2005 FORD ESCAPE
Used Truck - 2005 Ford Escape in Wind Gap, Pa
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2005 Ford Escape ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
Fresh looks, more power, better ride, and the first gas-electric SUV.
Ford Escape is the best-selling of all the small, affordable sport-utilities, and it's a solid choice among these so-called cute utes. The Escape offers agile handling, a smooth ride, and comfortable seating for four average Americans. It also offers brisk acceleration when equipped with the optional V6 engine. It's compact but practical. Folding down the rear seats reveals a flat, moderately sized cargo area. Best of all, its prices are relatively low, up only an average of 1 percent over 2004 prices.
For 2005, Escape has a fresh new face, new headlamps, and a brightened interior. The new base 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine is a big improvement over the old 2.0-liter, and it's available with an automatic transmission for the first time, a benefit of its increased power. The 2005 Escape offers a fully automatic four-wheel drive option that operates transparently in the background. The standard manual transmission is new, with lighter shifting efforts and shorter throws. And a revised suspension improves the ride.
But the biggest news is that the Escape Hybrid has finally arrived, using a special version of the 2.3-liter gas engine teamed with an electric motor. It's designed to deliver quick response while delivering excellent fuel economy.
Ford Escape comes in three trim levels, XLS, XLT, and Limited, all available with front-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). There's a choice of three powerplants and a choice of transmissions.
XLS ($19,265) is the base model and comes standard with air conditioning, illuminated remote entry, power windows and mirrors, tilt steering column, center console, 15-inch steel wheels and an AM/FM/CD/cassette audio system with clock. The new 2.3-liter four-cylinder Duratec 23 engine produces 153 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque, nearly 18 percent more power and 10 percent more torque than last year's engine. It has a balance shaft for smoothness, and it comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A 200-horsepower 3.0-liter Duratec V6 and four-speed automatic are also available: The XLS 4WD model ($21,015) comes standard with the V6 and automatic.
XLT ($22,780) and XLT 4WD ($24,530) come standard with the V6 and automatic transmission. XLT also gets four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), premium cloth upholstery, a power driver's seat, privacy glass, a power moonroof, cruise control, a cargo cover and convenience net, fog lights, an in-dash six-CD changer, and white-letter P235/70R16 tires on 16-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels. The XLT No Boundaries Package 47S on our test truck ($1,055) adds all-terrain tires, painted aluminum wheels, black painted step bars, Class II trailer towing, and wheel lips. New this year is XLT Sport ($23,690 FWD; $25,440 AWD) with all the XLT standard equipment plus 16-inch bright machined aluminum wheels, P235/70R16 tires, painted Dark Shadow gray fascias, bodyside cladding, wheel lip moldings and black step bars.
Limited ($24,615) and Limited 4WD ($26,365) come with premium leather seats, seat heaters, front side-impact air bags, dual front sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated exterior mirrors, a reverse sensing system, and a MACH Audio in-dash six-CD changer with automatic volume control. Limited sports a monochrome exterior with body-colored trim and bright machined 16-inch aluminum wheels.
Option packages are available for each trim level. XLT Premium Package ($1230) includes leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 60/40 split rear bench seat, front door map pockets, an overhead console with dual storage bins, a front passenger under-seat storage tray, and a power moonroof with sunshade. Also available for 2005 is the Limited Luxury Comfort Package, which includes the MACH audio system, heated side-view mirrors, reverse sensing system, front and rear premium leather-trimmed seats and heated front seats.
The Escape Hybrid is priced about $4,000 more than a V6, and is available in all trim levels.
Ford Escape's jaunty exterior is fitted with new headlamps, new fog lamps, a new egg-crate grille, new front and rear fascias and new 15- and 16-inch aluminum wheels. The lower bumpers now have ribs in them. The result of all this is a fresher, more contemporary look for Escape. New paint colors include Sonic Blue, Norse Blue, Silver Metallic and Titanium Green.
Escape is wider than other compact SUVs, giving it a well-planted road demeanor. Its forward-poised stance, large wheel lips, wide body cladding, and integrated bumper guard lend a functional appearance, while its short front and rear overhangs add to its sporting appeal. The Escape has a family resemblance to the Ford Explorer and Expedition, and looks bolder and more aggressive than the Honda CR-V.
Being able to see the leading edge of the hood from the driver's seat makes the Escape easier to maneuver in tight places. Its 7.8 inches of ground clearance may help clear some obstacles, but not big rocks. Outside door handles are easy to grab and feel like they're going to last.
Accessories from Ford Outfitters include a snap-in pet barrier and a system to haul two mountain bikes in the cargo area. Bike racks can also be mounted on the roof; the standard roof rack with crossbars holds up to 100 pounds. Foot rails are designed to make it easier to lift kayaks, snowboards and other toys onto the roof rack. The rear bumper is also designed to aid roof access.
The No Boundaries Rack System features a sliding rail that can be repositioned from the roof to the rear of the vehicle, locking into the bumper. This provides two separate loading surfaces: a traditional roof rack and a vertically oriented rack across the rear. When not in use, the sliding rails can be stored within the conventional roof portion of the rack system.
The 2005 Escape gets a redesigned interior. The shifter on automatic models has been moved off of the column and onto the floor. Other changes include new gauges, upgraded seats, new fabrics, and more interior storage.
The Escape is a compact SUV, so the front seats are nearly as roomy as the Explorer's. However, getting in or out of the front seats is made easier by low door sills and wide door openings. The XLS has manually adjustable seats trimmed with cloth. XLT gets premium cloth trim. Leather is optional.
Ford upgraded Escape's interior for 2003 with improved interior materials, but for 2005 a substantial interior restyling includes a standard console and floor shifter. (Apparently the voice of the customer was heard.) Illuminated switches for the power windows and power locks make them easier to find.
White-faced instruments are set in a simple, easy-to-understand instrument panel. The audio system and heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls in the center stack are angled slightly toward the driver for easier access while driving.
Side-impact airbags are standard on Limited, optional ($345) on XLS and XLT. Pretensioners combined with load-limiting retractors are standard on front-seat belts. In a crash, these pretensioners automatically tighten the belts, while the load limiters are designed to reduce the risk of chest injuries in severe collisions. (We strongly recommend always wearing seatbelts as they are the first line of defense in a crash; more than half of the nation's approximately 42,000 traffic fatalities each year are people not wearing seatbelts.)
The rear seats offer good knee room. The rear cargo area offers 69.2 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down, 33 cubic feet with the seats in place. The rear seats are split 60/40 for greater versatility. The rear-seat cushion can be removed for more load-carrying capacity. The flip-up rear glass offers easy access to the rear cargo area for small items.
On the road, the Ford Escape offers responsive handling and brisk acceleration performance. Larger-diameter front shocks and a new front stabilizer system have been fitted for 2005 to better control ride motions. The suspension has a comparatively taut ride quality, without the roly-poly and mushy ride that characterizes larger SUVs with big off-road tires and long-travel suspensions. The Escape handles better than a Jeep Liberty or Toyota RAV4, and is quicker than a Honda CR-V. Steering is responsive, direct and accurate with no dead spot in the center. There's enough feeling in the steering to impart a sense of control. Though this is not a sports car, the tires grip respectably in paved corners. The Escape offers surprisingly good transient response in a series of left-right-left corners. This permits quick, yet smooth, driving that will not upset passengers.
The new 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine may be all you need to feed. It offers more power (more torque), very low emissions, and the availability of an automatic transmission for the first time.
The available V6 engine delivers good acceleration performance. While there's no such thing as too much power, it never feels lacking in the Escape. The engine and four-speed automatic transmission communicate and work well together. The transmission shifts smoothly up and down, and chooses gears appropriately for the situation. The engine's broad power band never lugs or strains. This isn't the smoothest V6 on the market, nor is it the roughest. But it is smoother and more satisfying than the four-cylinder engines found in most small sport-utilities.
We found the Escape's anti-lock brakes smooth and responsive. Four-wheel disc brakes are now standard on V6 4WD models; rear drum brakes are used on four-cylinder and 2WD models. ABS comes into play just when expected and is detectable by the familiar pulsating sensation. Brake Assist, designed to assist the driver with full braking power when it senses an emergency stopping situation, is added this year. Also added is electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) for more effective, more stable braking.
Noise, vibration and harshness have been reduced for 2005. Additional sound-absorbing panels and tighter sealing on the 2005 Escape reduce interior noise. The balance shaft on the new Duratec four-cylinder engine and new engine mounts on the Duratec V6 make both powertrains sound smoother.
We found the Escape comfortable over a variety of on-road surfaces, eruptions and potholes. And this is where most Escapes live. Off road, we found the Escape lacking. Even though it's available with four-wheel drive, it's based on a front-wheel-drive platform. Rough, loose, steep trails leave it spinning its wheels. The suspension does not have the articulation needed for rugged terrain, there is no low-range set of gears, nor is the traction system that sophisticated. For everyday road travel, however, the Ford Escape is an excellent choice.
When properly equipped, Escape has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
As mentioned, the Escape is the world's first production SUV to offer a hybrid gas-electric engine. The hybrid 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine shuts down at rest (at intersections, for example) to conserve fuel. When traffic moves, the battery-powered 70-kilowatt traction motor generator can launch the vehicle on electric power only. It uses a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, and electric power steering. Under heavy load, the generator starts the gasoline engine in less than 0.4 seconds (immediately, in other words). The hybrid storage battery reclaims energy during braking to be used later for acceleration. The benefits include lower emissions and increased fuel efficiency. Hydrocarbon emissions and oxides of nitrogen are 97 percent less than what's emitted by most other new vehicles. Escape Hybrid also produces half the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) of conv.
Ford Escape is a fun, well-balanced on-road SUV. It has a roomy interior and good cargo capacity. A new four-cylinder engine brings needed power and the availability of an automatic. The available V6 engine provides the Escape with strong power. The new interior and suspension tuning make it more comfortable and more convenient. A four-wheel independent suspension and unit-body construction make it ride and handle almost as well as a car, but it isn't designed for serious off-road driving. Styling revisions give the 2005 Escape a fresh face.
The Escape Hybrid is the world's first gas-electric SUV, and can deliver huge mileage gains and greatly reduced emissions, though it adds about $4,000 to the cost.
Ford Escape XLS ($19,265); XLS 4WD ($21,015); XLT ($22,780); XLT 4WD ($24,530); Limited ($24,615); Limited 4WD ($26,365); Hybrid.
Kansas City, Missouri; Avon Lake, Ohio.
Options As Tested
XLT No Boundaries package ($1055) includes P235/70R-16 all-terrain white-letter tires, 16-in aluminum wheels, Class II trailer towing package, black step bars, special roof rack system; Mach stereo with 6-CD changer ($565); cargo cover ($75); side air curtain ($425).
Ford Escape XLT 4WD ($24,530).Escaping frequent fill ups.
The Ford Escape is the best-selling compact sport utility vehicle in the United States. Now it's available in a hybrid version. And, no, you don't have to plug it in.
What is a hybrid? It's a vehicle that draws power from the combination of a traditional gasoline engine and an electric motor and special battery pack. The Escape Hybrid is the first such SUV available in the United States, and also the first hybrid with available all-wheel drive and 1000 pounds of towing capacity, and allows buyers to enjoy the benefits of a small SUV while greatly enhancing fuel economy and lowering emissions.
By combing a four-cylinder gasoline engine with the boost from the electric power pack, the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid provides acceleration much like the regular Escape equipped with an optional V6 engine, but the Hybrid returns twice the fuel economy in city driving and nearly double on the highway.
Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that hybrid vehicles such as the Escape never have to be plugged into any sort of electrical outlet. The vehicle's battery pack is automatically recharged by the gasoline engine and by regenerative braking, technology that takes the otherwise wasted energy generated by braking and sends it to the battery pack.
There is a price premium that must be paid for equipping a car with a hybrid powertrain, but there also are federal and perhaps even state or local tax benefits available to help offset that cost.
The Escape Hybrid is available with front-wheel drive ($26,380) and all-wheel drive ($28,005). It comes in one well-equipped trim level. Options include leather seating, upgraded audio equipment, side-curtain airbags and a navigation system.
For comparison, the standard two-wheel-drive Escape with a four-cylinder engine has a base price of $19,265 and the top of the line, all-wheel-drive version with a V6 engine starts at $26,365, about the same price as the two-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid that provides similar acceleration and perhaps even better overall dynamic performance.
The most expensive option on the Escape Hybrid is the Energy, Audiophile and Navigation system package ($1,850) that includes an upgraded Audiophile audio system, CD-based satellite navigation and a display on the nav screen that illustrates instant and recent fuel economy and the way energy flows between the gasoline engine, electric motor, battery pack and wheels.
If you're among those who want a hybrid, you likely will opt for this package because it graphically and immediately demonstrates the benefits you derive from the technology. By paying some attention to the graphs, you'll find yourself becoming an even more environmentally friendly and fiscally efficient motorist.
A safety package ($595) includes side-curtain airbags that cover all seating areas as well as side airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger. Such airbags can provide life-saving protection in a collision.
Other options are a leather comfort group ($575), an appearance package ($625) with front and side fascias, Ford's MACH audio with 6-disc changer ($565), a 110-volt AC power outlet ($110), a retractable rear cargo cover ($75) and rear carpeted floor mats ($25).
The 110-volt AC power outlet can be a practical option, whether you plan to tailgate or camp, or might want to plug in an air compressor or other equipment. Many accessories from Ford dealers or aftermarket companies are available for the standard Escape and they also fit the Escape Hybrid.
Ford says the Escape Hybrid is the cleanest of all sport utility vehicles, and while the automaker is talking about the hybrid powertrain system, the adjective also applies to the Escape's exterior design. The design is clean: Simple and practical without unnecessary flourishes and flares, contemporary and not likely to look outdated within just a few years.
The standard fog lamps set toward the outside portion of the lower front fascia provide a nice balance to the car's face and visually widen the Escape Hybrid's stance.
Like many SUVs, the Escape Hybrid has a two-tone appearance, with body panels and lower fascia in complimentary colors. Those who want a monochromatic look can order the appearance package and specify silver clearcoat metallic paint.
Five-spoke alloy wheels are 16 inches in diameter and wear 235/70-aspect tires tuned to provide a smooth and comfortable ride, not for severe off-road duty.
One very useful exterior feature is the way the glass backlight opens separately from the rear hatch door, providing a quick and easy way to load or unload small packages. We also liked the fact that the top of the rear bumper cover is wide enough that we could set a 12-pack of soda on it while loading other groceries through the open rear window.
Visually, the Escape Hybrid is barely changed from the standard Escape, and most people won't even notice that your SUV is different that the rest. There are small Hybrid badges just behind the front wheels and also on the rear hatch. The hybrid also has a vent built into its left rear quarter-panel glass; this vent helps cool the battery pack.
Escape Hybirds come with flint gray interiors, either in a nicely patterned premium cloth or leather. The driver's seat has standard six-way power adjustment controls. Also standard are an in-dash six-CD changer, a tilting steering wheel with cruise controls on the wheel, a message center and a special set of hybrid gauges.
Gauges have black figures on a white background and are easy to read in even bright daylight. At night, the colors reverse, with white numbers against a glare less black background.
The biggest difference is seen on the tachometer, which reports the revolutions per minute of the engine. In the Escape Hybrid, the tach needle has a sub-zero setting that it uses to indicate that the car is running only on electric power, such as while sitting at a stop or even while traveling on the road in certain conditions.
Switchgear is easy to find and to use.
Seats provide an elevated vantage of the road ahead. They also are comfortable around town or on trips. The rear seat has ample room and a 60/40 split back that provides several options for expanding the size of the flat rear cargo floor.
The Escape Hybrid we tested was equipped with the optional energy, audiophile and navigation systems. The navigation system includes a Home button that can lead you back to whatever location you set as your home base, or you can easily program it to take you to various destinations.
When you switch over to the energy reporting screens, the next navigation instruction remains as the bottom line on the display, sort of like the line at the bottom of the screen in some television newscasts. This can be a handy feature for those who aren't sure of their route but also want to keep an eye on fuel economy is shaping up.
The screen isn't as large as those in some other vehicles, but its graphics are extremely clear and we had no trouble reading even the smallest details, either at night or while wearing sunglasses in bright daylight.
To launch the 2005 Escape Hybrid, Ford drove one on every paved street in Manhattan, all 576 miles of them, on a single tank of fuel, averaging 36 miles per gallon in the process, exactly twice the EPA's estimated mileage in the city cycle for the Escape V6.
The EPA rates the Escape Hybrid at 36 miles per gallon in town and 31 on the highway. The reason the city number is greater than the country number is because in slower driving, the electric motor carries more of the load, plus the gasoline engine simply shuts off while you're sitting at a stoplight.
Be gentle with the gas pedal and the car can travel a short ways just on electric power, but don't worry, the gasoline engine restarts immediately if you step firmly on the gas.
We didn't baby the Escape Hybrid to see how high we could get the mileage meter to go. We drove it like we would drive any other vehicle, but still averaged better than 35 miles per gallon around town. The standard Escape equipped with a four-cylinder engine is rated at 22 mpg in town and 25 on the highway.
The Escape Hybrid's optional Energy system provides instant fuel economy on a thermometer-style image at the left side of the display screen with your average economy and a stock market-style chart of fuel use for the last 15 minutes filling most of the screen. By paying some attention to the screen, you find yourself trying to get better and better fuel economy, which is probably the reason you bought this vehicle in the first place.
While saving fuel, you're also reducing emissions. Ford notes that the Escape Hybrid qualifies for super-low (SULEV) or advanced technology partial-zero (ATPZEV) emission vehicle status, and says you can drive the Escape Hybrid 15,000 miles and generate only one pound of smog-forming emissions.
The Ford Escape Hybrid is unique among hybrid vehicles in that its battery pack comprises a tray of what appear to be dozens and dozens of C cells, except they are high-tech nickel-metal hydride batteries and provide 330 volts of power, equivalent to 87 more horsepower. The battery pack is in a sealed box located beneath the rear cargo floor and does not intrude on the Escape's cargo-carrying capability. The battery pack also is warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The batteries do add some weight to the rear of the vehicle, but in the case of the Escape that weight makes the hybrid better balanced than the standard V6 Escape. The Escape V6 has 61 percent of its mass carried by the front wheels. The Escape Hybrid is better balanced. Only 57 percent of its weight is in front. That means this version is more neutral in its handling, staying flatter through corners and under braking. This should provide better maneuverability in emergency situations and enhance front tire and brake wear as well.
The Escape Hybrid's gasoline engine is a 2.3-liter, inline four-cylinder that operates under what is known as the Atkinson cycle, a technology designed to enhance the quality of fuel combustion. The Atkinson cycle sacrifices some horsepower, but keeps intake valves open longer and operates under a higher compression ratio.
The 2.3-liter Duratec four in the standard Escape provides 153 horsepower, 20 more than the Atkinson cycle engine, but the electric motor gives the hybrid power very similar to the Escape V6, which is rated at 200 horsepower.
To waste as little of the engine's power as possible while transmitting it to the drive wheels, Ford equips the Escape Hybrid with a continuously variable transmission. This transmission doesn't have standard gears. Instead, it has metal bands that adjust to best match the engine's performance. Thus there is not hesitation as gears shift, just smooth acceleration.
The CVT does offer a low range setting for increased traction. All-wheel drive gives the Escape Hybrid capability in foul weather and off-highway.
Ford Escape Hybrid competes in a set of vehicles that includes the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe and other compact sport utility vehicles. But the Escape Hybrid is unique with its fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly gasoline-electric powertrain. The powertrain provides performance on par with a V6 engine, but without the nose-heavy tendencies that often come with putting larger engines in front-drive vehicles.
New Car Test Drive correspondent Larry Edsall is based in Phoenix.
Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD ($26,380); 4WD ($28,005).
Kansas City, Missouri.
Options As Tested
appearance package ($625), energy/audiophile/navigation system ($1,850), safety package ($595), rear floor mats ($25), 110-volt power outlet ($110), leather comfort group ($575), retractable cargo cover ($75).
Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD ($26,380).
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