In terms of safety, the 2010 Ford Escape is not only a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but the SUV also earns five stars for front and side impacts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2009 Escape does, however, have a few drawbacks: drum brakes in the rear and a lower-than-typical rollover rating.
The Escape comes equipped with what Ford calls a Personal Safety System—basically, it includes all popular airbag systems (front side and side-curtain), plus anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. The curtain bags include a rollover sensor as well.
While Ford Escape used to come with four-wheel disc brakes, Edmunds points out that for the Escape and nearly identical Mercury Mariner, rear brakes were "downgraded to inferior drums in 2009." Added weight and less secure high-speed braking prowess make this purely a cost-cutting change.
Several new safety-related options are offered in the 2010 Escape. ConsumerGuide says the new MyKey system "allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle's top speed and audio volume." Also available is a new Rear View Camera system, along with a new Active Park System that helps guide the driver into a feasible space. Active Park Assist includes a new feature called Pull-Drift Compensation, which helps adapt to crosswinds or odd road curvature.
ConsumerGuide proclaims that the Ford Escape offers "fine all-around visibility," thanks to its commanding driving position and large windows—a departure from most utility vehicles, in which rearward vision is often impaired.