The Ford Escape is a small – dare we say cute – SUV. It’s not the kind of SUV you’d see at a mud bog surrounded by a crowd waving Bud Light cans. Nor is the kind of SUV you’d find scaling rocks on the Rubicon trail. It’s the kind of SUV that’s more at home in the IKEA parking lot. Despite its lack of off-road ability, the Escape does offer an excellent all-wheel drive system for assurance in foul weather. It also offers a drive height greater than that of a car, while still offering car-like driving characteristics. There’s a lot to like about the Escape, which is why it’s always been a good seller for Ford.
HISTORY OF THE Ford Escape
The year was 2000 – the Y2K scare was over and people were ready to have a little fun. It was perfect timing for the economical, yet enjoyable Ford Escape. The first generation Escape was released in 2000 as a 2001 model. It offered a car-like unibody design with standard front wheel drive and option all-wheel drive. Engine choices were a 2.0L 4-cylinder, 2.3L 4-cylinder or a 3.0L 6-cylinder. Gear selection was made using either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. The Escape was the smallest SUV in the Ford lineup, with a wheelbase of only 103 inches.
The second generation Escape debuted at the Los Angeles auto show. It was released in 2007, with many design cues being borrowed from its bigger brothers, the Explorer and Expedition. A new engine was added to the lineup in the form of a 2.5L 4-cylinder and a 6-speed automatic transmission became available. The final year of the second generation was 2012. During this time, the Escape remained unchanged in anticipation of the all new vehicle to be revealed next year.
Third Generation Escape (2013-Present)
The third, and current, generation Ford Escape debuted in 2013. The new model had a completely redesigned exterior, as well as wheelbase that is 2.8-inch longer and1.3 inches wider. This was also the first year of the MyFord Touch electronics interface. In 2014, the Escape got upgraded with a standard rearview camera and Sync.
The 6-cylinder engine was dropped in 2013 and replaced by a lineup of smaller engines. This includes a 2.5L 4-cylinder, 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission option.
What the Escape lacks machoism, it makes up in form and function. It’s the perfect SUV for crowed city driving or tackling a dusty back road. That’s why it’s been around for almost two decades and will likely be around for many more to come.