2002 Ford Escape Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong V6 engine, comfortable cabin, plenty of cargo space, car-like road manners.
  • Lacks the off-road capability of a truck-based SUV, barely adequate base engine, shoddy build quality, unimpressive interior materials.
List Price Estimate
$1,073 - $2,173

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A very capable small SUV thanks to its powerful V6 engine, spacious cabin, handsome looks and car-like handling. The 2002 Ford Escape is one of our favorites.

Vehicle overview

One of the benefits of coming late to the party is that when you do arrive, you can make a big splash. That's what Ford has done with the appealing Escape sport-utility.

Designed to battle the Honda CR-V, Jeep Liberty, Nissan Xterra, Toyota RAV4 and others of the small-SUV ilk, the five-passenger Escape's calling cards are a large, comfortable interior and a powerful available V6 engine. As an added bonus, it's also priced competitively. These factors position the Escape for tremendous success in a growing market. Developed in partnership with Mazda, which sells a version called the Tribute, Escape comes in XLS or XLT flavors with either two- or four-wheel drive.

Base models have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 127 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. Burdened with people and gear, a four-cylinder Escape is bound to be rather weedy. Fortunately, there is an available 3.0-liter V6. With 201 horsepower and 196 lb-ft of torque, it is one of the most powerful engines in its class, and accelerates the four-wheel drive Escape to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds. Equipped with the V6 and the standard four-speed automatic transmission, the Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Both the four-cylinder and V6 engines are LEV-compliant.

As opposed to Ford's larger SUVs, the 2WD Escape is front-wheel drive. The 4WD system can be set to either "4x4 automatic" or "4x4 lock" mode. In automatic mode, power is applied to the rear wheels only when a loss of traction occurs. In the locked mode, the Escape applies power to all four wheels at all times. The Escape does not have a low-range transfer case, however.

Ford hopes that with its sporting, rugged good looks, the Escape will appeal to young families and people with active lifestyles. Don't let the outside fool you, though. Underneath, the Escape is more car than truck. The unibody chassis is equipped with rack-and-pinion steering, a four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel ABS through a front disc/rear drum arrangement.

Inside, the Escape offers a big allotment of space for passengers and cargo. This is truly a five-passenger SUV. With the rear seats removed, the Escape offers 64.8 cubic feet of cargo. Cabin highlights include air conditioning, an available six-disc in-dash CD changer matched to an optional 300-watt sound system and optional side airbags.

Ford claims affordability and durability were top priorities during the engineering and design phase of the Escape. Mazda's input should have been of help here, but a rash of well-publicized first-year recalls sullies the image of this otherwise fine SUV. Regardless, Ford's Escape should be on your list when shopping for small sport-utes.

2002 Highlights

Additional standard equipment makes the 2002 Ford Escape an even better value. XLS models get a dual-media cassette/CD stereo, while XLT adds a V6 engine, privacy glass, power driver seat and an in-dash six-CD changer. New Sport packages also debut. The XLS Sport includes 15-inch alloy wheels with larger tires, side-step bars, Sport-embroidered floor mats and dark tinted privacy glass. The XLT Sport, new for 2002, provides, in addition to XLS Sport equipment, a special No Boundaries roof rack system and unique 16-inch alloy wheels with meatier rubber. Four new colors are also available.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Ford Escape.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

2002 limited 3.0 ford escape
XLT Premium 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I bought this car when it had 114k mi. Black on Black. I had it for a year. the car was absolutely awesome. It had great pickup,good break system and great handling. I never took the car to mechanic for any reason. The only reason that I sold it was ,because I was trying to upgrade it but now I regret it. I changed 2 cars after that but I'm still not happy with what I have. I recommend this car 100%. If you can get the limited, because than the car would have all the options you would need, and there isn't so much difference in the price. the only good upgrade from this car is nissan murano or BMW X3, don't waist you time with other SUVs
My Rugged 02, Ford escape xls
Vito Mulea,10/01/2018
XLS Choice 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I purchased my vehicle in 2012 at Good Sam Motors here in Ocala when I first purchased this vehicle I didn't know if I would get good longevity out of it however it fooled me! This vehicle has over 250,000 miles on it occasionally I still have a few things I have to do to it nothing major the hand ability of this vehicle is very good right now I need a valve cover gasket on the engine and also my front end makes a clunking sound at certain intervals or bumps Drive drivetrain wise seems to be very strong I am very surprised with Ford engines especially this 3.0 very rugged and holds up pretty good I'm a firm believer in frequent oil changes and add a Lucas or STP oil treatment withevery oil change it handles great in bad weather for a 2002 I really have no complaints with 250,000 miles on it... thank you Vito m.
Wonderful little SUV
Michael Gazin,02/10/2016
XLT Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
Know that its not supposed to be a luxury vehicle or a sports car. Its a sturdy solidly built vehicle that is very reliable. My particular model is equipped with a v6. Its not going to get the best fuel economy in the world. Drive conservatively and you can easily go a while without getting gas. It makes a good first car for a teenager. If you take care of it, it will take care of you. Since I've owned it, I've put almost 10k miles on it. It's had oil changes routinely. It had one coil pack go bad so I went ahead and replaced all 6 coils and spark plugs which wasn't cheap, but I feel its saved me in the long run. It handles pretty good on the road. It's no sports car but its not going to slip out all the time either. The 4x4 is decent. It doesn't have low range which is somewhat of a bummer but it makes sense seeing as most people will be driving this on the highway. But its nice to know that if you live in a snowy place or out in the woods you have 4x4 available. It's very spacious inside. Plenty of room even for 5 people. Overall I'd say this is one badass SUV. As long as you take care of it, its going to take care of you too.
What a blast to drive!!!
Kirk Bailey,04/06/2002
XLT Choice 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I have owned a lot of so called "mini" Suv's but none as fun or powerful (with the V6) as I have with the Escape. My son and I go into the back country quite often to camp and fish, so I wanted something that didn't eat up gas and that would get us where we needed to go. The ride is car like so it doesn't beat you up getting to your favorite place yet has enough ground clearance for most off road adventures. I have had no problems with the mini brute but kinda wish it had been built on a frame. Overall, we love it and alot of people ask about it all the time.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2002 Ford Escape

Used 2002 Ford Escape Overview

The Used 2002 Ford Escape is offered in the following submodels: Escape SUV. Available styles include XLT Choice 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLT Midnight 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLT Midnight 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLT Choice 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLT Choice 2 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLT Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLS Value 4WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M), XLS Choice 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLS Value 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M), XLS Choice 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLT Premium 2WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLT Premium 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A), XLS Sport 4WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M), and XLS Sport 2WD 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Ford Escape?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2002 Ford Escapes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Ford Escape for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Ford Escape.

Can't find a used 2002 Ford Escapes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Escape for sale - 5 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $19,771.

Find a used Ford for sale - 1 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $8,727.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Escape for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $18,068.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $19,077.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 Ford Escape?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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