2008 Ford Escape SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 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 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 153 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Ford Escape

  • A new body and interior may keep the 2008 Ford Escape fresh for a little while longer, but its driving dynamics are stale compared to newer rivals in the small SUV class.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Comfortable interior, impressive list of standard safety features.

  • Cons

    Lackluster performance, braking and fuel efficiency compared to rivals, folding down second seat a multistep process.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Ford Escape gets a makeover inside and out. This means new sheet metal that mimics the look of newer and recently redesigned Ford models (such as the Edge and Expedition) and a more attractive and functional cabin. Under the skin, however, the chassis and powertrain are virtually unchanged, meaning this "redesigned" Escape has the same running gear as before.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (14 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


08 escape 4 cyl auto

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

We bought our escape with 46k on it and have put 40k on it since. It is a great vehicle for a small family. We are about to have a second child so we are thinking about upsizing a little. These old style boxy SUVs have more room than the newer crossovers I think. Only problem we had was when there was a carbon build up on the throttle body that was making it hard to press the gas. That was easily fixed with some carb cleaner.




Disgusted with 2008 escape

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

Bought my 2008 Escape in June 2007, really loved the vehicle with no complaints until this year. At 84,000 miles the headliner is falling down in front and on side in cargo area, the bearings went out, the tire pressure sensor kept coming on for 2 months, the seats stain easily after turning over a vase of roses in just water and the stain wont come out. I have owned 8 new Fords with no complaints but I have become completely disgusted with this 2008 Escape and I wouldnt recommend it to anyone...it has made me consider buying a foreign vehicle for the first time in my life as my co-workers love their Hyundai Suvs




Value, man. value.

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

I've been very pleased with my Escape. My wife and I put 1,500 miles on an Escape that we rented in Alaska in the middle of the winter. When we got home, we bought one. It's been great.




Good vehicle w/ some issues

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

Purchased my Escape new and loved it, I have had small problems with it. The tires are cupping on the inside. We rotate them when we take it in for service and Ford always tells us that we need new tires but never tells us what the cause is. Another company told us it was the suspension. I also know that the shocks or struts are having issues. When you go across a dip it has a bottom out feel. The vehicle has several rattles and the seats spot w/o any reason. The black moulding around the outside windows raises up when you raise the window up and down and it won't stay down once up.




Recall bad tranny coolers in

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

A local auto repair shop just told me my 2008 Escape's transmission cooler is leaking and has been for a long time. Since purchased, I've taken it to the Ford dealership where I bought it for servicing and they never mentioned this problem. This same dealership said the extended warranty expired 600 miles ago and they can't cover the repair. The dealership is asking almost $600 to repair it. I see other '08 Escape tranny cooler problems on this site. Ford needs to fix this problem. Though a loyal Ford customer for years, I will no longer be buying a Ford if the company can't replace a repeatedly defective part.




My little lemon

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLS 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

July of 2007 I purchased my 2nd Escape. I traded a 2005 model for the 2008 due to transmission problems. Upon purchase of the 2008 I've had a constant spark knocking that even occurs with an 89 and 93 octane along with more tranny problems to boot. With the purchase of my 2008 Escape came a 60,000 mile drivetrain warranty which covers the transmission and motor. After 40,000 miles I just had to shell out $850 from my pocket because the transmission cooler started leaking which Ford conveniently would not cover under the warranty saying it was not part of the drivetrain. My advice to anyone thinging about buying the Ford Escape, save your money. I will NEVER own another Ford.



Full 2008 Ford Escape Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Ford Escape gets a makeover inside and out. This means new sheet metal that mimics the look of newer and recently redesigned Ford models (such as the Edge and Expedition) and a more attractive and functional cabin. Under the skin, however, the chassis and powertrain are virtually unchanged, meaning this "redesigned" Escape has the same running gear as before.

Introduction

Ever since its introduction seven years ago, the Ford Escape has been a winner for the company and has often ranked as the best-selling compact SUV in America. For 2008, the Escape has received a "top-half" revamping, meaning the exterior and interior got a complete makeover, while the mechanical components remain mostly unchanged.

When it debuted, the Escape was one of those "we got it right the first time" vehicles. Ford's small car-based SUV was roomy for four, fun to drive (thanks to chassis co-development with Mazda) and peppy (thanks to its sprightly V6). In light of this success and its challenged financial situation, Ford evidently hoped that giving the Escape a tougher look and a nicer cabin for 2008 would be enough to keep the entry-level SUV competitive.

With its bolder grill, taller beltline, higher hood and Edge-inspired headlights, the Escape is a handsome little rig. More functional changes were made to the Escape's cabin, including the first use of recycled materials for a vehicle's upholstery, a multifunction display at the top center of the dash and cool blue instrument lighting. To promote a quieter cabin, the Escape features an acoustic laminate within the windshield and new carpeting that's much thicker than before.

Unfortunately, we've found that attractive as the 2008 Ford Escape seems initially, it falls down in a few key areas when compared to more modern rivals. The Escape's available 200-horsepower V6, although generally energetic, has its efforts blunted by an aged four-speed automatic transmission. The end result is a double-whammy of merely adequate acceleration (zero to 60 mph in 10 seconds) and mediocre fuel economy. Almost all its competitors now have five- or even six-speed units that do a better job of keeping their engines on their toes while returning higher fuel mileage. The quicker sport-utes in this class dash to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds.

A more serious disappointment concerns the Escape's braking. For some reason, Ford fitted the 2008 Escape with rear drum brakes (it formerly had discs all around) and braking performance suffers. Our testing resulted in a best stop from 60 mph taking 154 feet, a decidedly poor showing for an ABS-equipped vehicle.

Shoppers in the small SUV segment should know that although the Escape has been a favorite of ours for many years, this year's mostly cosmetic changes aren't enough to keep it in this fast-moving game. In short, Ford's compact SUV has been eclipsed by recently revamped and more competent rivals. Though they cost a little more, you'll probably want to take a look at top vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4 before settling on the 2008 Ford Escape.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Ford Escape is a compact four-door SUV that comes in three trim levels: XLS, XLT and Limited. The XLS comes with air-conditioning, keyless entry, full power accessories, a CD player and an auxiliary input jack. The XLT adds 16-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, automatic headlights, foglights, a power driver seat, upgraded cloth upholstery and cruise control. The top-of-the-line Escape Limited includes color-keyed grille and side mirrors, leather seating and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Options include a moonroof, an upgraded 320-watt audio system with a subwoofer and a DVD-based navigation system. For the Limited only, you can get a chrome accent package as well as a luxury package, which includes heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and reverse parking sensors.

Powertrains and Performance

All trim levels of the Ford Escape can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. A 2.3-liter inline-4 (153 hp, 152 pound-feet of torque) powers all trims except the Limited, which comes with a 3.0-liter V6 (200 hp and 193 lb-ft). The V6 is optional on the XLT. The 2.3 can be fitted with either a five-speed manual transmission (XLS only) or a four-speed automatic. The V6 comes only with the automatic transmission. Properly equipped, the V6 Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

A V6 Escape isn't exactly slow, but its 10-second 0-60-mph time puts it at the back of the pack, bested by many rivals, a few of which are powered only by four-cylinders. In addition, throttle tip-in can be abrupt, requiring a concerted effort to enact a smooth takeoff. Fuel economy is respectable with the four-cylinder engine (24/29 mpg on manual-equipped models) but below average with the V6.

Safety

Antilock brakes, a tire-pressure monitor, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are all standard on the 2008 Ford Escape. A reverse-sensing parking system is optional on the Limited. Safety scores have not been published as of this writing but we expect them to be similar to those of the '07 model.

Interior Design and Special Features

Impressive fit and finish is evident in the Ford Escape's cabin. A center console box big enough to swallow a laptop also features removable bins that can be attached to the front passenger side and rear of the console. Piano black accents lend an upscale ambience. The front seats are well bolstered and comfortable, but the rear seat, although roomy enough for adults, is flat and devoid of recline or fore/aft adjustments. Folding that seat down is a bit of a chore, too, as the headrests must be removed and the bottom cushions tipped forward before the seatbacks can be flipped down. Cargo space stands at 29 cubic feet behind the second row and 66 cubes with the second row folded down.

Driving Impressions

A new electric power steering system in the '08 Escape delivers surprisingly good road feel and response. Handling is respectable, with the SUV remaining flat through corners and composed in quick transitions. Sadly, the ride quality is more trucklike than carlike. Although the 2008 Ford Escape's suspension absorbs larger bumps without drama, smaller road imperfections can make the small SUV feel busy.

Talk About The 2008 Escape

Read more about the 2008 Ford Escape

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs