Ford added a hybrid version of the Escape in 2004 and the model range received a minor restyling in 2005. For 2006, Escape is offered in two new metallic colors (Titanium Green and Blazing Copper), and the four-cylinder engine is now available in XLT models.
The Escape (and its near twin, the Mazda Tribute) debuted in 2000 as the smallest member of Ford's SUV lineup. Its popularity has yet to wane; according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Escape was the leading seller during calendar year 2005 in the Compact CUV (crossover utility vehicle) segment.
The Escape is available in five trim levels: XLS, XLT, XLT Sport, Limited, and Hybrid. All models include power windows and locks, keyless entry, air conditioning, and a CD player, as well as other desirable standard features, and are available in either front- or all-wheel-drive versions. XLS and XLT versions are powered by a 153-hp, 2.3L four-cylinder engine with either a 5-speed manual (XLS only) or 4-speed automatic transmission. Optional on XLT and standard on XLT Sport and Limited is a 193-hp, 3.0L V-6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway for the front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder version with a manual transmission to 18 city/22 highway for the AWD V-6 model.
The Escape Hybrid uses a licensed version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive in conjunction with a 133-hp version of Ford's own 2.3L engine. Like Toyota's hybrids, the Escape can run solely on electric power at lower speeds. Maximum output with gasoline and electric power combined is 155 hp, and Ford claims that acceleration is similar to the V-6-powered Escape. Like its conventionally powered brethren, the Escape Hybrid is available with front- or all-wheel drive. As with most hybrids, the Escape is most efficient in stop-and-go driving. EPA fuel economy estimates are 36 mpg city/31 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, and 33 mpg city/29 mpg highway with all-wheel drive.
The Ford Escape competes in the Compact CUV segment against 22 other models, with the Mazda CX-7 joining the mix in 2006. Buyers in this segment are looking for vehicles that offer SUV-like space and style with improved fuel efficiency and more car-like ride and handling.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Escape led this segment with 165,122 sales in calendar year 2005, followed by the Honda CR-V (150,219), Chrysler PT Cruiser (133,740), and Chevrolet Equinox (130,542). Other models in this segment include the Saturn VUE, Mazda Tribute, and Mercury Mariner (which are based on the same platform as the Escape), as well as the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson, Honda Element, and Scion xB.
|XLS Manual 2.3L (100A)||5 speed manual||$19,380||153-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||24/29|
|XLS 2.3L (120A)||4 speed automatic||$20,070||153-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||22/26|
|XLT 2.3L (305B)||4 speed automatic||$22,535||153-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||22/26|
|XLT Sport 3.0L (330B)||4 speed automatic||$24,185||200-hp / 3.0L 6-cyl||20/24|
|Limited 3.0L (500B)||4 speed automatic||$24,930||200-hp / 3.0L 6-cyl||20/24|