With Ford’s expertise in designing vehicles, the Escape has been one of America’s best-selling small SUVs. What distinguished the Escape from its lineup is its successful combination of the styling and drivetrain of an SUV and the practicality and driving characteristics of a midsize car. Since its launch in 2000 for the 2001 model year, the Ford Escape has offered its users with a comfortable yet edgy ride without the pocket-draining price.
First generation: 2000 – 2007
Ford Escape’s first generation came with the capability to do some light off-roading. However, realizing that the initial buyers didn’t take the Escape off road, Ford decided to use a car-like design, with a fully independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, for later models. The initial trims available were the XLS, XLT, and XLT Sport.
Equipped with a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine, the first gen offered its users a meager 130 hp. By 2005, however, this engine was replaced with the 2.3-liter inline-4, which brought about an increased power of 153 hp. First gen Escapes came with the transmission options of either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, the latter being standard on the V6 engine.
In addition to performance features, the 2006 and 2007 Escapes offered its users with car-like maneuverability, adequate interior space, and an optional Hybrid powertain.
Second generation: 2008 – 2012
Together with its twin models, the Mazda Tribute and the Mercury Mariner, the second generation Ford Escape was introduced in the 2006 Los Angeles International Auto Show. The new Ford Escape received a redesign in order to stay competitive with the emerging SUV rivals. Most of the internals, however, have been retained for the 2008 model year.
Still built on the CD2 platform, the second gen came with styling cues from the Explorer, Edge, and Expedition. Some of the changes in its design include a new grille with larger headlights and wheel arches that seemed cleaner and rounder. With the few interior changes, the second gen comes standard with Ford’s navigation system, a larger center console, and new blue gauges.
The Escape’s 2009 model year debuted at the 2008 Washington Auto Show, introducing new features and some added changes. The former four-speed automatic was replaced with Ford’s new six-speed automatic on both inline-4 and V6 models. With the new 2.5-liter Duratec 25, the second gen Escape’s standard power increased to 171 hp with 171 lb-ft torque. Fuel economy also improved by 1 mpg with the optional Duratec 30 V6 engine.