The Ford Escape was first introduced as a 2001 model and has become one of the big sellers in the compact SUV class. It offers a design with European influence, sharp driving dynamics and an extensive list of high-tech features.
2013 to Present: Ford Escape
This isn't your father's Ford Escape. The compact crossover that offered the boxy SUV design with the benefits of being based on a car platform underwent a massive change for the 2013 model year. The third-generation model has some European influence in terms of design and driving dynamics. Ford also introduced a new line of turbocharged EcoBoost engines for this latest version of the Escape.
Compared with the previous Escape, the new model is much more sculpted and boasts a fair number of curves to the design. The new Escape is also a bit wider and has a slightly longer wheelbase.
The Escape offers three different engine choices. The base Escape S gets a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. The SE and SEL trims get a turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The top Titanium trim features a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This top engine offering is also available on SE and SEL trims as an option. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. Front-wheel is standard across the lineup, while all-wheel drive is optional on all but the base model.
Standard equipment on all Escapes includes an integrated blind-spot mirror, power windows and locks, cruise control, air conditioning and a six-speaker audio system. Ford's MyKey system is also standard, which allows parents to encourage good driving habits by limiting the Escape's top speed and stereo volume. Higher trim models get 17- to 19-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, the MyFord Touch infotainment system, a hands-free power liftgate and a Sony audio system.
For the 2014 model year, Ford dropped the SEL trim and made the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine standard on the Titanium model. This allowed Ford to lower the base price on the Escape Titanium to help close the gap between it and the SE model.
Earlier Ford Escape Models
Ford introduced the Escape as a 2001 model to compete against the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Along with its sister model, the Mazda Tribute, the Escape looked the part with a boxy shape and lower body cladding. The base engine was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 130 horsepower. Optional was a 3.0-liter V6 with 200 horsepower. Front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission came standard, while an all-wheel drive system and a four-speed automatic were available as options. Standard equipment at launch included power locks and windows, remote keyless entry, air conditioning and an AM/FM radio with a CD player.
For 2003, Ford introduced a more luxurious Limited trim. The Escape Limited included such features as body-colored trim, rear parking sensors, polished aluminum wheels and an upgraded audio system.
Two new powertrains were introduced for the 2004 Ford Escape, including a larger, 2.3-liter four-cylinder base engine with 153 horsepower. A new hybrid powertrain was also introduced, which features a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor to boost fuel economy to 33/29 mpg city/highway. The Escape Hybrid has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as standard equipment.
Ford introduced the second-generation Escape for the 2008 model year. The model became boxier on the outside, while the interior became a bit easier to live with thanks to a new dashboard layout. The powertrains carried over from the previous model year when the second-generation Escape was introduced. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, keyless entry, power locks and windows and an auxiliary input jack. Higher trim models feature a power-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control, automatic headlights, leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Ford addressed the Escape's powertrain lineup on the 2009 model, which came with a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine with 170 horsepower. The Escape Hybrid also got a 2.5-liter engine, boosting output to 177 horsepower. The 3.0-liter V6 saw power jump from 200 to 240 horsepower. A new six-speed transmission became available, while the hybrid model retained the CVT. Ford also added the voice-activated SYNC system to the Escape Limited. For 2010, the Escape saw a few changes in equipment, including the addition of Ford's MyKey system and an optional rearview camera.