2006 Ford Escape SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Ford Escape SUV

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Ford Escape Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 153 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Ford Escape

  • Still one of our favorites in the category, the 2006 Ford Escape is a very capable small SUV thanks to its powerful V6, spacious cabin and carlike handling.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful V6, large cargo capacity, comfortable interior, carlike handling, optional side curtain airbags.

  • Cons

    Four-cylinder models feel unrefined at high rpm, so-so interior materials quality.

  • What's New for 2006

    The Ford Escape continues into 2006 with only minor trim and color changes.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Very thrilled and pleasently supprised

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

I purchased my 06' Escape about 8 months ago and couldn't be more pleased. A car salesman friend of mine let me drive an automatic trans. xls and it was OK. When I drove the 5 speed manual though....look out! Very peppy / zippy. I weigh a little over 200 lbs. and this thing will accelerate very nicely in 5th gear from about 40 mph. Zippy to the degree that you don't have to downshift. It seems that 152hp 4cyl is plenty for the Escape. Of course if you have something against shifting then you want the xlt auto 6cyl. Some have complained that the exhaust sounds a bit unrefined- hogwash. Engine compartment well layed out- very easy to get at the oil filter for you do it yoursefers. Very happy.

Why didn't i buy one

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

I have been driving a Chevy Silverado 4x4 wit 6 inch lift and 36 inch mud tires that averaged 9-11 mpg on the highway. after years of that I decided to buy an Escape XLS and have been 100% satisfied with it. The 4 cylinder with the five speed manual tranny actually as decent acceleration and its fuel mileage is amazing. Everything about the macine is easy to use and functions very well.

Stealth ford escape

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

I had driven the Mariner & Escape, & seriously considered the Escape. 3 versions of this platform are manufactured in Kansas City, the 3rd being the Mazda Tribute. Use Edmunds & compare these two vehicles before you buy. They are 95% identical but those few percentage points really could make a difference for you as it did for me. I'm a Ford fan, I really like this vehicle & I got a base unit, which had everything I wanted, out the door for $14,900. I'm very pleased!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cheap thrills

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

I picked up a base model Escape for $15,400 before tax and title and couldn't be more satisfied. I have a city/highway commute and average 29+mpg. Plenty of room in the back for hockey equipment and the split foldown seat allows for the sticks to lay flat without using up the whole second row of seating. For a 4 cylinder there is decent acceleration even with the A/C running. Why would anyone buy a car when they can get one of these?

A good, economical suv to

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

A good, economical SUV to drive and it serves most purposes. Although not a very powerful engine (4 cylinder) it easily makes up for it in fuel economy. Because of its size, it is nimble and can squeeze in spots better than your average SUV yet still is able to hold/transport almost the same amount as bigger SUVs without giving up a lot of space. The base XLS model is no frills but has options that you would not expect. A good value over all and I am quite satisfied.

Pleased as punch!

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Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

I have only had one problem with my 2006 Escape XLS. The rear window wiper quit working after an ice storm. I'm sure when I tried to use it, it was frozen and the motor burned out. But, thanks to Ford's warranty plan (5 years, 75,000 miles); I'm covered bumper to bumper! I love my new vehicle and I got an outstanding deal. $17,299! For any SUV that is brand new fresh off the truck, with 3 miles on it that's a great deal. Dealer also put a new set of tires on for free when a fault spot was detected on the right front tire! Also, while they were doing that, the GM let us take an '06 Fusion and bought our lunch!

Full 2006 Ford Escape Review

What's New for 2006

The Ford Escape continues into 2006 with only minor trim and color changes.


Ford introduced the Escape in 2001 to capture buyers in the rapidly growing small SUV segment. It quickly became a best-seller thanks to a desirable combination of size, power and ruggedly handsome styling. First-year Escapes suffered numerous recalls, but recent models seem to have the bugs worked out. Mazda also sells a version of this vehicle. Called the Tribute, it shares the Escape's basic structure, platform and powertrains. A more luxurious version is also available from Mercury, dubbed the Mariner.

Appealing to a wide range of buyers, the 2006 Ford Escape (and Tribute/Mariner) is intended for those who want the styling and all-wheel-drive capability of a traditional SUV combined with the size, price, practicality and driving characteristics of a midsize car. The Escape is more suited to on-road driving than off-roading, due to its light-duty AWD system and unibody construction, and isn't as rugged as some other compact SUVs like the Nissan Xterra and Jeep Liberty. Its main competitors include vehicles like the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Saturn Vue, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4.

For 2005, Ford made the Escape a more attainable proposition for budget-conscious buyers by slotting in a 153-hp, 2.3-liter four-cylinder as the base engine choice. The Escape also received a new electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system last year that Ford says provides smoother and more efficient operation. To allay concerns about side-impact safety in small SUVs, full-length side curtain airbags (Ford's Safety Canopy system) are optional. A bland interior has always been one of the Escape's shortcomings, but the 2005 model brightened things up a bit with a fresh set of white-faced gauges and a console-mounted gear selector. Although long-term reliability is not likely to be as good as that of its Japanese competitors, the 2006 Ford Escape is still one of the best compact SUVs available. Consumers shopping in this segment would be wise to take one for a test-drive.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2006 Ford Escape is available in one four-door body style with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Four trim levels are offered: XLS, XLT, XLT Sport and Limited. XLS versions start you out with basic amenities like air conditioning, a CD player and power windows, mirrors and locks. XLT models add 16-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control and an in-dash CD changer. The XLT Sport versions have two-tone exterior paint, black step bars and machined aluminum wheels. The high-line Limited comes with body-color exterior trim, leather upholstery, automatic headlamps and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard on the Escape XLS is a 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 153 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque. It is matched to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. There's also the more potent 3.0-liter V6, which makes 200 hp and 193 lb-ft of torque. It is standard on XLT, XLT Sport and Limited models, and comes with an automatic transmission only. With this setup, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.


ABS is standard on all Escapes, and V6 models have four-wheel disc brakes. The optional Safety Package includes front side-impact airbags and full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor. A reverse-sensing system is optional on the Limited. The 2006 Ford Escape has done well in government crash testing, earning a perfect five stars for the driver in frontal impacts and four stars for the front passenger. In side-impact crash tests, it received five stars for both front- and rear-seat occupants. Less impressive is the Escape's "Acceptable" rating (the second highest) in frontal offset crash test conducted by the IIHS. When equipped with side airbags, the Escape merits a "Good" rating (the highest) from the IIHS for side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Escape has never been known for its exciting interior, but most buyers will find the layout functional and user-friendly. The front seats can accommodate adults of all sizes, while the backseat is comfortable for kids and passable for adults. There is 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and you can fold them down to open up 65 cubic feet of capacity, a good figure for this class.

Driving Impressions

Fun to drive, the 2006 Ford Escape offers impressive road manners for a compact SUV. It drives much like a tautly suspended sedan, with little body roll and responsive steering. The V6 is quite powerful, providing swift acceleration, but fuel economy is mediocre. The four-cylinder is not as smooth or potent, but its decent acceleration and better mileage make it a good option for budget-minded buyers.

Talk About The 2006 Escape

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs