INTRO: A year removed from a complete redesign, the Ford Escape rolls into 2012 with its attractive styling and off-road prowess well intact.
The bold persona of this 5-passenger compact SUV displays itself in the rugged grille and bulging fender flares. Lots of ground clearance and available four-wheel drive add real world qualifications. Optional 17-inch chrome clad aluminum wheels fitted with all-season tires augment the Escape's all-weather credentials.
Trim levels include the base XLS, up-rated XLT, and top of the line Limited.
PERFORMANCE: Available with either front wheel or four-wheel drive, the 2012 Escape is powered by a 171 horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4 mated to either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. An available 240 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 flex-fuel engine is coupled with a 6-speed automatic.
FUEL ECONOMY: Here are the highest and lowest EPA estimates for fuel economy:
FEATURES: The rear lift-gate with a separately opening glass panel provides easy access to the rear cargo area. Ample cargo space behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, more than doubles with the seats folded flat.
Our Limited test model featured a 320-Watt entertainment system incorporated with Ford's DVD-based navigation system and HD radio. Leather seats and a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel round out interior appointments.
SAFETY: Standard safety equipment on the Escape includes 4-wheel antilock brakes, roll stability control, tire pressure monitoring system and a full array of front and side airbags. Optional Active Park Assist enables the Escape to automatically steer into a parking space.
PRICING/WARRANTY: Base MSRP for the 2012 Ford Escape is $21,240. A V6 all-wheel drive Limited starts at $29,115. The Escape is backed by a 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
CLOSING: Whether around town or on the occasional getaway to the country, the 2012 Ford Escape makes errands easy and off-road adventures a pleasure.