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Although classified as a small SUV, Escape's relatively spacious interior stretches the definition of small. Offering a strong V6 and good handling, Escape delivers good ride quality Developed side-by-side with the Mazda Tribute, differences in ride quality plus certain differences in interior trim led us to rate the Escape slightly higher than the Tribute.
Alerts
There are 8 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
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Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2005. Side and head protection air bags available, standard from 2008. ESC available from 2008, standard from 2009.
Road Test

Although classified as a small SUV, Escape's relatively spacious interior stretches the definition of small. Offering a strong V6 and good handling, Escape delivers good ride quality Developed side-by-side with the Mazda Tribute, differences in ride quality plus certain differences in interior trim led us to rate the Escape slightly higher than the Tribute.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
4WD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 (127 hp)
  • 3-liter V6 (201 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2004 Ford Escape owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“My car came with factory-installed running boards, I believe. Both of them had rusted almost completely. One fell off while driving on the highway. I was able to detach the other with one hand. It crumbled to pieces”

George S., IL (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“running boards rusted and one fell off”

James T., IL (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)
Loose interior trim or moldings

“Just that. Interior molds to the passenger door came loose. Had to use duct tape to keep it in place”

Anonymous, KY (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)

“Roof is cracking and peeling”

William B., NY (2004 Ford Escape Limited 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Entire hood and some (very little) of the side panels paint oxidized (?) cracked and peeled off. Getting it painted Monday, April 27, 2015 for a fee estimated at $800.00”

Pamela M., MI (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)
Rust

“rusting out of the rear wheel well openings”

Anonymous, MA (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“The rear fenders around the wheel wells are rusting very badly”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“the whole rear passenger shock rusted out”

Anonymous, WI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“wheel wells are extremely rusted. problem began when we had the car about 5 years”

William B., NY (2004 Ford Escape Limited 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“rusting”

Anonymous, IL (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Significant rear wheel well rust through. Bottom door edge and rear hatch edge rust”

Margaret M., NY (2004 Ford Escape XLT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Body has rusted above the left rear tire. Every Blue 2004 Escape I have looked at has the same problem. Had to have been a clogged nozzle in the paint booth for this to be on every car”

Patricia M., MI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Right wheel rusted out and shock absorber punched into the cabin”

George E., ON (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Running boards are rusted and loose. Side panels by wheel wells in rear have rust”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Escape XLS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“underbody rust, surface rust on trim (rear window / hatch)”

James T., IL (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“All needed to be replaced for the first time since auto was purchased”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)

“Had to have rotated several times and finally replaced”

Patty B., TN (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“replaced for first time since purchased of auto”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)
Antilock system (ABS)

“Mechanic says the light is always a sensor issue. Have replaced multiple times and it still comes on. I have sent this to several mechanics”

Patty B., TN (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“sensor failed”

Dennis R., MI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“The brass ring that is on the axle that is used to allow the ABS system to work fell off”

Sharon E., IL (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Failed speed sensor”

Dwayne W., NL (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)
Normal routine brake wear

“replaced brakes for second time on vehicle”

Dennis R., MI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“When I stepped on the brakes I heard a sound”

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“parking brake cables seized up,which prevented proper operation of the parking brake”

Sharon E., IL (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Cable Failure”

Dwayne W., NL (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)
Regular brake failure

“Took car thru car wash and break lines broke. Was told it was regular wear due to the bad winter that Michigan had regarding very very cold temperatures”

Pamela M., MI (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

“Metal brake line broke”

Clark K., IL (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“One brake hose failed and the other 3 were at the point of failure, as well. I had all four replaced. The metal brake lines are still OK”

George S., IL (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Oil leaks

“engine front oil seal leak. replaced seal once before”

Kevin K., CA (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Caskets and seals wearing out. Leaks are slow and I am considering whether to fix, depends on cost, or trade it in and purchase a Subaru Impreza”

Anonymous, KS (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“have had problems with oil leaks for years; too expensive to repair, we've decided to live with them”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)

“Valve cover leak, replaced gasket”

Mike R., NV (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Engine seal leaked. Valve cover gasket leaked”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

“The engine was leaking from a loose timing cover inspection plate. Mechanic tightened the bolts. If it continues to leak, will be very expensive to fix”

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Oil pressure switch replace two years ago for leaks and false low pressure sensing has begun to leak again. Replacement part was new aftermarket part”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“Was replaced by a well known company. Problem was they welded on one that was not a ford one. So i went elsewhere because i kept having a problem and the original company just wanted to get more money from me to fix it. Even though i took it elsewhere my check engine comes on because it still isn't fixed. I would like to mention the name of the people who first messed it up but not sure if i am allowed to”

Rita P., NJ (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Had to pay a lot of money to replace it”

Anonymous, KY (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)

“catalytic converters all gave out at about 90000 miles. I believe there were several; one leading to 2 others in 2 different directions, and all were bad. That is my recollection, and again it was an extremely costly repair”

Jane M., CA (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“3 coils failed, so had all replaced”

Anonymous, MB (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

“Exhaust system rusted out”

Michael H., NY (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Based on research I have done on the Internet many people having problem with this car Catalytic converter”

Haim H., ON (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“Compressor basically fell apart, however not until 115,000 miles”

Anonymous, TN (2004 Ford Escape XLT Unsure)
Evaporator

“AC system had buildup of water that leaked into the passenger floorboard. The water was approximately 1" deep before using towels to soak up and get water out”

Kerry N., TX (2004 Ford Escape Limited 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

“In winter defrost throws moisture up onto windshield as if heater core is leaking, dealer says no problem. Overall air handling very poor for this size vehicle”

Margaret M., NY (2004 Ford Escape XLT 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Can't use the heater while idling as a burning smell invades the cabin”

Thomas B., CO (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

“reduced cooling effectiveness”

Dave H., NC (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

“I had to replace the Fuel pump”

Taylor H., NV (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)
Emission control devices (includes EGR)

“recurring problems, hard to identify and repair, 4 callbacks a two different repair shops, very expensive although no issues until 120,000 miles”

Anonymous, TN (2004 Ford Escape XLT Unsure)

“This car has THREE catalytic converters. Two of them had to be replaced. Cost $800”

Patricia M., MI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“repaired idle control valve myself, dealer couldn't fix”

Anonymous, TX (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

“Fusing of catalitic converters after replacement of all six ignition cables”

Janet K., ON (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“Had the transmission replaced with a new transmission and not even a year later had to pay labor again to have that one replaced”

Rita P., NJ (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“In the end we had a rebuilt transmission installed”

Thom S., CA (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)

“trans started slipping badly, and wouldn't move”

Anonymous, IN (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“1st gear went out”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

“loss of ability to increase speed rapidly”

Janet K., ON (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Spark plugs or wires failure

“multiple ignition coil failures (2 of 6 cylinders)”

Anonymous, IL (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)

“The alternator failed. It was covered in oil. Because it is a 4WD the mechanic practically had to take the car apart to replace the alternator. Engine may still leak”

Anonymous, OR (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)
Coil

“all the coils needed replacing at a little less than 100000 miles. Was hard to diagnose and completely unexpected by the service center.....and costly”

Jane M., CA (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)
Electronic ignition

“Difficulty with the car even starting”

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Power steering leaks

“Fluid is leaking, but I just keep refilling it and it is fine”

Roxanne L., CO (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Power steering pump main seal leaked...major job to replace the pump”

Michael H., NY (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Loud noise when hitting road dips or bumps”

Jerad H., IN (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)
Springs or torsion bars

“Torsion bar link rods pivot bearings became loose/worn causing clunking sound over bumps. Replaced with new aftermarket parts. Issue is corrected”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“high temp guage reading, coolant was low, turned out water pump needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“Multitude of rattles in dash and console”

Kerry N., TX (2004 Ford Escape Limited 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“the mirror make noise”

Anonymous, GA (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

“the screws holding the hatch window rusted out,causing the glass to fall out”

Anonymous, WI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)
Sunroof

“MOTOR WENT OUT”

Anonymous, IL (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“stopped working; had to be repaired”

Anonymous, NM (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

“DRL module failed, took out all electric system”

Anonymous, MB (2004 Ford Escape Limited 3.0-L V6)

“This is my son's vehicle, but I will occasionally use. Last night on my way home from work, I noticed that the headlights, would occasionally dim slightly. I'm a little concerned and intend to further investigate the cause of this, as I do not want m”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

“Transmission was slipping and would not seem to stay in any gear”

Thom S., CA (2004 Ford Escape XLS 3.0-L V6)
Transmission leaks

“The transmission leaks and drips on hot exhaust pipe resulting in smelly fumes; both rear differential seals leak, need replacing for the third time”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

“Was leaking done into the engine compartment”

Mike R., NV (2004 Ford Escape XLT 3.0-L V6)

“The leftg head Gasket was severly leaking needed a replacement”

Taylor H., NV (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Radiator

“radiator leaked and had to be replaced”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Ford Escape Unsure 3.0-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

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