The Ford Escape looks like a little truck among small SUVs. Its styling reminds us of Ford's larger, truck-based sport utility vehicles. The Escape's ride height and seating position are a bit higher than competitors such as the Honda CR-V, and it can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is substantially more than most other vehicles in the class.
Yet the Ford Escape still delivers the advantages of unit-body, car-based competitors such as the Honda CR-V. Its smooth ride and agile handling make for enjoyable driving, and its compact dimensions make the Escape easy to park.
The standard four-cylinder engine is adequate for all-purpose driving while the V6 offers quicker acceleration performance. All variants, including the V6 and Escape Hybrid, deliver some of the best EPA mileage ratings in the class. All models are offered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
For the most part, the Hybrid drives just like a conventional gas-only Escape. It's a well-executed package. It offers better fuel economy and lower emissions but demands little additional effort or knowledge from the driver.
The Escape provides comfortable seating for four, or five in a pinch. Folding the rear seats opens a good sized cargo area with a flat floor, and space behind the seat surpasses that in the trunk of a typical sedan. There are lots of interior storage spaces, the finish is upscale and pleasing, and feature function and switches are among the best.
Escape was redesigned for 2008. For 2010, changes are minor. An Integrated Blind Spot Mirror, MyKey programmable vehicle key, Rear View Camera System, and Active Park Assist are now available, and the Escape also features hands-free SYNC with Traffic, Directions & Information. All the features improve safety and reduce driver distractions.
The Ford Escape remains one of the more appealing vehicles in its class, regardless of price, and certainly one of the better values. Those shopping for a small SUV should put it on their short list, especially those who appreciate its big-truck styling.