The redesigned 2005 Ford Escape is a sound mix of fun, agility and durability. The small SUV's style, roominess, fuel-economy and affordability continue to make it the segment leader. It is geared to active, "young at heart" drivers and first-time SUV buyers who desire SUV qualities in a more compact package.
For 2005, Escape is designed for even greater appeal with two improved engine options - a new Duratec 23 four-cylinder and an improved Duratec 30 V-6 - and a newly available automatic transmission on four-cylinder models.
Escape is built in Kansas City, Mo., and Avon Lake, Ohio.
The 2005 Escape has had a face-lift. Its fresh, aggressive look features new headlamps, fog lamps, front and rear fascias, 15-inch and 16-inch aluminum wheels and honeycomb grille. The lower bumpers in the front and rear have stylized ribs.
Customers may choose from 10 common equipment configurations in XLS, XLT and Limited trims. A new XLS Blast package includes 16-inch aluminum wheels and a six-disc in dash CD changer.
Four new paint colors debut this year: Sonic Blue, Norsea Blue, Silver Metallic and Titanium Green.
Escape is also the only small SUV designed to pass the rigorous Tough Truck testing given to all Ford trucks and SUVs.
The 2005 Escape's upgraded interior stresses comfort, convenience and roominess. Highlights include a standard flow-through console, floor-mounted shifter, modern gauges, more storage spaces and upgraded seat cushions and fabrics. The popular rear liftgate with flip-up glass, however, remains for easy access to the generous cargo area.
The Escape further benefits from major engineering efforts to quiet the interior. New sound-absorbing panels and tighter sealing measures reduce cabin noise, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing ride.
The 2005 Ford Escape is broadening its horizons with a new 2.3-liter Duratec 23 4-cylinder engine. The engine develops 153 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque, while a balance shaft provides exceptional smoothness. Enhancements include a smoother idle and more responsive part-throttle response, compliments of new engine mounts and the sophisticated Black Oak powertrain management computer.
Furthermore, an automatic transmission is newly available with the I-4 engine.
Fans of the standard manual transmission will notice a change, too. It has a new gearbox with lighter shifting efforts and shorter throws.
Those with a passion for power still can choose the improved Duratec 30 V-6 engine, standard on Escape XLT and Limited. With 200 peak horsepower, it is one of the most powerful engines in the segment.
The 2005 Escape and the new Duratec 23 form the foundation for the Escape Hybrid, which will go on sale in late summer 2004. The hybrid-electric vehicle uses a modified version of the Duratec 23 and a hybrid transaxle to deliver exceptionally low emissions and high fuel economy with the performance of a V-6 engine. It is the go-anywhere capability Escape customers expect from a Ford SUV.
Ride and handling
'Smooth sailing' describes the ride of the 2005 Escape. The new automatic Intelligent 4WD System translates to better traction and stability with a smoother, more fuel-efficient operation, even in slippery conditions. The computer-controlled system operates so seamlessly that its engagement is barely noticeable to most drivers. Escape also is available in a front-wheel-drive configuration that provides more traction and precision than rear-wheel-drive competitors.
An abundance of engineering tweaks contribute to the smoothness. The balance shaft on the 4-cylinder, the engine mounts on the 6-cylinder, the larger-diameter front shocks and the new front stabilizer system better absorb road impacts while maintaining Escape's hallmark driving dynamics.
Safety and Security
Safety is paramount with the 2005 Escape. Revisions to the body structure have improved performance in offset frontal crashes. With the addition of standard passenger-seat weight-sensing technology and the Personal Safety System™, the Escape is expected to be the first vehicle in its class to meet the newly amended Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 for occupant crash protection.
The available Safety Package combines Ford's exclusive Safety Canopy™ rollover protection system with front side air bags. The Personal Safety System™ with occupant classification sensor is standard on all models, and head restraints and three-point safety belts are standard at all seating positions.
Anti-lock brakes are now standard on all models for 2005. The system features Quick Brake Assist, a power-assistance technology that recognizes hard braking and helps the driver apply maximum braking force, ideal for shorter stops. Six-cylinder four-wheel-drive models now have discs at all four wheels.
Major Equipment and Options
XLS: 2.3-liter Duratec 23 I-4 engine, five-speed manual transmission (automatic optional), four-wheel ABS, 15-inch steel wheels, grey front and rear fascia and body cladding, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, roof side rails, AM/FM stereo with single CD, low-back cloth front bucket seats, 60/40 split rear seat, air conditioning, center console with two cup holders, dual vanity mirrors, cargo floor hooks, front air bags, LATCH child seat attachments in rear outboard seating positions and SecuriLock passive anti-theft system.
XLT adds: Optional 3-liter Duratec 30 V-6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel disc brakes (on V-6 with 4WD), 16-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, roof rack with two horizontal bars, privacy glass, speed controls on steering wheel, AM/FM stereo with six-disc in-dash CD changer, premium cloth seats, power-adjustable driver's seat, floor mats and perimeter alarm.
XLT Sport adds: 16-inch bright machined aluminum wheels, Dark Shadow Grey fascia, cladding and wheel-lip moldings and black step bars.
Limited adds: Monochromatic appearance with body-color door and liftgate handles, fascia and cladding, leather seating surfaces, overhead console with dual storage bins, automatic headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, message center and dual illuminated vanity mirrors.
Options include a cargo convenience group that packages a rear cargo area shade and a rear storage bin.