The greatest assets of past and present Escape models are:
1) has the nicest looking exterior styling among the small SUVs of its
class, and nicer than most of the larger SUVs too
2) its 16" wheels of the Escape make it look more robust than other SUVs of
2) fun to drive when equipped with a V-6 engine; very good acceleration;
very good handling
3) roomy for driver, passengers and cargo; more total interior space than
Jeep Liberty, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV.
The Escape has more interior space space than a Cherokee but less space than
a Grand Cherokee. Its rear leg room is better than many full size SUVs.
The models with the 3.0 liter V-6 engine are among the quickest accelerating
SUVs in their class, although the gas mileage is not very good (but good gas
milaeage compared to Cherokees, Grand Cherokees, Explorers, Blazers and
Trailblazers). The obsolete 2.0 liter I-4 powered Escapes (still available
on leftover 2004 models) had decent gas milage relative to other SUVs in
their class, but were sluggish on steep highways and also at high
elevations. A 2.3 liter I-4 engine is new for the 2005 MODEL THAT COMES OUT
THIS MONTH. It will replace the 40 lb heavier 2.0 liter engine, providing
20% more HP. However the old V-6 engine will still provide 32% more HP than
the new I-4 engine.
In the past there has been no 5-speed manual tranny available for the V-6
powered Escapes. I still have not read any official news releases stating
otherwise for model year 2005.
There are no complaints published in the past about the Escape's cornering.
It will outhandle the American full size SUVs on the road curves, and
handles as good as any other SUV in its class. It handles much like a car,
because it has a unibody construction and 4-wheel independent suspension
like a car. Because it does not have a large amount of suspension travel, it
experiences little "roll" thru a sharp curve in the road. However, that
small suspension travel does *not* make for a serious off-road vehicle
To compound the off-road problems further, the 4WD models do not have a low
speed setting on the transfer case, so it's useless for climbing steep dirt
roads. Worse yet, the 4WD system of the 2004 and earlier models had a
slippage even when "locked" into 4WD mode. Thus, the vehicle is unable to
get itself unstuck. I believe the 2005 4WD Escapes will have the same
limitation. However, the 4WD was and should continue to be great on slippery
roads, which is what the Escape's 4WD is really only designed for.
According to edmunds.com here are the only small SUVs that *are* suitable
for off-road use:
Chevrolet Tracker, Jeep Liberty, Kia Sorento, Suzuki Vitara, Suzuki XL-7,
Driver visibility in the Escape is very good.
Escape's hydraulic power-assist rack and pinion steering is arguably the
sharpest of all small SUVs.
In the past, the Escape has been known to have a lot of engine noise (both
the 2.0 liter I-4 and 3.0 liter V-6 engines) when accelerating hard up thru
the gears. The 2005 model is supposed to have better noise insulation at the
firewall to contain more of that noise. The 2005 will also have a quieter
2.3 liter I-4 engine (having a balance shaft) to replace the old 2.0 liter
The Escape's 16" wheels generate a considerable amount of noise at 70 mph.
There will be no respite from this in the 2005 model year.
Previously not all Escapes had antilock brakes on all four wheels. That has
been rectified for model year 2005. In previous years all Escapes had disk
brakes at the front and drum brakes in the rear, but in model year 2005 all
V-6 4WD equipped Escapes will get both front and rear disk brakes.
The old Escapes used to get an objectional amount of wind noise at the
windshield ocurring above 60 mph. That will probably still be true for the
2005 model year.
The old Escapes used to get air noises and squeaks coming from the door and
hatch seals after about 20,000 miles. The new Escapes are supposed to have
improved door/hatch seals.
Some owners have complainted of rattling noises in the body after a year or
Model year 2004 and earlier Escapes had a steering column mounted shift
lever for the automatic transmission. A retro idea. There were a lot of
complaints about that, so for the 2005 models, that automatic tranny shifter
is moved to the floor between the front seats.
The radio/CD system of the Escape sounds as fine as any vehicle on the road.
Some like it better than what's in their expensive luxury sport sedans.
However, the 6-CD changer of the older Escape was prone to break within a
couple years. Perhaps that unit is improved for 2005?
The instrument cluster of the 2004 and earlier Escapes is cheesey looking
compared to all other SUVs. Unfortunately, it will remain that way for model
year 2005 too.
The leather seat coverings available on some escapes used to have the look
and feel of rubber :-( There will be better quality leather seat covering
available for 2005. Previously the Escape's upholstery was about the hardest
of any vehicle; not vey comfortable on long trips. In 2005 there will be
softer seats, which will also provide a softer feeling ride.
To help the ride feel even softer, the 2005 model year will have
larger-diameter front shocks and a new front stabilizer system, because in
the past some but not all owners complained that the ride was too rough.
However, often times in the past these complaining owners had never owned a
SUV before. Since Ford is marketing the Escape for first time SUV owners,
they are addressing this complaint.
The old Escapes had a mini-sized spare tire that was hidden inside the cargo
area. For 2005 models the spare is full size and is stored underneath the
vehicle, where it is exposed to road salt and dirt.
The fuel tank of the Escape is only 16 gallons, which is OK for the I-4
engine, but a little small for the V-6.
The Ford Escape is one of the best of the small, *on-road* SUVs. It leads in
sales for its class in the U.S. market.
In my previous reply I mistakenly used an incorrect word to describe the
sufficiently flat cornering ability of the Escape.
"Because it does not have a large amount of
suspension travel, it experiences little "roll"
thru a sharp curve in the road."
Just replace the word "roll" with "lean". The word "roll" is best used to
describe an extremely dangerous accident; not as I had originally used it.
Also just to add that there's evidence judging from the Ford questionairres
returned that 2/3 of the number of Escape buyers are women, so when you read
about complaints of the roughness of the Escape's ride (which is not as
rough as the Jeep Liberty) take that into consideration. Personally, when I
test drove the Escape I didn't find its ride to be objectionable, as I
understood that it wasn't a passenger car, but that it was an on-road SUV
designed to carry a much greater load than just me and the salesman.
I'd say look at something else.
Why? It has *terrible* gas mileage. It has that useless 2 inch deep slot
in the dash for storing... nothing.(terrible interior for the price, IMO),
it does poorly in side crash tests, and really isn't capable of going off-road.
Ford needs to re-think this - either make it a real mini-SUV or make it
smaller and more car-like.
I have an '02 XLT, V-6 2WD, that I bought new and wouldn't trade it for
anything I've seen on the road. I agree with Knack's review on almost every
item; I don't know what mileage figures he's using, but I get 20-22 around
town, and 26-29 on the highway. Pretty bad compared to the 2000 4-cyl.
Eclipse I used to have, but a heck of a lot better than friends with
Explorers, Cherokees, and Liberty's with 6-cyl. are getting.
I test drove a new '02 Liberty for a weekend (I know the dealer), test drove
the Escape for 1/2 an hour, and picked the Ford. Better handling, better
acceleration, more room, and slightly lower cost. The interior of the
Liberty was slightly nicer to look at, but no more comfortable. I've done 4
hour trips in my Escape, and played a rousing tennis match that evening
without any discomfort. No matter how I adjusted the seat in the Liberty, I
kept getting the feeling it was throwing me forward.
I've had no mechanical or electrical problems with the SUV. I have the
in-dash 6 CD and have had none with it either, although some people have
complained about playing home-made CD's in it. A lot of those problems have
been attributed to having the stick-on labels come off because of the
internal heat generated- gets quite warm, I guess.
The road and wind noise are a little bothersome, but not terribly so. No
worse than my Eclipse or Ford Probe were. I hear that the Michelin Cross
Terrain SUV tires will eliminate most of the road noise. Whenever I wear out
the tires that are on it now, I might try them and see, but the noise isn't
bad enough for me to justify to myself spending $600 when I have perfectly
good tires now.
All in all, I love the car, would buy another one, and would recommend it to
anyone who wants a roomy, mid-size SUV instead of a "family 18-wheeler" like
the Expedition or Tahoe.
I would drive, and get a total drive home price, for all those in
the same size range that suited my needs, then decide.
Apparently more people prefer the Escape v ANY of it competitors
since it is the number one seller among SUV's in its class. One
can drive home a V6 for a lot less than what many competitors
want for a 4cy
I have an 03 Escape. Traded my Mustang in for it. What can I say. The baby
seat and the seven year old just won't fit in the back seat. It has nice
head room and plenty of hp. Nice cargo room. And my wife loves the passenger
seat. It's much more comfortable than the Mustang.
It handles well. The 4 wheel drive is nice. Although the weather here
(Arkansas) really hasn't called for the 4 wheel drive.
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