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2005 Ford Escape

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2005 Ford Escape Review

A great all-around mid-size SUV with ample room, a strong powertrain, smooth ride, and few complaints.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The Escape, which debuted in 2001, is not Ford’s first sport utility vehicle (SUV) and is considerably smaller than a typical truck-based SUV. The 2005 model went on sale in late-2004, and later in 2005, the Hybrid Escape debuted. Also available in 2005 are 12 trim levels.

The Range

Body Styles: four-door sport utility vehicle
Engines: 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Ford Escape XLS, Ford Escape XLT, Ford Escape XLT Sport, Ford Escape Limited, Ford Escape HEV

What's New

The Escape is refreshed inside and out with a long list of updates. It gets a new 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine with 153 horsepower that replaces the two-liter four-cylinder with 127 horsepower. The four-cylinder is now available with an automatic transmission for the first time. Also available is a four-wheel-drive system and anti-lock brakes became standard features. Safety Canopy rollover protection became an available option.

The exterior received an update with new front and rear fascia, new headlights, an egg crate grille, four new colors, and restyled wheels. Also, a quieter cabin with a standard floor shifter and upgraded interior is added.


This vehicle is not what you would describe as aerodynamic, but it sits high with a commanding view of the road. It is sporty, agile, and fun to drive. In addition, it is durable and fuel-efficient.

Being wider than most compact SUVs gives the Escape an established demeanor. The large wheel lips, forward stance, and combined bumper guard give the Escape a functional look, but the short overhangs in the front and rear give it a sporty appeal.

Standard roof racks are mountable and hold 100 pounds with crossbars. In addition, The measurements of this massive vehicle are 79.9-inch width, 77.4-inch height, 226.4-inch length, 7.4-inch ground clearance, and 137.1-inch wheelbase.


There are numerous ways the seating can be configured, one of which allows up to nine passengers. With 110 cubic feet of cargo area, there is still an abundance of room for cargo. The second row seat has a choice of a split power folding bench seat or captain’s chairs. The second and third row seats have the ability to fold flat. The second row bench can slide forward 11 inches in the center.

The list of standard convenience features is extensive including cruise control with the controls mounted on the steering wheel, remote power locks, power mirrors, and speed proportioned power steering. Other conveniences include cup holders on all rows, front and rear door pockets, tilt adjustable steering wheel, and 12-volt outlets in the front and cargo areas. Also included are front reading lights, passenger vanity mirror, and cargo area lighting.

A navigation system and a rear seat DVD entertainment system are additional options.

The Eddie Bauer model comes with some notable interior features such as two-tone leather trimmed captain’s chairs, six-way power seats with memory and dual manual lumbar adjustment, and leather second row bench seats.

The Limited model adds eight-way driver and passenger seat adjustments, power lumbar adjustment, and power recline.

Performance & Handling

There is now a notable ride experience due to the new rear suspension. The Escape's performance with the V-6 is acceptable. The V-8 is decidedly stronger, but acceleration is not overpowering. Shifting is noticeable but not overly vexing.


Standard safety equipment on all Ford Escape models includes an anti-lock disc braking system with electronic brake-force distribution and ventilated disc. Also standard is the new AdvanceTrac electronic stability system with Roll Stability. The roll stability is designed to activate when it detects a wheel is about to leave the pavement reducing the chance of a rollover. Additional standard safety features include engine immobilizer, child seat anchors, and rear seat child safety locks.

A canopy side curtain airbag system and a reverse sensing system that detects obstacles in the rear are optional.

The NHTSA’s ratings for the Explorer are five out of five stars for passenger protection, four stars for driver protection, five stars for protection in a side impact in both front and rear, and three stars for rollover protection.

The IIHS’s rating is ?good,? which is the best possible rating, for the frontal offset crash test and ?poor? for rear crash protection and head restraint.

EPA Fuel Economy

Ford Escape, XLS: 21/27 mpg city/highway
Ford Escape, XLT: 19/23 mpg city/highway
Ford Escape, XLT Sport, Limited: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Ford Escape HEV: 30/28 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Strong optional V-8
  • Comfortable cabin
  • Seating up to seven
  • Excellent ride for a truck based SUV
  • Good crash test results

You Won't Like

  • Bad fuel economy
  • Some low grade materials in interior
  • Confusing controls in high end models
  • Boring cabin design

Sum Up

A great all-around mid-size SUV with ample room, a strong powertrain, smooth ride, and few complaints.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Lexus GX 470
  • Nissan Murano
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Mitsubishi Montero
  • Saab 9-7X
  • Buick Rainier

See the New 2015 Escape.

Front & Driver Side View

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