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Ford Escape arrived to battle the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4

Co-developed with Mazda, the Ford Escape joined the small SUV fray in 2001 to take on the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

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Jon Wong

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Launched for 2001, the Ford Escape slotted in below the Explorer in the Blue Oval's model lineup.

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Unlike the Explorer, the Escape was based on a unibody foundation for a more car-like ride quality.

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The Escape's base engine option at launch was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 130 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. It came standard with a five-speed manual transmission.

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A 3.0-liter V6 served as the upgraded engine option with 200 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. That came connected to a four-speed automatic gearbox.

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All Escapes came standard with front-wheel drive, but four-wheel drive was available as an option.

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A more powerful 2.3-liter four-cylinder base engine arrived in 2005 with 153 horses.

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A hybrid powertrain was also added to the lineup in 2005 helping the Escape become the world's first hybrid SUV.

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Hybrid models with front-wheel drive received an estimated EPA rating of 30 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

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The Tribute being sold over at Mazda dealers was almost an exact Escape clone sharing a platform and drivetrains. However, the Mazda did feature slightly different fascias.

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Ford sold the first-generation Escape through the 2007 model year. 

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Click or scroll through for more of the Ford Escape.

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2001 Ford Escape

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2004 Escape

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FORD ESCAPE HYBRID-- The introduction of a hybrid electric version of the popular Ford Escape SUV in late 2003 will deliver nearly 40 mpg in city driving without sacrificing acceleration performance or cargo capacity. Available with four-wheel-drive, Escape Hybrid will truly be a "no-compromise" vehicle destined to forever change the public perception of HEVs.

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FORD ESCAPE HYBRID-- The introduction of a hybrid electric version of the popular Ford Escape SUV in late 2003 will deliver nearly 40 mpg in city driving without sacrificing acceleration performance or cargo capacity. Available with four-wheel-drive, Escape Hybrid will truly be a "no-compromise" vehicle destined to forever change the public perception of HEVs.

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