The Ford Escape is available in three trims: the base XLS, the workhorse XLT and the luxurious Limited, as well as the Hybrid and Hybrid Limited.
The base engine is 2.5L Duratec 4-cylinder that makes 171 hp and 171 lb-feet of torque. Also available is a 3.0L Duratec V6 engine, producing 240 hp at 6,550 rpm and 223 lb-feet of torque. All models, including the Hybrid, offer a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard with the 4-cylinder engine. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on all V6 engines and available with the 4-cylinder.
The Escape Hybrid powertrain includes a 2.5L Duratec gasoline 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine. It delivers 153 hp and 136 lb-feet of torque. It is coupled with an electric motor that delivers 94 horsepower at 5000 rpm. The powertrain also incorporates electronic throttle control, which replaces the manual linkage between accelerator and throttle with a control unit that calculates the optimal throttle position from a number of sensors. The hybrid is available with front wheel drive, 4-wheel drive and in XLS, XLT or Limited trim.
Standard safety features include front side-impact airbags, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, Ford's Safety Canopy (a side curtain air bag technology), SecuriCode keyless entry and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The base XLS comes with a minimal amount of standard comfort features, to include keyless entry and power doors, mirrors and windows. Numerous options and packages are available. Major options on the Escape include larger 17-inch wheels, a 320-watt audiophile sound system, Sirius satellite radio, a DVD-based navigation system, leather-trimmed power seats, a power moonroof, a roof rack, ambient lighting, steering wheel audio controls, auxiliary audio input jack and a 110-volt AC power outlet (Hybrid models only).
Other options include Active Park Assist, with sensors on the front and rear of the vehicle and SYNC, which delivers up-to-date traffic, directions and information.
MyKey, a programmable vehicle key exclusive to Ford, is available on all trims. It allows parents to program the vehicle so that when a minor is driving, top speeds are limited to 80 mph, an alarm rings at speeds of 45, 55 or 65 mph, the audio system goes mute until the safety belt is buckled and volume can be limited to 44% of maximum volume. It can also activate a persistent Belt-Minder chime and a traction control system that limits tire spin and cannot be deactivated.
Limited and Hybrid Limited trims come equipped with an abundance of luxury and convenience features. Highlights on the Limited include leather upholstery, upgraded sound system, chrome trim and inside bezels, fog lamps and bright machined-aluminum wheels. The Hybrid includes dual-zone automatic climate control, eco-friendly fabric, fog lamps and unique alloy wheels.
Pending a complete redesign due in 2013, the Escape returns for 2012 with few changes.