2008 Ford Escape SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 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 18/24 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.

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Great small family suv

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

It still had the truck styling. Too bad the new ones look like space ships. We bought it as a small, safe, family car. It completely served the purpose. It had plenty of cargo space. The seats were cloth and a rough material. Water would leave rings in the material too. However, it was reliable.

Great little suv - but

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I've only owned my Escape for 11 months, and I love almost everything about it. It has plenty or room, all seats are comfortable and it's fun to drive and easy to park. I have not had a single issue with it, except I think it might need a battery soon, but that's to be expected with any car that has 72,000 miles and temps around zero here in the Midwest. My only complaint is I didn't get the 4wd. Even with new tires, the front wheels spin at every start when it's raining or snowing. I'm getting used to the traction control light blinking at me (indicating the wheels have lost traction), but still very annoying. Maybe I have a lead foot for the amount of torque in the V6.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Transmission fluid leak from condenser

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

My 2008 had been diagnosed with a transmission fluid leak from the condenser on May 2 2013. I am 8 months out of my warranty and 10,000 miles under my warranty. This is a $300-$800 repair. The only way to get reimbursed for this issue is after a recall has been published. Only way to get a recall is for about 150,000 complaints to be filed. They must be filed through Ford (1-888-392-3673) and through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (888-327-4236). It take 5-10 minutes for each of those calls and we are steps closer to a recall being issued.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

56k miles on escape xlt

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Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Between last oil change/inspection @dealership (everything looked good), and the one this week, car developed an oil leak. No oil on driveway to tip me off. Leakage seen when car on lift-oil was being sprayed on underside. Since source of leak not readily obvious, had dye test done. When car seen yesterday, quite a bit of oil had leaked out. Test points to blown head gasket. Aside from leak, had absolutely no indication there was a problem: no heavy exhaust, no idiot lights on. The bright side is that it was caught before I broke down, killed the engine, etc. I'm posting this mainly to vent. One thing is for absolute sure: I will never, ever buy another Ford.

Better than her mercedes v8

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

My wife had a 2000 Mercedes SUV...430 something or other. Nothing but problems. Accelerator module,seat problems, sunroof stuck open on vacation, check engine light etc, etc... One day I said "this is it...we're going to the Ford dealer and trading this piece of junk" We walked into the showroom and I told her to pick any model she wanted...she wanted the Escape for it's size and maneuverability in traffic. Now, please understand that my wife was no Ford fan...she had a 58' which was junk and swore she'd never own another. She is now in love with her Escape. It's reliable, fun to drive and has incredible acceleration with the V6. When we get a new car, I'm taking hers.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Failed transmission

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Ford Escape XLT 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I used to love my Ford Escape. It was a great value and the perfect size for my family of 3 1/2. BUT after my transmission failed at 62,000 miles (just 2,000 miles out of warranty) I will never again purchase another Ford. I was originally looking at Honda and Toyota and wish I had spent the extra money on one of those brands. Not happy with my experience.


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.


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.


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

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