaller than some other compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V.
When traveling, “ride quality is impressive in all models, and the suspension's compliance soaks up big potholes and surface irregularities surprisingly well,” says Popular Mechanics. ConsumerGuide concurs, contending the Escape’s ride is “pleasant, given the age of its basic design. Bumps are heard more than they're felt. Some float is noticeable at highway speeds, but it's not bothersome.”
Where the Escape gets into trouble is with its cabin materials that were just upgraded last year. "Disappointing overall,” comments ConsumerGuide. “Escape's interior imparts a low-buck atmosphere with lots of hard plastic trim and odd panel textures.”
TheCarConnection.com's editors don't like the operation of the folding rear seats. The process is complicated, though; it includes removing the three headrests, folding the seat cushions forward, then unlatching each seatback.
The 2009 Ford Escape might aim for a more upscale market, but the interior falls well short.