There's not much urgency here at 3.5 seconds to 30 mph and over 10 seconds to 60 mph. While there's no actual redline painted on the tachometer, full-throttle upshifts occur at 6250 rpm. Shifts are reasonably smooth and rapid.
Yikes. These brakes are by no means confidence-inspiring in panic stops. The move back to rear drum brakes (from discs in 2007) seems like a cost-reduction move rather than a performance enhancement. Otherwise, the pedal feels firm and trustworthy in normal use.
In the skid pad and slalom tests, Ford's omnipresent RSC (Roll Stability Control) system doesn't allow anything close to what either the tires or chassis are capable of producing in terms of limit handling. Rather, the prime directive is to keep the vehicle going where it's pointed. If that's a measure of handling prowess, then the Escape is unflappable.