2008 Ford Escape Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Ford Escape If...

If you're looking for traditional SUV features, such as high ground clearance and a high seating position, but you want it in a smaller, more fuel-efficient package, the 2008 Ford Escape makes a good choice.

You May Not Like The 2008 Ford Escape If...

The Escape's ride and handling are not as precise as many crossover utility vehicles, and its four-cylinder engine lags behind the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue in horsepower and torque.

What's New

Despite its new look, the 2008 Ford Escape's chassis, engines and transmissions are, for the most part, carry-overs from the previous model. What is new are the redesigned exterior and interior components, which include seat fabric made from 100-percent recycled material, a new dash backlit in "Ice Blue" lighting and standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC).

Interior Features

The 2008 Ford Escape's interior gets a major overhaul, with better quality plastics, "Ice Blue" dash lighting and a new "top-of-dash" information center. Ford has repositioned the parking brake lever to the driver's-side footwell, creating a new center console storage space large enough to accept a laptop computer. A thicker headliner and carpeting, as well as laminated side glass, help quiet the interior, and the Escape's rear seat remains one of the roomiest in this class. Ford's standard Safety Canopy includes side-curtain airbags that deploy in the event of a side impact or impending rollover situation.

Exterior Features

The 2008 Escape shares a strong family resemblance with Ford's other truck and SUV models, giving it a rugged appearance worthy of a quasi-off-road warrior. The Escape's small dimensions make it easy to park and maneuver, while the large side-glass panels permit a nearly unobstructed view for both driver and passengers. Unlike more stylized crossovers, the Escape's squared-off roof line creates a tall hatch opening that permits maximum cargo cramming. Bling junkies can opt for the Limited's Chrome Package, which adds reflective trim to the grille, rear hatch and roof rails.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Escape gained a bit of weight compared to the 2007 model, but unfortunately didn't get any extra power to compensate for the extra padding. As a result, acceleration is underwhelming, even with the V6 model. Handling is best described as respectable, but not as tight or confident as experienced in more car-like utility vehicles, such as the Honda CR-V or Nissan Rouge. A new electric-assist power steering system delivers good steering response and eliminates the need for a belt-driven pump, which draws power from the engine.

Pricing Notes

The 2008 Ford Escape XLS' Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $20,000 for the front-drive, manual-transmission model and jumps up to around $22,500 when equipped with an automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. The XLT models range from $22,000 to about $31,000 with all the options, while a fully-loaded Limited tops out around $33,000. To find out what other people are paying for the Escape in your area, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. Across the board, the Escape remains competitive with others in this class, including the Honda CR-V, Suzuki Grand Vitara and Jeep Liberty. Resale values, however, fall in the middle range, a bit below the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but better than the Jeep Liberty and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Notable Equipment

The most basic Escape is powered through its front wheels by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual transmission. Creature comforts include rear defroster, power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a four-speaker CD player with auxiliary audio input jack. Standard safety features include traction control, stability control, front seat side-mounted airbags, side-curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS).

Notable Options

Options vary by trim and include a 3.0-liter V6 engine, four-wheel drive, 320-watt Audiophile sound system, GPS navigation, 17-inch chrome wheels, six-way power driver's seat, leather seats, heated front seats, 110-volt power outlet, power moonroof, fog lamps, keyless entry pad and the Reverse Sensing System.

Favorite Features

Navigation System

Easy to use and loaded with helpful features, the Escape's on-board navigation unit can hunt down hotels, coffee kiosks and out-of-the-way gas stations in seconds.


Center Console Storage Space

The revised center console features a storage compartment large enough to hide a laptop computer, a rubber-lined storage tray to keep electronic devices from sliding around and an optional 110-volt power outlet.

Under the Hood

The base 2.3-liter four-cylinder isn't much on power, but it does return impressive fuel economy figures, especially when driven at highway speeds. If you desire a manual transmission, this is your only engine choice. The larger 3.0-liter V6 is a carry-over from last year. It provides better acceleration and the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but its fuel economy ratings are in the high teens and low twenties.


2.3-liter in-line four

153 horsepower @ 5800 rpm

152 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 (FWD, manual), 20/26 (FWD, automatic), 19/24 (4WD, automatic)


3.0-liter V6

200 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

193 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4850 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (FWD), 17/22 (4WD)


2.3-liter, four-cylinder with electric motor

133 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

124 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/30 (2WD), 29/27 (AWD)

Editors' Notes

It's easy to confuse the sleek shapes and wedge-like profiles that dominate today's compact SUV crop. The 2008 Ford Escape, however, displays the same boxy, bold and rugged look that defines Ford's Explorer and Expedition SUVs. With over a million units sold, the Escape has proven itself to be an appealing vehicle and, with a host of interior refinements as well as more standard equipment and a quieter, more upscale cabin, the 2008 model looks to continue to rack up sales.

Road Test Video Reviews

2008 Ford Escape Owner Reviews

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463 Reviews
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Ford Escape you will not regret.

The Ford Escape has been the best car I have ever had. I have had minimal problems with the car. I have had to change out the car battery only a few times but nothing severe has happened. It has been very reliable. One of the main reasons I like it so much is that it has great space. It has the good mixed between a car and a SUV. It gets great gas mileage like a car but has the space of a SUV. So having that happy medium sure make it easy to enjoy and want another one just like it. The Ford Escape does have a new one that comes out that gets like 41 mpg. I have heard nothing but great reviews with the new Ford Escape. So I can only hope it will be just as good if not better than the 2008 I have. You will not regret getting the Ford Escape. It will definitely be your forever car once you make the purchase. You can beat the price, the mileage, the space, and the reliability it gives to you and your family. So win and doubt get you a Ford Escape. You will not regret it and it will make you the happiness girl/ boy in the world. So what are you waiting for? Go get that Ford Escape and show everybody who’s boss and how happy you are!!

- Lacey D

Ford escape hybrid: a compact SUV with not so compact problems.

I like the compact SUV size of the ford escape hybrid. I like how it is tough on backroads. It is comfortable and has plenty of room. It does have many problems, however, that I have had to deal with over the years. The electric engine causes many issues for things like overheating (which causes it to stall in the middle of the road or at a red light) and brings fear to the driver when thinking about getting rear ended (the electric engine is located in the back of the vehicle). It is a very loud car and can be very bumpy at times. It is really not a very smooth ride. My aux input blew out a year into having this car. I have had issues with the ac and heating system failing on me in the middle of summer and winter, which can cause some discomfort. We have had to put more money into this vehicle than we would have liked for it to actually work. This might just be my car, and others might have better experiences than I have, but I would not recommend this car to potential shoppers. I know it has had many recalls over the years, so that is something to be aware of.

- Madison J

In love with my ford escape!

I love my ford escape. It has plenty of room for trips but handles like a sedan. I like having room in the back for groceries or whatever I need to haul along with me. The seats go down easily to extend the room in back and the front seats adjust to make long trips comfortable. We often travel 11 hours to visit our children out of state and we're able to remain comfortable. The lift up back makes loading and unloading easy. I like the water spray nozzles on the hood for cleaning the windshield even while driving. The back windshield also has a wiper, which is convenient in inclement weather. Someone must have actually driven this model before designing the center column storage, cup holders and plug instead in front and back. They are very convenient. The side mirrors adjust with a button on the driver's side..So convenient to adjust them back after my husband has driven the car and changed them. The driver's seat adjusts with a control on the seat, which makes adjusting the seat much safer. All I all, I could not be happier with my 2008 ford escape.

- Mary F

2008 Blue Ford Escape Review

I've loved the space inside the vehicle, without it being a huge car. Overall, I've been very happy with this vehicle and the comfort and durability. It's lasted us several years and it's still kicking. It's not without its problems though. The biggest problem we've had with the car is something with the steering column. It's like the wheel wouldn't catch and when turns were made it wouldn't register and made much wider turns, but that has been fixed for years. The next biggest is something wrong with the ignition. Sometimes it can take me 10 minutes or so just to get it started. Its something with the part where the key is inserted and sometimes it just doesn't line up correctly. We've also had a problem with the fans not working unless they're on full blast and a problem with the hinges breaking on the back liftgate window. Since it is older, there aren't nearly as many features as newer cars (like bluetooth, rearview camera, etc.) but it still does everything it needs to!

- Jordan K

The best feature is that the seats in the back fold down totally flat.

My Ford Escape is descent with gas, I average 26 mpg, which is good for a 4 wheel drive SUV. It is super reliable and I have not had any problems with anything but the fan assembly. One of the fans broke which means I have to replace the whole fan assembly. If I get the fan assembly from amazon for $120 and have the mechanic fix it, I will save almost $200 compared to if I have the mechanic order the part and fix it. Sometimes I leave the keys in the ignition and go to jump out of the car, but the car starts beeping to remind me the keys are in the ignition, which I love. I also love that I cannot take the keys out of the ignition if the car is not in park. Another thing I love is that the car beeps if I leave my headlights on, so I never have to worry about my battery going dead from leaving the lights on. The best feature in my opinion is that the seats in the back fold down totally flat. So, when I travel, which is a lot, I can sleep comfortably back there.

- Sandra B

This vehicle is a solid investment.

I love this vehicle. It has always been dependable. It has had a few minor problems, but all basic maintenance. My particular vehicle has had several battery replacements. Has a slight oil leak that started a couple years ago. The car was 8 years old when this started. It handles well in the snowy weather. I don't have 4 wheel drive but I do have the traction control which is nice. I do love having electric windows. Very nice option when you are the main, only driver. Gas mileage is decent for the year of the car. My car is not the flex fuel version as I didn't want to pay another 10 grand to drive a flex fuel. I did upgrade to the leather seats which has been a decision I have never regretted. I do not like the fact that ford decided to put some sort of sponge above the rear fenders. This has caused the fender on my left rear side to begin rusting. However my right rear fender doesn't show signs of rusting.

- Bam J

The Escape is reliable, comfortable, and good for hauling dogs and cargo.

The Escape is a reliable vehicle except after 10 years or so the car formed some malfunction where it drained the battery while parked. After having several mechanics look at it, we ended up putting a switch on the battery where we can disconnect it when parked for several hours. Other than that, the vehicle has served us well. I like driving it because it sits high enough to see the road much better than small cars. The gas mileage is not as good as we like and didn't live up to the advertised range. It is comfortable to drive and to ride in as a passenger. Another reason we like it is that the seats fold down flat in the back, making it nicer to transport our dogs and carry cargo. The back seats also split 70/30 so that a passenger can sit in the back seat while most of the seat lays down for cargo. This vehicle is 10 years old and I hope will last another 5 years. I would consider buying another Escape.

- Cindy G

I love the space and rocks on top of my car. Love the lift of the vehicle.

I love my escape because of the space in the car and the racks on top. I can lay the back seats flat and fit a bunch of stuff inside. I can also put kayaks or luggage on the top rack. I've had the car for about 5 years now with little to no problems. My sunroof did break and I haven't gotten it fixed due to the cost, I really miss having it though. The ac works great and cools the car down fast. Because it's a ford it's easy to work on and fix. It's easy to change the oil and oil filter. It was easy to find seat covers so I wouldn't damage the fabric since I put my dogs in the car. I live the life of the vehicle so I am not low to the ground. I like the electric windows and the control of the car. It has powered steering and cruise control. A decent speaker system with satellite radio and a CD player. Overall I am very pleased with the car.

- Allie A

The 2008 Ford escape and it�s ignition switch issue

When I first purchased my vehicle used back in 2015 I was really in love with it. At the time I was full-time college student working a part-time job so this size was perfect for me and it still is plenty of room for me. I had no problems with the car up until about a year after I purchased. That is when I realized that the ignition switch in a 2008 Ford escape is known to go bad very quickly. Since I have got the car in 2015, I have had to replace the ignition switch three times. It is a slightly expensive fix to get the problem resolved without having to continue to buy ignition switches. The car also tends to run a little loud. But I still love the appearances and the size, along with the comfort of the car. My particular model does not have a sunroof heated seats touchscreen radio etc, it's just the basic model.

- Hannah W

The V6, 2008 Ford Escape. A family SUV, with 22-30 mpg.

The 2008 Ford Escape, is a wonderful family SUV. It is a AWD Vehicle with the V6 transmission. It has been a reliable vehicle that cranks every time I have needed it to. My kids love it because the vehicle itself, has a lot of room in it. The way the 2008 Ford Escape is laid out, makes it a comfortable SUV for the whole family. They have so many features packed into the dash layout, with audio input, 6 disc CD changer, air conditioning, heat, and an option for locking in positive traction. On the dash, there is also a screen for the temperature outside, as well as the direction in which you are traveling. I would say the 2008 is an awesome SUV that gets 22-30 mpg and is a great everyday economical compact family SUV.

- Sabrina C

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