The Ford Escape is a compact crossover vehicle sold by Ford since 2000 over three generations. Ford released the original model in 2000 for the 2001 model year—a model jointly developed and released with Mazda of Japan—who took a lead in the engineering of the two models and sold their version as the Mazda Tribute. Although the Escape and Tribute share the same underpinnings constructed from the Ford CD2 platform (based on Mazda GF underpinnings), the only panels common to the two vehicles are the roof and floor pressings. Powertrains were supplied by Mazda with respect to the base inline-four engine, with Ford providing the optional V6. At first, the twinned models were assembled by Ford in the US for North American consumption, with Mazda in Japan supplying cars for other markets. This followed a long history of Mazda-derived Fords, starting with the Ford Courier in the 1970s. Ford also sold the first generation Escape in Europe and China as the Ford Maverick, replacing the previous Nissan-sourced model. Then in 2004, for the 2005 model year, Ford’s luxury Mercury division released a rebadged version called the Mercury Mariner, sold mainly in North America. The first iteration Escape remains notable as the first SUV to offer a hybrid drivetrain option, released in 2004 for the 2005 model year to North American markets only.
Mainstream production of the first generation Escape/Tribute ended in late 2006. For Asia-Pacific markets, both received respective facelifts in 2006 and had production fully transferred to Ford Lio Ho in Taiwan. Extended production of the Mazda lasted until 2010, with the Ford lingering on until 2012.
Second generations of the Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, and Mazda Tribute were released in 2007 for the 2008 model year, but mostly restricted to North America. In other markets, the first generation models were either replaced by updated first series versions built in Taiwan, and/or by the unrelated Mazda CX-7 (2006) and Ford Kuga (2008). The North American second generations were merely reskins of the first, with carry-over mechanicals, but with restyled hanging panels and a redesigned interior. Unlike the collaborative approach taken with the previous model, this time the design and engineering was carried out by Ford. A hybrid option was again available. The Mercury version lasted until late 2010, withdrawn from the market as part of the closure of the Mercury brand, with Mazda’s Tribute ending production in late 2011. Ford ended manufacture of the second series Escape in 2012.
Ford released a third generation in 2012 for the 2013 model year, again, limited to North America. This time, rather than issuing an indigenous, albeit Mazda-derived model, Ford rebadged the Escape with the Ford Kuga designed in Europe. Although still manufactured in the US, and fitted with slightly different powertrains, the third generation Escape is fully aligned with the Kuga as per the «One Ford» plan of having only one vehicle per segment internationally.
Mercury Mariner (2005-2007)
2005–07: 174.9 in (4,442 mm)
2005–07: 69.7 in (1,770 mm)
Hybrid: 69.7 in (1,770 mm)
4WD: 3,457 lb (1,568 kg)
The first generation of Ford Escape was released in 2000 for the 2001 model year. It was jointly developed with Mazda, in which Ford owned a controlling interest, and was released simultaneously with the Mazda Tribute. Both are built on the Ford CD2 platform, in turn based on the Mazda GF platform.
At the time, larger sport utility vehicles tended to use pickup truck-based, body-on-frame designs. Other car makers, Jeep and Toyota, had been offering smaller unibody designs, the Jeep Cherokee (XJ) and RAV4, respectively. Solid rear axles were commonly used due to their ability to carry heavy loads at the expense of a comfortable ride and good handling. Ford and Mazda then decided to offer a car-like, unibody design with a fully independent suspension and rack and pinion steering, the Escape.  Although not meant for serious off-roading, a full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) system supplied by Dana was optional, which included a locking center differential activated by a switch on the dashboard.  The AWD system normally sends most of the power from the engine to the front wheels. If slipping is detected at the front, more power will be sent to the rear wheels in a fraction of a second. The four wheel drive system was a newer version of Ford’s «Control Trac» 4×4 system, dubbed the Control Trac II 4WD in the Escape. This system allowed the front wheels to receive 100% of the torque until a slip was detected. Using a Rotary Blade Coupling, the rear wheels could be sent up to 100% of the power in fractions of a second. When switching the system from «Auto» to «On,» the front and rear axles are locked at a 50/50 split, the reaction time necessary to engage the rear wheels is reduced via an integrated bypass clutch. The Control Trac II system allows for a four-wheel drive vehicle without the use of a center differential. The entire braking system was built by Continental Teves, including the ABS and various related suspension components.  CKD production began in 2002 at Ford Lio Ho Motor Co. in Taiwan for various Asian markets. 
One main difference between the Tribute and the Ford Escape is that the Tribute’s suspension is tuned for a firmer ride than the Escape, in order to correspond with Mazda’s sporty image.
In North America, it slotted below the larger, truck-based Explorer in Ford’s lineup, but was larger than the small SUV offerings from Honda and Toyota.  Although it is technically a crossover vehicle, it is marketed by Ford as part of its traditional SUV lineup (Escape, Explorer, Expedition) rather than its separate crossover lineup (Edge, Flex).
From 2001 to 2004, the Ford Escape was sold in Europe under the Maverick name, and replaced a rebadged version of the Nissan Mistral/Terrano II. Only two versions were made, the 2.0 L Zetec inline 4 engine with manual transmission and 3.0 L Duratec V6 with automatic transmission, both using gasoline as fuel. The absence of a diesel version did not help sales and the vehicle was temporarily discontinued in late 2003. However, the Maverick, in the UK for example, was only available in XLT trim. Plus, the dashboard was not the same as the US Escape, it was instead taken from the Mazda Tribute. The Maverick was reintroduced in 2005 in certain European markets with the Duratec V6 engine. It was announced that the Maverick would be assembled in Russia for the Russian market. As of 2006, the Maverick was no longer sold in Europe, leaving Ford without a compact SUV until the 2008 Ford Kuga was introduced. The Maverick was primarily designed for on-road use – sold with normal road tires, and to be used with front-wheel drive most of the time.
Crash test results for the Escape have been mixed. In the New Car Assessment Program administered by the USA-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the car received five out of five stars for driver protection and four out of five stars for passenger protection in a 35 mph (56 km/h) frontal impact.  The SUV received five stars for both driver and rear passenger in the side impact test. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 40 mph (64 km/h) frontal offset test, 2001–2004 Escapes received a score of «Marginal».  In the side impact crash test, vehicles equipped with the optional side air bags received a score of «Good» in the 31 mph (50 km/h), while those without the optional air bags received a score of «Poor». 
All Escapes are equipped with a passive ‘Immobiliser’ called SecuriLock. This feature includes an ‘RFID’ chip embedded in the key which is read by the car each time the vehicle is started. If the vehicle fails to receive a valid confirmation signal from the key, the vehicle will not run, even if the key is perfectly cut to match the original. Theft, injury, and collision losses reported to insurance companies for the Escape are among the lowest in its class. 
In the United States, all Escapes included standard equipment such as power windows, power door locks, anti-lock braking system (ABS), keyless entry, a folding rear bench seat, 16-inch wheels, and air conditioning. In addition, an Escape buyer could choose from one of several different trim levels that were available, which included:
XLS (2001–2007): As the most basic trim level of the Escape, the XLS included: the 2.0-liter Zetec (2001–2004) and the 2.3-liter DuraTec (2005–2007) engines, a five-speed manual transmission, 15-inch steel wheels, an AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD players (later, a six-disc, in-dash CD changer) and four speakers, high-back front bucket seats, and cloth-and-vinyl seating surfaces. Options include 15- or 16-inch alloy wheels, the 3.0-liter V6 engine (2001–2004), and a four-speed automatic transmission (some of which was available as the XLS Popular Group).
XLT (2001–2007): As the top-of-the-line trim level of the Escape in 2001, and the most popular trim level of the Escape throughout its entire run (2001–2007), the XLT added the following equipment to the base XLS trim level: 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth seating surfaces, and an enhanced interior. Options included an AM/FM stereo with a six-disc, in-dash CD changer (which later became standard equipment on all Escapes), the 3.0-liter V6 engine, a four-speed automatic transmission, a power sunroof, leather-and-vinyl-trimmed seating surfaces, and the seven-speaker premium audio system with amplifier and rear-mounted subwoofer.
XLT Sport (2002–2007): The XLT Sport was one of the more popular trim levels of the Escape from 2002 to 2007. It added equipment to the standard XLT equipment: the V6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, sport interior trim, and 16-inch machined alloy wheels. Options were the same as the standard XLT trim level.
Limited (2003–2007): As the top-of-the-line trim level of the Escape from 2002–2007, the Limited trim level added the following equipment to the XLT Sport trim level: an AM/FM stereo with six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 changer, the seven-speaker premium audio system with amplifier and rear-mounted subwoofer, low-back front bucket seats, leather-trimmed seating surfaces, dual power heated front bucket seats, a security system, color-keyed exterior trim, luxury interior trim, and a unique front grille. Options were limited, but included a power sunroof.
Hybrid (2005–2007): Based on the midrange XLT trim level, the Hybrid included: the 2.3-liter DuraTec inline-four engine with an electric motor, power front bucket seats, low-back front bucket seats, enhanced partially-recycled cloth seating surfaces, and unique 16-inch alloy wheels. Options included a power sunroof, a unique integrated GPS navigational system with hybrid information system, Sirius Satellite Radio, the seven-speaker premium audio system with amplifier and rear-mounted subwoofer, leather-trimmed seating surfaces, and a «two-tone» exterior paint scheme, with silver-painted lower exterior trim and front and rear bumpers.
The Escape and Tribute were updated in February 2004 for the 2005 model year with a new base engine (the 2.3 L [2261 cc, 140 cu in] Duratec 23), which replaced the Zetec 2.0 L (1983 cc, 121 cu in) 127 hp (95 kW) 4-cylinder. The most powerful engine remained the 200 hp (150 kW) Duratec 3.0 L (2976 cc, 181 cu in) V6, with new engine mounts. Ford also added advanced airbag and seatbelt safety systems, an intelligent AWD system, and exterior changes, which included a redesigned front bumper. The 2005 model year was the first with an automatic transmission available on the base four-cylinder models. The automatic shifter was moved from the column to the console on all models equipped with automatic transmissions. Ford also deleted the recline feature on the rear seats to improve the safety of occupants in the rear seats in the case of a rear crash.
2006–2008 (ZC, Asia-Pacific)
A revamped ZC Escape designed in Taiwan went on sale in the second half of 2006 for the Asian and Pacific markets (except South Korea, where the North American-market Escape is sold).  Major external changes included a redesigned front bumper, grille, headlights and hood, and rear bumper, as well as LED taillights.
On the inside, changes included a floor-mounted automatic transmission shifter, in place of the column shifter, as well as a redesigned center stack containing audio and climate controls. Climate control is automatic on all models except the XLS. The Limited model also featured full color-coded bumpers, wheel arches and side moldings, as well as side mirrors with integrated LED indicators. Rear drum brakes have been replaced by disc brakes all round.
The 3.0 L V6 has been modified to reduce fuel consumption by over 10%, [ citation needed ] while the 2.3 L 4-cylinder has improved midrange torque and an electronic throttle, as well as a slight increase in power to 109 kW (146 hp). Both engines had been certified to meet Euro III emission regulations. A four-speed automatic carried over and was the sole transmission choice. Two different four-speed automatic transmissions were used, CD4E for 3.0 L V6 and GF4AX-EL for 2.3 L 4-cylinder.
2008–2009 (ZD, Asia-Pacific)
The ZD Escape went on sale in mid-2008, bringing numerous changes. In Australia, the V6 engine was dropped, leaving only the 2.3-liter four-cylinder. 
The model range was also simplified, with only a single specification available. Changes to the body included an all-new front bumper, grille, headlights and bonnet, featuring an enlarged Ford emblem set upon a three-bar chrome grille. At the rear, new, slimmer tail lights were featured, which were arranged horizontally, rather than vertically. In addition, the B-pillar was now painted black, rather than body-colour. Compared with the previous model, all external bumpers, mirrors, and cladding were painted the same colour as the body (previously, this was only available on the upscale Limited model). Equipment levels have also improved. Compared to the base model ZC Escape, the ZD included standard side airbags, automatic climate control, 16″ alloy wheels, and mirrors with integrated indicators. Unlike most other competitors in its class, curtain airbags and electronic stability control were not available.