The 2010 Ford Escape is an appealing crossover SUV due to its peppy engines, outstanding crash test scores and abundance of innovative high-tech features.
Changes from last year's model include a new driver-side mirror that improves blind spot vision, as well as new options such as an automatic parallel-parking "Auto Park" feature, a rearview camera and MyKey (allows parents to set speed and audio volume limits for their teen drivers). In addition, heated seats are now a new standard feature on the Limited model.
And the high-tech goodies abound, including Ford's impressive Sync system which integrates your cell phone and iPod/MP3 player right into the car's control systems. And when equipped with the optional navigation system, the Escape provides real-time traffic, weather, sport scores, movie times and and other convenient information.
In addition to the MyKey and Sync system's, the neat new Auto Park feature allows for easy and stress-free parallel parking by giving the car control over its steering. Not only is it convenient, but it is also supposedly better than those found in much more expensive vehicles.
Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Escape is classified as a five-passenger compact SUV that's available in three trims: XLS, XLT and Limited. There's also an Escape Hybrid model which will be detailed in a separate review.
Standard features on the already well-equipped base XLS model includes 16 inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, the integrated blind spot driver mirror, cruise control, keyless entry, air conditioning and a 4-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack.
Optional features on the XLS include the Sync electronics interface, which includes Bluetooth and an iPod interface, and steering wheel audio controls.
The Escape XLT has all of the XLS' equipment plus foglamps, automatic headlights, the MyKey control system, a 6-way power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, steering wheel audio controls and satellite radio.
There are also numerous options available for the XLT. There's a Leather package that adds ambient lighting in addition to the leather upholstery. The Sun & Sync package adds the Sync system and a sunroof. There's also a Sport Appearance package that includes 17 inch wheels and a number of upgraded interior and exterior trim accents. In addition, there's a 7-speaker stereo upgrade available as a stand-alone option.
The Escape Limited then adds exterior chrome highlights, different 16 inch wheels, a leather interior, heated front seats, Sync and a 6-speaker audio system.
Also available on the Limited is a Luxury package that adds dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. There's also a Moon and Tune package that includes a sunroof and the 7-speaker stereo. The Limited's stand-alone options include Auto Park and a navigation system which includes the upgraded stereo, digital music storage and Sirius Travel Link (real-time traffic, weather and other information).
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering all models of the Ford Escape, which is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, is a 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine that produces 171 horsepower. Optional on all models except the XLS is a 3.0 liter V6 that generates 240 horsepower. The 2.5 engine can be equipped with either a five-speed manual transmission (on the XLS only) or a six-speed automatic. The V6 is only offered with the automatic transmission. A properly equipped V6 Escape has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.
The EPA estimated gas mileage for a the four-cylinder, six-speed automatic Escape with front-wheel drive is 20 mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive lowers the rating slightly to 19 mpg city and 25 highway. Gas mileage for the V6 with front-wheel-drive comes in at 18 mpg city and 26 highway, while the all-wheel drive gets 17 and 24.
Standard safety features on all Escapes include antilock brakes (ABS), stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags.
In government crash testing, the Escape earned the highest scores in all categories, receiving a perfect five out of five stars in both frontal and side impact protection for both driver and passengers.
The cabin of the Escape received a nice upgrade several years ago and remains attractive, well-designed and user-friendly, while consisting of higher grade materials. Seating, while higher than many SUVs, is still comfortable. Cargo space is also adequate coming in at 29 cubic feet and 66 when the second row is folded down.
The Escape offers a pleasant drive with competent acceleration. The electric power steering is very good and makes parking and low-speed maneuvers easy. In addition, the suspension has been tweaked to improve smoothness over rough roads.