2006 Ford Escape SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Ford Escape SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Ford Escape Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

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.

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Worst vehicle i have ever

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I bought a used Escape with just under 70000 KM on it. In two and a half years the vehicle required 5 brake calipers, one O2 sensor, a front flex pipe, 2 emergency brake cables, 2 wheel hubs, 6 rotors, 12 brake pads, 3 oil seals, 2 U-joints, 3 lower control arms, 2 sway bar links, 1 serpentine belt, 1 battery, 2 half-shafts and 2 sway bar bushings. When it worked it was great, but 95% of the time there was something wrong with it. It cost me about as much in repairs and parts as it did to buy it in the first place. I took a huge loss to get rid of it but it was worth it. It has been replaced by a 2009 Santa Fe which is a far, far superior vehicle.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Please read this before continuing.

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

This car is amazing. I've driven a few SUVs, but this one takes the cake. I love it. It has been a very reliable car for me and my family for the last 5 years, and it's still going. Gas is OK for an SUV, but it's an SUV...I wouldnt expect amazing mileage. I've had no problems with it, no repairs needed other than a turn signal bulb. It has 123K miles on it. Spark plugs are due but that's it. It is very solid, very nicely designed, no complaints at all. As far as the negative reviews go, there can be a lot of situations leading to the problems (Previous rental, poor care, etc.) I have had none of these problems, inspect your car before you buy. Thank you Ford!

1 of 6 people found this review helpful

1 year update

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Well I have had my Escape for nearly a year now, and all I can say is I have made a terrible mistake purchasing this Ford. This car has broken down 6, yes 6 times in 12 months, and has cost me $1,800 in repairs. I have put only 13,000 miles on it since I have owned it, and have had problem after problem with it. I bought this Escape because 1: It was a certified pre-owned Ford, and two it was used as a rental at a FORD dealership. So I knew that it was seriviced on time every time in the first few years of it's lifetime. Well I will NEVER EVER buy another Ford for as long as I live. Stay away from these cars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

8 yrs, 140k mi, no

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

The Escape was not exactly what I thought I wanted in 2006 but it's what I could afford, and as it turned out it was and still exactly what I needed. 8 years and 142,000 miles later the only repair I have had to make outside of regular maintanance was replace a sticky brake caliper, most likely a manufacturing defect. Furthermore, I bought a front wheel drive as we lived in VA, not knowing we would be moving to the heart of the Rockies in CO. With good tires and smart driving, this car has handled incredibly adverse snow conditions. My only complaint is that the seat is sooo uncomfortable. I am not big, 5'6", 130 lbs, but just NO leg support in this short seat.

Don't do it!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

We bought the 2006 Ford Escape and its junk. It only has 140,000 kms and already needs a new transmission. We've taken this to 4 transmission shops and they all tell us that they replace Ford Escape transmissions the most out of ANY other vehicle. One guy said the Escape transmission replacements are his bread and butter. They might seem like great value, but get ready to open your pocket book. Ford continues to ignore the ongoing issues with the Escape and just keeps turning out the same crap. Tons of things go wrong with this vehicle and not just this particular year. Search Escape mechanical issues and you will see a petition against Ford. We will never buy another Ford product.

An ok buy..

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

The only reason I bought the Escape is because the Escape is one of the best selling mid-sized SUV's on the market. There are many differnt models to choose from, including an AWD hybrid model which is amazing if you ask me. If I am correct, Ford holds the title of introducing the first AWD hybrid model, and they have done a good job of upholding that title. The Escape is perfect for throwing all kinds of stuff into it from 5 average adults, to ski and snowboards on the roof racks, and a few kids inside. The only bad thing I can say about this SUV is the build quality. The parts are cheaply made and break quickly over time. Ford needs to fix this, or the Escape will die off as we know it.

Talk About The 2006 Escape

2006 Ford Escape Discussions See all Started By

Hi guys, I'm looking to buy a used 2006 ford hybrid escape, FHE. It has 109k miles on it, 4wd, and the VIN is FMYU96H66KC27906. I am only interested if the battery and expensive hybrid components are ...

I plan to order a 2009 escape soon. I currently drive a 2006 xlt awd escape. I've read that the new 2.5 4 cyl is much improved, close to the current v6 in performance. Any thoughts on this?...

We have a 2006 Ford Escape that did not come with fog lights. The vehicle appears to have all of the wiring necessary to just plug into the factory components, ie. Switch, relay and lights. After in...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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