Fifteen years ago, the original Ford Escape combined the styling and capability of a traditional SUV with the size and characteristics of a midsize car. That winning combination has served Ford well, making the Escape one of America’s best-selling small crossover since its introduction and continues today. October 8 marks the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Ford Escape.
Four generations of the venerable Ford Escape and over 300,000 sold in the United States cements the compact crossover as one of the leading competitors in its class. Facing against popular choices like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, meant that Ford had to step up its game – and quickly. Thus, the automaker worked with Mazda to underpin the first generation Escape that was available in front- and all-wheel drive, and was powered by a standard 130 horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a 5-speed manual transmission sourced from Mazda. A Ford 200 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission were available options.
The 2nd generation Ford Escape started with the 2008 model year, but it would be a year later before new drivetrains caught up with the generation change. For 2009 MY the base engine is a 171 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder offered with a 5-speed manual or optional 6-speed transmission. The optional V6 engine gains 40 ponies for an output of 240 horsepower. New to the line-up was a hybrid version powered by a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four that offered best in class fuel economy.
For 2013 model year, the Ford Escape shed its bulky utilitarian SUV design and adopted a sleek, sculpted look based on the Ford Vertek concept. The V6 engine and hybrid models were discontinued, replaced by one naturally aspirated 168 horsepower four cylinder engine and two EcoBoost inline-fours where the more powerful of the two can crank up to 240 horsepower. EcoBoost is Ford-speak for engines that combine direct fuel injection, turbocharging, and valve control tech that does a good job of making more power while consuming less gas and emitting less harmful emissions.
Ford Escape crossover is manufactured at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant located in Kentucky. In 2014, Ford sold more than 300,000 Escapes in the United States – an all-time record for the brand.
The 2016 Escape is the first model in Ford’s product line to be equipped with the updated SYNC 3 infotainment system. The communications and entertainment system utilizes touch screen technology similar to tablets and smartphones and allows users to look up points of interest or enter addresses with the available navigation system similar to doing an Internet search.
Watch this video of Roman and Nathan taking the 2014 Ford Escape on an off-road adventure.