2001 Ford Escape Specifications

Introduced for the 2001 model year, Ford's compact SUV, the Escape is the product of a joint venture between Ford and Mazda (Ford has a controlling interest in Mazda). Mazda engineered the vehicle in Japan and Ford builds it in Kansas City, Missouri. Mazda has their own version of the Escape called the Tribute which has different styling, a different interior, and re-tuned suspension and steering - otherwise it's the same vehicle.

Though it has a fairly high ground clearance, the Escape's step-in height is relatively low and there are grab handles near the roof to assist entry. Front passengers step easily over a raised sill and into comfortable high-back bucket seats with a high hip point - outward visibility is excellent with the exception of the rear window where a bulging rear wiper motor obscures vision slightly. The cabin is roomy for a small SUV and offers generous headroom and legroom for four or five adults.

The driving position is excellent - a small, fat-rimmed steering wheel is positioned relatively low, the white-faced gauges are easy to see and the blacked-out centre control panel is within easy reach. I liked the angled door-mounted power window buttons which face the driver and passengers, and the handy coin holder to the left of the steering wheel.

The rear 60/40 split folding bench seats feature seat cushions that flip up against the front seats, while the backrests fold down flat onto the floor - this creates a flat loading surface from the rear hatch to the front seats. If you require more cargo area, the rear seat cushions can be removed.

The rear hatch lifts up easily from bumper level - alternatively, the rear window glass can open separately for lightweight packages. The carpeted cargo area has four floor hooks, a 12 volt powerpoint on the left-hand side, and a storage area behind the wheelwell that looks like it's made for a jug of windshield washer fluid. A retractable cargo cover and cargo net are standard on the XLT.

Driving Impressions

The Escape's ride is firm but comfortable, and there is less bobbing and pitching than in many truck-based SUV's. This is due to the Escape's car-like unit body construction, four wheel independent suspension (front MacPherson strut/rear multi-link), and wide track. On paved highways, the Escape's handling is stable, predictable, and the driving experience is enjoyable. The Escape's power-assisted steering is responsive and quick, and the front disc/rear drum brakes with ABS and EBD (electronic brake force distribution)(XLT models only) offered excellent stopping power. According to figures supplied by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, the Escape brakes from 100 km/h to 0 in just 41.7 metres (137 ft.) - that was the shortest distance of any new 2001 SUV tested, with the exception of the BMW X5.

From a standing start, the Escape's acceleration is brisk but rather noisy - a combination of engine noise, vibration and the sound of rushing air from the engine fan makes the Escape sound 'trucky'. However, at higher engine speeds and while cruising on the freeway, the engine is relatively quiet. With 200 horsepower, the Escape XLT has more than enough performance to merge onto the freeway and pass slower cars.

The V6 engine's fuel consumption is rather thirsty: official figures are 13.4 l/100 km (21 mpg) in the city and 9.2 l/100 km (31 mpg) on the highway, but this would be under optimal conditions. The Escape's all-wheel-drive system is a full-time four-wheel-drive system that operates in front-wheel-drive most of the time, but automatically transfers torque to the rear when the front wheels slip. This kind of system provides better traction on wet, snowy, icy or loose surfaces such as gravel or dirt roads. For really bad conditions, the Escape has a locking centre clutch/differential which provides improved traction on steep rocky off-road trails. The driver simply turns a dial on the dashboard to the 'On' position to engage the locking differential which provides a continuous 50/50 front/rear torque split.

Overall, the Escape offers a good combination of car-like handling and ride, four-wheel-drive traction, interior roominess, and cargo capacity. I give the Escape a generous 'thumbs up', although it would be nice to see the less-expensive four cylinder model available with an automatic transmission.

Official Specifications

Engine & Transmission Body / Chassis
Configuration Transversely mounted, dual overhead cam, V-6, cast iron block, cast aluminum heads Weight 1469 kg / 3235 lbs
Valvetrain Dual overhead camshaft, chain drive, roller finger followers with hydraulic lash adjustment, beehive valve springs, two valves per cylinder Length 4394.2 mm / 173.0 in
Displacement 3000 cc / 182 cu in Width 1780.5 mm / 70.1 in
Power 200 bhp @ 5750 rpm Height 1755.1 mm / 69.1 in
Torque 200 ft lbs @ 4000 rpm Wheelbase 2745.7 mm / 108.1 in
Bhp / Liter 66.67 bhp per litre Front Track ??? mm / ??? in
Bore ?.? in Rear Track ??? mm / ??? in
Stroke ?.? in Steering Rack and Pinion, power assist
Redline 5900 rpm Body / Frame steel body is set on a steel tubular frame
Transmission Type Four-speed automatic Front Brakes vented disc
1st Gear Ratio ?.??:1 Front Brake Size ??? mm / ??? in
2nd Gear Ratio ?.??:1 Rear Brakes vented disc
3rd Gear Ratio ?.??:1 Rear Brake Size ??? mm / ??? in
4th Gear Ratio ?.??:1 Front Wheels 15 x 7 in
Final Drive Ratio 4.588:1 Rear Wheels 15 x 7 in
    Front Tires 225/70-15
    Rear Tires 225/70-15
 Performance
Top Speed 171 kph / 106 mph (electronically limited) 0 - 60 mph 8.7 sec
0 - quarter mile ??.? @ ?? 0 - 100 - 0mph ???
Lateral Acceleration .?? G EPA City/Hwy 19 \ 24 MPG