The Ford Escape is the smallest SUV in Ford's lineup, and since a redesign is due in 2013, there are almost no new changes for 2012. This is the second-generation Escape, which has been around since 2008. New engines and transmissions were fitted in 2009 to improve performance and fuel economy.
The Escape Hybrid is touted as the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market, and gets 31 mpg on the highway. Escape V-6 models rate 25 mpg highway, while the four-cylinder falls in the middle at 28 mpg, a relative bargain at $22,065 compared to the Hybrid's $31,395 starting price. With optional all-wheel drive, the Escape has some towing and off-road capability for those who need it, but for the most part, it is a fuel-sipping around-towner.
The entire Escape range is available with the latest crop of entertainment niceties, such as Ford's voice-activated Sync, among other features. With available all-wheel drive, and standard roll stability control, the Escape is a family- and environment-friendly sport-ute that fills multiple uses on the go.
Bodystyles: Crossover SUV
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter V-6, 2.5-liter four-cylinder with electric motor
Transmissions: five-speed manual, six-speed automatic, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: XLS, XLT, Limited, Hybrid
EPA Fuel Economy
Inline-4 FWD: 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway (manual)
Inline-4 FWD: 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway
Inline-4 AWD: 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway
V-6 FWD: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway
V-6 AWD: 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway
Hybrid FWD: 34 mpg city/31 mpg highway
Hybrid AWD: 30 mpg city/27 mpg highway
Look for a newly redesigned Escape in 2013.
The Escape is a generic-looking crossover SUV, and a miniature version of the previous generation Ford Explorer, at that. In fact, little has changed since the model refresh, which was a drastic change from the original model. Between the current models, the Hybrid comes with body-color grilles, others with chrome. Limited models get chrome on the bottom part of the nose, plus 16-inch wheels.
At 35.6 inches, the Escape is slightly short on rear-seat legroom, but offers up a maximum of 67.2 cubic-feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Limited models come with heated, leather-trimmed seats. All new Escapes come with Ford's voice-activated Sync, part of the infotainment audio system.
Performance & Handling
The Escape is not exactly a spirited driving machine, but it has adequate power for freeway passing. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes 171 horsepower and comes with an available 5-speed manual transmission. Those planning on hauling gear or pulling a boat should opt for the 240-horsepower V-6. Drivers should expect SUV-like handling, and with an antiquated drum rear-brake system, braking is not the Escape's best attribute.
The Ford Escape comes standard with six airbags including side curtains for both rows of seats, plus stability and traction control. Integrated spotter mirrors help the driver see traffic in blind spots, and an available rear-camera helps with busy parking lots.
Big SUV looks, small size
- Best SUV fuel economy
- Available Hybrid
- Cargo room
You Won't Like
- Substandard Brake System
- Rear-seat legroom
- Pricey Hybrid
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda CR-V
- Subaru Forester
- Toyota RAV4
- Suzuki Grand Vitara