A solid compact sport/ute player with a respectable value story, the Escape neither blows away the competition, nor falls too far behind. In V-6 form, it offers a good balance of sport and utility, and with a better interior and improved engine, it would be tough to beat. But alas, the Escape falls mid-pack in categories such as cabin refinement, gas mileage, cargo space and towing capacity. For green-minded shoppers who opt for the hybrid version, be aware that you'll have to spend years saving money on gas to make up for the premium you paid to get the hybrid version.
A compact utility with a sporting demeanor, the Escape is a capable urban runner with a penchant for weekend adventures.
A slight freshening of the bumpers and lights, new colors, a revised gauge cluster, a new four-cylinder engine and four-wheel drive system, and a hybrid model round out the changes for 2005.
Spring for the V-6 engine, and don't forget the tow package if hauling is in your future. The optional side and head curtain airbags are recommended.