in 2012 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $14,262 - $19,443
Original MSRP: $21,440 - $28,120
MPG: 23 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 Ford Escape Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2012 Ford Escape’s engine is capable, but several reviewers say its performance is subpar for the class.

  • "The Escape's sturdy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is surprisingly capable of moving the little SUV's weight with relative ease." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While pleasant to drive, the 2012 Ford Escape lacks the mechanical polish and sophistication of newer models from Chevrolet, Honda, Kia, Subaru and Toyota." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The base XLS Escape model comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 171 horsepower and is paired with a five-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. A 3.0-liter 240-horsepower V6 flex-fuel engine is available beginning with the XLT trim. Reviewers say that unless you plan on towing, the base engine should be powerful enough for most drivers.

The Escape’s fuel economy is good for its class. According to the EPA, a front-wheel drive four-cylinder model should net 23/28 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 21/28 mpg with the optional automatic. All-wheel drive four-cylinder models net 20/27 mpg with the automatic. The V6 FWD model is rated at 19/25 mpg, while the AWD model is rated at 18/23 mpg.

  • "The available six-speed automatic operates effortlessly and helps the Escape see improvements in both performance and fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Four-cylinder Escape models have better than expected acceleration, even with AWD. The V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission make for a responsive compact SUV. The transmission is the highlight of this powertrain, providing smooth upshifts and snappy downshifts when needed, regardless of which engine you choose." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Acceleration from all engines is adequate, though the V6 isn't as energetic as the more powerful mills found in the Equinox and RAV4." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Reviewers criticize the outdated brakes on the 2012 Ford Escape. The Escape has drum brakes, while competitors equip their SUVs with four-wheel disc brakes. Handling isn’t as bad, they say, but the Escape is significantly more truck-like than its competitors. That’s not a good thing, because as a crossover, the Escape should handle more like a car.

  • "Pleasant, given the age of Escape's basic design. Bumps are heard more than they're felt. Some float is noticeable at highway speeds, but it's not bothersome. There's little difference in comfort among the various models." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling is best described as respectable, but not as tight or confident as experienced in more car-like utility vehicles, such as the Honda CR-V or Nissan Rouge. The electric-assist power steering system delivers good steering response and eliminates the need for a belt-driven pump, which draws power from the engine." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "But it's the Escape's brakes that have it trailing the competition. Where most of them have four-wheel disc brakes, the Escape uses drum brakes in the rear that simply don't have the power or resistance to fade." -- Edmunds

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