2009 Ford Escape SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Ford Escape SUV

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Ford Escape Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 240 hp @ 6550 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Ford Escape

  • With upgrades to its engine and suspension, the 2009 Ford Escape would get our full endorsement were it not for mediocre braking performance.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Comfortable interior, peppy performance, Sync voice-control system, impressive safety scores.

  • Cons

    Lackluster braking compared to rivals, folding down second seat needlessly complex.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Ford Escape receives under-the-skin changes that complement last year's cosmetic makeover. There's more power underhood and a tweaked suspension for improved handling and ride dynamics. Ford has also added its Sync MP3 player and cell phone interface.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (10 total reviews)

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

2009 escape limited a problem

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Escape Limited 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

Since taking ownership of this vehicle and 50,000 miles later this Ford Escape has over 12,000 dollars of repairs and that includes labor. Three and a half transmission and a rebuild motor within the first 40,000 miles. Overall I like the vheicle but I've lost confidence in Ford motor company. I bought this vehicle to support the american auto industry and Ford because they refused Obama hand out. I continues to have problem on a mouthly basis. Who wants a lemon?

Excelent suv!

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Escape Limited 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

Just got this car a couple days ago and I am LOVING IT! wouldnt trade it for anything! except maybe one with 4WD..lol. ALL IN ALL GREAT!

Satisfied so far

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Escape Limited 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

I wanted a SUV for utility but didn't want to sacrifice much on MPG. I get about 24/27mpg (city/hwy) and probably average about 25 overall. The Escape is fun to drive and pretty comfortable. I'm glad I went with the 6 cylinder. It has pretty good pickup but struggles initially. Handling is pretty nimble for an SUV. Get the Sync system! I love controlling my iPod and phone by voice. Overall a great SUV that I've enjoyed so far and haven't had any problems with. (about 7500 miles driven so far)

Very happy with decision to

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Escape Limited 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

This is my first suv and the only difference i noticed from driving the car was I sat taller and the passing power in the truck felt a little slower. Other than that I love this vehicle. The handle and braking is great, the ride and turns are smooth, the gas tank and mileage are the same and my previous car, and the look is so versatile that I feel so feminine just being next to it, yet when I see a man in it, the look it totally masculine. The only thing I wish my car had is the new "Ford" front grill.

Wife's new best friend

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Escape Limited 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

After 6 months of research and numerous test drives, it was love at first drive. Handles extremely well with great visibility and surprising power from the 240hp 3 liter. The 6 speed transmission took a little getting used to with near seamless shifting. We've experienced around 20mpg in town and 27mpg on the highway. Nicely laid out with leather interior and chrome accents, ambient floor lighting and the Sync system which in my opinion, is a must for anyone who owns a cell phone. I have not doubt that "the boss" will be enjoying her SUV for a very long time!

I love it!!

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Vehicle: 2009 Ford Escape Limited 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

I have had my Escape (we named her Carly) for about 6 mo. and I am very happy. I love to drive it. I have the Sun n' Sync package and I love having a sun roof, sirrus radio/cd/am/fm/aux jack. I also like the USB port. I avg. 26 mpg mixed city/hwy driving which is pretty good for a V6 SUV. I like the sporty look and feel as well. Very comfortable to drive, all ready took it on a 1200 mi roundtrip vacation with my husband and 2 kids. Very roomy and comfy. I added heated seats and remote start for cold WI winters. The seats fold down and is great for 2 black labs - wish the back windows opened for venting. The dogs would like that too! All around I am very happy!! Love my Escape!

Full 2009 Ford Escape Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Ford Escape receives under-the-skin changes that complement last year's cosmetic makeover. There's more power underhood and a tweaked suspension for improved handling and ride dynamics. Ford has also added its Sync MP3 player and cell phone interface.


It may be hard to believe, but the Ford Escape compact SUV debuted almost a decade ago. Right out of the gate, this loveable little ute was a front-runner. With its just-right size, peppy available V6, well-balanced chassis and tough looks, it stood out in a class of chiefly dull four-cylinder entrants. It's been a strong seller for Ford, often to the point of being the best-selling compact SUV in America.

Since those earlier glory days, however, the Escape's fortunes haven't been as kind. The competition got bigger and stronger while the Escape soldiered on without a major redesign. But Ford has recently been putting in an effort to keep its Escape relevant. Last year, the Escape received a complete cosmetic makeover, lending the ute a tougher look more in keeping with Ford's bigger trucks. But the chassis remained virtually unchanged, apart from the poor decision to change the rear brakes from a disc setup to drum brakes, which hurt the Escape's maximum braking performance.

For 2009, the Ford Escape gets the brawn to match its handsome new duds, including more powerful engines, a new six-speed automatic transmission and a more athletic suspension tuning. This year also brings a capless fuel filler and Ford's Sync system (which allows voice activation of audio, navigation and phone functions). Cruise control and antilock brakes, formerly optional on the lower trims, become standard across the line.

The inline-4 sees an increase in size -- up to 2.5 liters versus the previous 2.3 -- which contributes to its greater output, now rated at 170 horsepower. Tweaks to the 3.0-liter V6 bump it up to a stout 240 hp. The new six-speed automatic further optimizes the Escape's performance as well as its fuel economy -- which, according to Ford, goes up 1-2 mpg.

The new engines and transmission handily address previous complaints of merely adequate acceleration and mediocre fuel economy. However, last year's backward step of fitting the Escape with rear drum brakes still stands, and braking performance is subpar. Our testing of an '08 Escape resulted in a best stop from 60 mph taking a very lengthy 154 feet. That distance is about 25 feet longer than the class average and a decidedly poor showing for an ABS-equipped vehicle.

The poor panic braking performance prevents us from giving the 2009 Ford Escape our full endorsement. But it still has a lot going for it in terms of performance, comfort and style. Along with models such as the Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Saturn Vue and Toyota RAV4, you'll want to give the Escape a look.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Ford Escape is a compact crossover SUV that comes in three trim levels: XLS, XLT and Limited. The XLS comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The XLT adds privacy glass, automatic headlights, foglights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keypad entry, a power driver seat and upgraded cloth upholstery. The top-of-the-line Escape Limited has those features plus color-keyed grille and side mirrors, leather seating, ambient cabin lighting and the Sync system.

Options include a sunroof, an upgraded 320-watt audio system with a subwoofer, a navigation system and, for the XLT, a Sun and Sync package that bundles the moonroof with Sync. 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-wheel or all-wheel drive. A 171-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers all but the Limited, which comes with a 240-hp 3.0-liter V6. The V6 is optional on the XLT. The 2.5 can be fitted with either a five-speed manual transmission (XLS only) or a six-speed automatic. The V6 comes only with the automatic transmission. Properly equipped, the V6 Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Fuel economy with the four-cylinder, six-speed auto and front-wheel drive is 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. All-wheel drive drops that to 19/25/21. The front-wheel-drive six-cylinder Escape returns an estimated 18/26/21, while all-wheel drive gets 17/24/20.


Antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are all standard on the 2009 Ford Escape. A reverse-sensing parking system is optional on the Limited.

In government frontal-impact crash tests, the Escape earned a perfect five stars in front and side crash tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Escape scored the highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Overall, we're impressed with the Escape's cabin. The front seats are well-bolstered and comfortable, and material quality, fit and finish are good for this segment. There's plenty of storage space, including a center console box big enough to swallow a laptop; it also features reconfigurable bins. If you're a heavy user of portable MP3 players or cell phones, the Ford Sync system is a must-have feature. It allows voice control for your phone, the navigation system and the audio system, and in our experience, it works very well.

The Escape's rear seat, although roomy enough for adults, is flat and devoid of recline or fore/aft adjustments. Folding the rear seat down is tricky, 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

An electric power steering system in the 2009 Ford Escape delivers surprisingly good road feel and response. Although panic brake tests resulted in disappointingly long stopping distances, the pedal furnishes a firm feel with a progressive action in normal, everyday driving. The Escape's handling is commendable, with the SUV remaining flat through corners and composed in quick transitions. This year's tweaks to the suspension result in a smoother ride over small but sharper impacts, something last year's model had trouble with.

Talk About The 2009 Escape

Read more about the 2009 Ford Escape

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs