By Ford's accounting, over 1 million Escapes (and recent Escape Hybrids) have been sold since the vehicle's introduction in November 2000. That's a big number no matter how you slice it, and it seems to indicate people like the Ford Escape just the way it is despite no substantive changes for the past six years. But sales are dipping slightly and it's time for a refresh of the Escape's look and packaging.
With the redesigned 2008 Ford Escape, Ford has married its corporate truck face with the Escape's palatable price and practicality. Some industry people call this type of revision a "top-half" update, or, in other words, just about everything above the floor-to-body pinch weld is new or redesigned. The engines, drivelines (excluding the hybrid) and wheelbase are carry-overs from the 2007 models which are being highly incentive-ized to make room for the '08 Escapes that will be on dealer lots by April.
Something old There are two engines available: Either a 2.3-liter 153-horsepower four-cylinder or, as in our Limited all-wheel-drive model, a 3.0-liter 200-hp V6 with 193 pound-feet of torque. Either engine runs on 87-octane fuel and may be paired with front- or all-wheel drive. A five-speed manual is a four-cylinder exclusive, otherwise, an old-school four-speed automatic manages gearchanges predictably. We did come across a few occasions where we'd wished for an extra ratio or two to better suit the driving situations we encountered.
Our instrumented testing also revealed a few soft spots in the acceleration curve when the engine fell out of its peak-rpm performance where a five- or six-speed would've kept it on the boil. And what's with the steep throttle tip-in we keep experiencing in many new vehicles? As with those, it's difficult to move gently away from a stop in the Escape without an initial jerk of acceleration despite a soft touch of the gas pedal.
Something slow and thirsty A leisurely 10-second run to 60 mph and 17-second quarter-mile confirmed the 2008 Escape's hand-me-down mechanicals are starting to show their age and lack of sophistication. Some newer small sport-utility vehicles easily make the same dash to 60 in the 7- and 8-second range. Even the 2007 Honda CR-V with its four-cylinder engine is quicker.
We were also unimpressed by the Escape's fuel economy. We averaged 16.2 mpg over 500 miles with a 19.4 mpg best tank-full.
In a case of reverse evolution, Ford has decided to reequip 2008 V6-powered Escapes with rear drum brakes instead of the discs used on 2007 models. We can't imagine how this represents an improvement. Ford says less brake dust and longer lining life are the result, but our testing certainly didn't show rear drums to be an especially effective means of stopping the 3,617-pound vehicle.
Our best stop from 60 mph produced a horribly long 154-foot stopping distance. The worst run was an unbelievably long 161 feet. Compare that to a 3,690-pound 2006 Toyota RAV4 with four-wheel discs and its resulting 130-foot stop and you see why we're questioning Ford's decision. Prioritize as you see fit.
Something new With brakes like that we applaud Ford for stepping up and making two-row curtain airbags and first-row side airbags standard on all its 2008 Escapes. On non-hybrid models, Ford has also made its AdvanceTrac (traction control) with Roll Stability Control (RSC) system standard.
We found RSC to be so effective at quelling potentially hazardous (and fun) yaw and roll rates that it limited our instrumented slalom speeds to a highly controlled 56.7 mph. On the 200-foot skid pad, the system was just as restrictive, limiting the truck's performance to just 0.64g, hardly enough side load to make the tires squeal. In most everyday driving, though, we didn't find the system overly intrusive or even detectable.
The ride, however, is coarse and choppy. Not only does the new Escape look like a truck, it rides like one, too. It remains reasonably flat around corners, damps out the big bumps, but remains "busy" feeling nearly all the time. Maybe Ford would've done well to incorporate the "rides like a car" part of the new breed of crossovers.
All 2008 Escapes feature new electric-assist power steering (EPS), which is easy to get wrong. Happily, Ford did an excellent job with this aspect of the 2008 Escape's engineering. The steering doesn't feel patently artificial or completely numb like some others we've criticized. We like how it parks and drives with just the right amount of effort, buildup and precision each situation requires.
Something borrowed The 2008 Escape's son-of-Explorer exterior styling works well, too. While it's not going to make any headlines in international design journals, we expect Escape buyers to be pleased with the raised hood, higher beltline and the optional chrome package which together properly butch up the Escape's appearance.
We especially like our example's optional 17-inch aluminum wheels that fill up the pronounced wheel arches better than the standard 16-inch wheels. Despite its being a preproduction vehicle, we were very impressed with our Escape's overall fit and finish with its tight tolerances and mirror-smooth black paint. Doors sound solid and close with authority and we didn't hear a single squeak or rattle over the 10-day loan.
Something blue Surely a step up from where it once was, the Escape's new interior is still a step behind other comparable small utilities. The look is certainly more contemporary than before with an attractive piano-black painted finish on many of the surfaces; too bad it shows the slightest amount of dust, every fingerprint and smudge. Just don't touch it and you'll be fine.
Options include a touchscreen navigation system, Sirius Satellite Radio, a standard auxiliary audio input jack, and a center armrest large enough to swallow a laptop. Instrument panel night lighting is a cool blue Ford will use on other products. The carmaker has even given it its own name, "Ice Blue," and incorporated it into the Lincoln MKR concept car that will debut at the Detroit auto show next week.
Ford is also touting its new cloth seats which are made of recycled rather than new materials. Our Escape had optional heated leather seating, and front-seat comfort is very good with ample side bolsters and adjustability. The rear seats are flat in comparison, however, and lack any adjustments. Also, the task of folding those rears down is at least a three- or four-step process that cannot be done from the cargo area as in the Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX-7, for instance.
And a silver sixpence in her shoe Depending on which models/packages are compared, the 2008 Escape will actually net a very slight price decrease compared to the 2007 models. Our Escape Limited AWD model which carried an as-tested price of $30,610, is base priced at $25,995 -- $385 less than a comparable '07. The ringer here, however, is that Ford is putting a bundle of cash on the hoods of the 2007 Escapes (up to $3,000 according to our TMV® research), so that "lower" MSRP is merely theoretical and is still right in the middle of the segment.
When all is said and done, Ford has put a new wrapper on an old vehicle, a well-selling old vehicle. We don't fault the automaker for the attempt, but we just can't help but wonder if potential buyers are growing more sophisticated along with the small utilities and crossovers the public appears to be favoring recently.
If you've liked the Escape in the past, you'll probably love the new look and added features. If, on the other hand, you'd prefer more must-have new features packed in a quicker, more efficient and, in some cases, less expensive package, you owe it to yourself to look around.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2008 Ford Escape Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2008 Ford Escape and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2008 Escape featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2008 Ford Escape and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2008 Escape 4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2008 Escape.
Review 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.
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Available Ford Escape 2008 Submodel Types: SUV, Hybrid
Available Trims: SE, Titanium, S, XLT, SEL, Limited, XLS, HEV, XLS Choice, XLS Popular, XLT Sport
Exterior Colors: Ingot Silver Metallic, Magnetic Metallic, Shadow Black, Ruby Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, White Platinum Tri-Coat Metallic, Tuxedo Black Metallic, Oxford White, White Gold Metallic, Lightning Blue Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Blue Metallic, Deep Impact Blue Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat, Sunset Metallic, Canyon Ridge Metallic, Black Clearcoat, Cinnamon Glaze, Sterling Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Sangria Red Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Redfire Clearcoat Metallic, Tungsten Grey Clearcoat Metallic, White Suede Clearcoat, Black, Blue Flame Metallic, Gold Leaf Metallic, Dark Shadow Grey Clearcoat Metallic, Frosted Glass Metallic, Sport Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Ginger Ale Metallic, Titanium Green Clearcoat Metallic, Toreador Red Metallic, Light Sage Clearcoat Metallic, Kodiak Brown Metallic, Norsea Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Oxford White Clearcoat (Fleet), Vista Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Electric Spice Metallic, Karat Gold, Kiwi Clearcoat Metallic, Brilliant Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Black Pearl Slate Clearcoat Metallic, Red Fire Clearcoat Metallic, True Blue Clearcoat Metallic, Blazing Copper Clearcoat Metallic, Aspen Green Clearcoat Metallic, Bright Red Clearcoat Metallic, Dark Stone Clearcoat Metallic, Gold Ash Clearcoat Metallic, Lime Squeeze Metallic
Interior Colors: Charcoal Black cloth, Charcoal Black leather, Charcoal Black leather/cloth, Medium Light Stone leather/cloth, Medium Light Stone cloth, Medium Light Stone leather, Charcoal Black premium leather, Stone premium cloth, Stone leather, Camel leather, Medium Light Stone premium leather, Camel premium cloth, Charcoal Black premium cloth, Stone cloth, Ebony Black, Medium/Dark Pebble, Medium/Dark Flint premium cloth, Medium/Dark Flint, Medium/Dark Pebble premium cloth, Camel premium leather, Ebony Black leather, Ebony Black premium leather, Medium Parchment, Medium/Dark Flint cloth, Medium/Dark Pebble cloth
Popular Features: Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Tire Pressure Warning, Stability Control, Trip Computer, Aux Audio Inputs, Post-collision safety system, Bluetooth, 3500lb Towing Capacity, USB Inputs, Power Driver Seat, Back-up camera, AWD/4WD, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Alarm, Heated seats, Mobile Internet, Leather Seats, Parking sensors, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Remote Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Navigation, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Engine, Upgraded Headlights, Sunroof/Moonroof, Blind Spot Monitoring, Towing Hitch, Upgraded Stereo, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system