Entering the marketplace in 2001, the Ford Escape provided an important product for what would become a growing compact sport utility/crossover vehicle category. While appearing to be a full truck-based sport utility vehicle, the Ford Escape was actually constructed with the acknowledgement that many buyers do not need full off-roading capability. A 127-horsepower 2-liter Zetec four-cylinder engine was the only engine choice at launch of the Ford Escape offered with a two-wheel or four-wheel drivetrain. In 2003, a 3-liter Duratec V-6 powerplant option was extended to the Ford Escape.
Demonstrating high fuel economy, a gasoline/electric hybrid version of the Ford Escape was marketed starting in the 2005 model year. The base engine for the Ford Escape was enlarged to 2.3 liters in 2005. Restyled in 2008, the Ford Escape adopted a front-end appearance similar to the larger Explorer and Expedition sport utility vehicles.
A more powerful V-6 was added to the Ford Escape in 2009 and an improved Escape Hybrid was first released providing city fuel economy up to 34 mpg. Foregoing its sport utility vehicle look for the 2013 model year, a completely new Ford Escape debuted a more crossover physique. Powered by a base four-cylinder or a pair of option turbocharged EcoBoost engines, the 2013 Ford Escape was fitted with a variety of eye-catching features such as eco-friendly seat fabrics and an available hands-free liftgate. The V-6 engine and Hybrid version of the Ford Escape were discontinued for 2013.
A compact SUV with seating for five, the 2007 Ford Escape is available with a four-cylinder engine, six-cylinder engine, or a hybrid powertrain which is rated for 36 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.