You might be surprised to learn that the Escape is Ford’s second-highest-selling vehicle in the United States, bettered only by the F-series pickup and in a virtual tie with the Fusion sedan. Much of that sales success is likely due to the fact that the Escape and the Escape Hybrid are reasonably priced, are available in both front- and four-wheel drive, are relatively versatile, and are among the most-fuel-efficient vehicles in their class — the front-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid makes an impressive 34 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway. Both available gasoline engines — the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces 171 hp, and the optional 3.0-liter V-6 makes 240 hp — can be had with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, and the Escape Hybrid comes with a continuously variable transmission. The Hybrid’s four-cylinder engine features a processor that enables the SUV to switch from electric to gasoline mode almost imperceptibly. Options include Sync and MyKey, which allows anxious parents to program the key so that their teenagers can’t drive faster than 80 mph, limits the volume of the stereo system to 44 percent of the normal maximum, and makes it impossible to deactivate the traction control system. There are no notable changes for 2012, which is understandable in light of the fact that a redesigned Escape is scheduled for the 2013 model year.

Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: XLS, XLT, Limited, Hybrid, Hybrid Limited
Body Style: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger
Engines: 2.5L I-4, 171 hp, 171 lb-ft
2.5L I-4/electric hybrid, 177 net hp, 136 lb-ft
3.0L V-6, 240 hp, 223 lb-ft (E85 capable)
Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, continuously variable
Passenger Volume: 99.4 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 1000-3500 lb; cargo (rear seats up/down) 30.9-31.4/66.4-67.2 cu ft

The Ford Escape enters the 2012 model year with no notable changes. Look for an all-new Ford Escape for 2013.

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction and stability control, integrated blind-spot mirrors, programmable MyKey, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

All: 19-34 mpg city/23-31 mpg highway

  • Fuel-efficient hybrid
  • Lots of safety features
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • A redesign is in the works
  • Low fun factor

Sensible, capable, fuel efficient: no wonder it’s a big seller.

  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Honda CR-V
  • Kia Sportage
  • Toyota RAV4

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