The Escape is quite a nice vehicle for just over $20K. It looks pretty good and goes down the road well. Obviously, Ford isn't going to sell very many Escape models with the manual transmission. The fact that Ford now offers a six-speed automatic makes the standard manual transmission fitted to our test car even more pointless. Still, the three-pedal setup does average 2 mpg more on the EPA city cycle. I stand by Phil's point that a small wagon is a better option than a small SUV, but Americans like to sit up higher and the Escape is a good offering in the segment.
Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor