The Ford Escape is not only the most popular SUV produced by Ford, representing roughly one-third of all Ford SUV sales, but it is the company’s second most popular passenger vehicle overall, and its sales are only exceeded by the Ford F-series trucks. This sort of popularity is no accident, and the Ford Escape has more than earned it through its extreme versatility. As a two-row SUV, the Ford Escape offers comfortable seating for five passengers as well as plentiful cargo space for any daily task. And in a pinch, it can easily pull a light trailer for even greater utility. Altogether there is no other vehicle in the Ford lineup that can match the all-around value of the Ford Escape. And because of its twenty-year history and the large number that have been sold, a used Ford Escape makes for a particularly good buy for drivers wishing to get a quality vehicle at a lower price.
To date, there have been four generations of the Ford Escape, but the most recent one is not yet available on the used market. The original Ford Escape was first introduced for the 2001 model year and was sold until the 2007 model year. These cars are now beginning to disappear from the used market, but you can still occasionally find one in good condition. And while the technology and mechanical features in a first-generation Ford Escape are certainly dated, there is nothing unusable about them. Additionally, the SUV offers a solid 33 cu.ft. of cargo space with its seats up and 63 cu.ft. when they are folded.
When shopping for a used first-generation Ford Escape, keep in mind that there are four engines available. The original base engine is 2.0L four-cylinder with 130 hp, but this was replaced for the 2005 model year as part of the SUV’s midlife refresh. The newer base engine is a slightly larger and more powerful 2.3L four-cylinder producing 153 hp. The refresh also introduced a 155 hp hybrid system that could achieve a combined fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon. However, the top engine remained the same 3.0L V6 throughout the production run. This V6 offers 200 hp, which is less than today’s engines but combined with the relatively light weight of the SUV makes for surprisingly good acceleration.
The second-generation Ford Escape was produced for the 2008 to 2012 model years and is reasonably available on the used market. While this generation brought significantly updated styling inside and out, it is still fundamentally the same vehicle as the first generation, and its technology remains all but non-existent by modern standards.
Both the base 2.3L engine and the top V6 engine carried over from the previous generation, but the hybrid system was slightly updated to offer 177 hp and a 32 MPG combined fuel economy. However, it is best to avoid the 2008 model year as the 2009 model year brought a slew of changes. The base engine was replaced with a 2.5L producing 171 hp, while the V6 gained variable valve timing and jumped to 240 hp on top of receiving a new six-speed automatic transmission. Finally, all trims gained a bit more technology with the basic Sync infotainment system.
But it is the third generation Ford Escape that makes up the bulk of the used market. Produced for the 2013 to 2019 model years, the third generation is an all-new vehicle redesigned from the ground up and presents a much more modern look and feel inside and out. This is the first Ford Escape to include a touchscreen infotainment system and the first to drop the manual transmission option.
Further, the engine lineup was completely overhauled and now consists of a base 2.5L four-cylinder with 168 hp, a middle of the line 1.6L turbo with 178 hp, and a top 2.0L turbo with the same 240 hp as the outgoing V6. The hybrid option was dropped entirely because of the much greater efficiency of the new vehicle. As always, additional features were added over the production run. The infotainment was upgraded to the Sync 3 system for the 2016 model year, and the 2017 model year brought a mild refresh as well as some engine changes. The top 2.0L was boosted slightly to 245 hp, while the middle 1.6L with a slightly more efficient 1.5L turbo with 179 hp.
Throughout the generations, the Ford Escape has only gotten better. However, this vehicle has been excellent since its beginning. That said, when shopping for a used Ford Escape, there are tons of options due to its lasting reliability over the years.
Shopping for used cars can always be something of a gamble. Although the internet has made the used car market easier to navigate than ever before, you still never quite know what potential issues might be lurking in a used car. You can, of course, take some basic precautions to weed out the worst cars. Buying from a reputable dealership that is affiliated with an automobile manufacturer and having a trusted mechanic check over any used car before you buy it are both good ways to put yourself in the best position possible. But the single best way to ensure that you get a quality used car is to buy a vehicle through the manufacturer’s certified pre-owned program.
Only an affiliated dealership can offer a factory CPO car, and any used car carrying this label has to meet a stringent set of requirements laid down by the manufacturer. In the case of a Ford CPO vehicle such as a Ford Escape, the car must be no more than six years old and have no more than 80,000 miles on the odometer. And, of course, it must also have a clean title, and no reported prior damage. However, these requirements are only enough to have the vehicle considered for the program.
It must also pass a thorough 172 point inspection by certified Ford mechanics that inspects every significant component of the vehicle and makes sure that it meets factory specifications. Only then is it considered worthy of being listed as a Ford CPO vehicle. But not only are Ford CPO vehicles among the best used cars that you can find, but they also come with extended factory warranty coverage out to seven years or 100,000 miles. This means that if you want the ultimate peace of mind when buying a used car, a CPO vehicle is by far the best option.