Edmunds expert review
A slew of innovative high-tech features make the 2012 Ford Escape a tempting choice in the compact crossover category. But most competitors are more appealing due to superior refinement and functionality.
High-tech entertainment features
Nifty automated parking option
Hybrid model's impressive fuel economy. Vehicle Overview
Nowadays, Ford is hitting more home runs, and without any chemical augmentation, either. The 2012 Ford Escape is not exactly one of them, however, as this long-serving platform carries on unchanged until the appearance of a complete redesign slated for next year.
That's not to say the Escape has been benched for 2012. Despite its aged design, it remains a very popular vehicle among compact crossover consumers. Indeed it's consistently been among the top-selling vehicles thanks to its handsome styling, spirited performance and numerous high-tech features. Among the latter innovations is Sync, the affordable voice-activated interface for audio features. In addition the Escape now offers Auto Park, a Ford system that enables the Escape to identify a likely parallel parking spot and then steer into the slot while you just tend to the gas and brake. The Ford Escape also continues to be the only model in its class that's offered as a hybrid, which delivers about 30 mpg in combined driving.
Impressive as all that might be, potential buyers should know that the 2012 Ford Escape nonetheless lacks a few key items offered by most of its rivals, such as a telescoping steering wheel and a sliding/reclining backseat. And folding that backseat is a multistep hassle compared to the simple flip-down design of other crossovers. But it's the Escape's brakes that have it trailing the competition. Where most of them have four-wheel disc brakes, the Escape uses drum brakes in the rear that simply don't have the power or resistance to fade.
Provided it's fitted with a full array of options, a 2012 Ford Escape will likely please those who desire the latest high-tech features. But there are plenty of other heavy hitters in the compact crossover SUV segment these days, such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 that best the Ford in terms of overall refinement and functionality. Of course, we expect next year will see the redesigned Escape swinging for the fences. 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
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