Still one of our favorites in the category, the 2005 Ford Escape is a very capable small SUV thanks to its powerful V6 and hybrid electric engines, spacious cabin and carlike handling.
The 2005 Ford Escape gets a freshened look and some new mechanicals. Last year's base 2.0-liter engine is replaced by a new 153-horsepower, 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that's available with either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. This new engine is a more viable choice for budget-conscious buyers, and like the V6, it can be matched with a new electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system. Meanwhile, the V6 engine has been tweaked to provide improved throttle response. Antilock brakes are now standard across the line. Interior updates include a floor-mounted shifter, new gauges, upgraded seats and additional storage. The most significant improvement inside is the addition of the optional Safety Canopy rollover protection system. Further, the vehicle's structure has been modified to better absorb offset frontal impacts, and the backseat gets a full set of three-point belts. On the outside, all Escapes have reworked front and rear fascias with a new grille design and headlights. Finally, an XLT Sport model joins the lineup.
Powerful V6, quick and efficient hybrid model, large cargo capacity, comfortable interior, carlike handling, optional side curtain airbags.