KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

You'll Like The 2012 Ford Escape If...

Like the rugged look of the old Ford Explorer and Jeep Cherokee, but don’t want to deal with the truck-like ride, poor fuel economy and bulky size? The 2012 Ford Escape offers all the creature comforts of a car with the tall ride height and AWD ability of an SUV.

You May Not Like The 2012 Ford Escape If...

While the 2012 Ford Escape is an attractive package, its design seems a bit dated, especially when placed next to such newcomers as the GMC Terrain, Kia Sportage and Nissan Rogue. Also, the Escape doesn’t offer a third-row seat, something you can get on the Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander.

What's New

There are no major changes for the 2012 model.

Interior Features

The 2012 Ford Escape’s interior is a curious mix of the old and new. The upright seating, large side windows and wide center console all look pretty truckish, but the instrument’s cool blue lighting and advanced features seem better suited to a new Taurus than the humble Escape. From the available SYNC audio system to the voice-activated navigation, the Escape is full of little and not so little surprises. Ample storage space abounds inside the Escape, with a huge center console storage system, lockable under-floor storage behind the rear seat, and 60/40 folding rear seats that fold to create a level cargo floor. The Escape’s rear seat is one of the largest in this class, and Ford’s Safety Canopy, which includes side-curtain airbags that deploy in the event of a side impact or impending rollover situation, is standard.

Exterior Features

It’s pretty easy to spot a Ford truck or SUV, regardless of its model year. That’s because Ford has done an excellent job keeping its trademark look fresh over the years, and the 2012 Ford Escape is no exception. Despite its modest dimensions, the Escape’s boxy shape, big chrome grille and rugged protective body cladding make it look quite formidable. Optical illusions aside, the Escape’s ample glass, low beltline and short front and rear overhangs make parking or maneuvering through tight spots a snap. The Escape’s boxy roofline works to its advantage by creating a tall rear hatch opening and interior ceiling, as well as a long and level roof perfect for loading bikes, kayaks or skis. Those who like their cars simple and clean can opt for either the XLS or XLT trim, while those who prefer a bit more flash will appreciate the extra chrome and distinctive wheels found on the Limited trim.

Driving Impressions

If you’re not a speed fiend or need to haul heavy loads, we think the 2012 Ford Escape’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is more than sufficient. With 171 horsepower on tap, the 2.5-liter provides good acceleration and passing power and really good fuel economy. Of course, if you need that extra "get up and go," the Escape’s 240-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 can provide it and then some. The available 6-speed automatic operates smoothly and helps the Escape see improvements in both performance and fuel economy. However, although Ford has done a good job with the Escape’s suspension setup, the overall feeling behind the Escape’s wheel is not as carlike as with the Honda CR-V or Nissan Rogue. Also, while the available all-wheel-drive system works well when required, it is not permanently engaged as with the Subaru Forester.

Pricing Notes

The 2012 Ford Escape XLS’ Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts close to $22,000 for the front-drive, manual-transmission model and jumps up to around $25,000 when equipped with an automatic transmission and four-wheel drive (4WD). The XLT models range from around $25,000 to about $34,000 with all the options, while a fully loaded Limited tops out around $36,000. 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, GMC Terrain and Kia Sportage. Resale values, however, fall in the middle range, well below the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, on par with the GMC Terrain and Kia Sportage, but better than the Jeep Patriot and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Notable Equipment

The most basic Escape, the XLS, is powered through its front wheels by an efficient 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual transmission. Creature comforts include rear defroster, power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a 4-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, 4-wheel drive, a 6-speed automatic transmission, the SYNC in-car communications and entertainment system (optional on XLT, standard on Limited), GPS navigation with 10GB hard-drive music storage and rearview camera, 17-inch chrome wheels, 6-way power driver’s seat, leather seats, ambient lighting, MyKey programmable key, Active Park Assist, heated front seats, a power moonroof, fog lights, keyless entry pad and the Reverse Sensing System. Dealer-installed options include remote start and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Favorite Features

Navigation SystemEasy 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.Active Park AssistA feature usually found only on super-luxury cars, the Escape’s Active Park Assist uses sonar and the electric power steering unit to automatically guide the Escape into an open parallel parking spot. Voice prompts tell the driver when to shift gears and apply power.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Ford Escape’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine employs variable valve timing for improved fuel economy, reduced emissions and maximum horsepower and torque. If you desire a manual transmission, this is your only engine choice. The Escape’s 3.0-liter V6 features a high compression ratio that helps maximize horsepower and torque, an important attribute for those who need to tow or haul heavy loads. While the 3.0-liter engine does provide better acceleration and the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds, its city fuel economy ratings reach only the high teens; on the flip side, the V6 is E85 Flex-Fuel compatible.2.5-liter in-line 4171 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 (manual, FWD), 21/28 (automatic, FWD), 20/27 (automatic, 4WD)3.0-liter V6, Flex-Fuel240 horsepower @ 6,550 rpm223 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 (FWD, gasoline), 14/19 (FWD, E85), 18/23 (4WD, gasoline), 13/17 (4WD, E85)

Editors' Notes

In the world of compact CUVs (Crossover Utility Vehicle) the 2012 Ford Escape stands out for a number of reasons. Fresh from a complete makeover that spanned the 2010 and 2011 model run, the 2012 Ford Escape may look like an old friend, but it’s been pretty much remade from the ground up. Unlike its closest competitor, the 2012 Honda CR-V, the Escape offers the option of a V6 engine, which not only gives it more power when needed, but provides more towing ability. The 2012 Ford Escape trounces its domestic competition by offering such exclusives as the Ford SYNC communications system and Active Park Assist, a system which can help guide the vehicle into a parallel parking space. And, while newer names such as the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson pose a major challenge to the Blue Oval’s rugged little off-roader, neither has the longevity or the loyal fan base amassed by the Escape’s long production run. Then again, the Escape’s boxy yet rugged exterior may not hold as much appeal as the sleek and stylish Korean twins, but it certainly fits into the mold of a tough Ford truck, and for many that is exactly the image a CUV should present.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Ford Escape Owner Reviews

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Love my Ford Escape! Highly recommended!

2012 Ford Escape

I love the Ford Escape. It is a very reliable car and I have had zero mechanical issues with it. Even though it is 6 years old, everything functions perfectly and I love the sync feature to use voice commands to use my mobile phone, play music, etc. The gas mileage is very good on this car, making it very economical to drive. My Escape has excellent room for passengers and cargo. five passengers with all of their luggage have been on multiple road trips and nobody is cramped for space. I love the reliability of Ford cars and I will continue to buy them for many years to come. When I can afford a new car, I will definitely be buying another ford. I love the built-in features letting you know when tire pressure is low, when it is time for an oil change, etc. The voice commands with sync are very intuitive and easy to follow. Pairing your phone is quick and easy. I can wirelessly play all the music on my phone with the Bluetooth connectivity and call anyone in my phone's address book. The electric driver's seat adjustments go in every direction imaginable and they are easy to do on the fly. There are numerous spots for storage including the normal glove compartment, a convenient storage compartment between the front seats, and a large cargo area in the back. For additional cargo space, the back row of seats can be lowered flat which has proved valuable to me many times. It helps when purchasing large items, making an extra large warehouse store run, and helping friends and family members move! I highly recommend the Ford Escape!

- Robyn C

I love the size. It is perfect is terms of safety.

2012 Ford Escape

It is a very reliable car. I have had it for 6 years now and it still runs very well. The features are a little outdated in it but it was my first car so I cannot complain that much. The seats are fabric which makes them extremely susceptible to stains. I have accidentally spilled water on my seats and that left a huge dark stain. I also had a big problem with the air conditioning in that car. I got the coolant and everything else that you could think of that would fix the air but nothing worked. If it was 70 degrees or hotter outside then my air would not work and it would just blow hot air. So it is very important to check and make sure all of the air conditioning and heat works. I have had very minor problems with the car. The engine in my car is very small, I believe a v4 which is very small compared to my dad's Ford Explorer with a v10 engine. When driving this car you have to be careful when accelerating because the rpm will shoot up towards 5 very quickly every time you accelerate. That is really the only big thing that stinks about having the smaller engine. In the winter I have had no major problems driving in the snow. I have never gotten stuck anywhere in my car because of the snow. When I do go to accelerate in the snow sometimes the tires spin. It is occasionally hard to get traction even with the good winter tires I had on my car.

- Mckenzie L

2012 XLT Ford Escape SUV Car

2012 Ford Escape XLT

I love my 2012 Ford Escape. I have always drove a truck but changed to the SUV and it was lived up to all my expectations. The Escape has enough room to haul as much as I would in a pick up when traveling out of town. I have a sunroof that is enjoyed in the summertime with my son. It had above 60,000 miles on it when I bought it used but I haven't had a single problem with it and it still feels brand new. With the XLT series I have lights for nighttime that changes colors with one push of a button, I love changing the colors and getting to customize my vehicle. The back seat it comfy and roomy even with a huge car seat in the middle. The only complaint I would have is that the driver side leather seat has a tear in it so it hasn't held up to all the in and out throughout the last 7 years but that is really to be expected. I love the seat warmers especially when it was cold outside and the leather seats were cold, I would push the button and the seat would be heated by the time I got to my front gate. I haven't hooked up the voice control because I feel like it is difficult to hook up but the 2012 Ford Escape also has a hands free mode that can be hooked up to your phone. With the hands free you can talk on the phone or read text messages out loud.

- Krause K

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