Escape is to the compact SUV class what the Explorer is to the mid-size SUV segment:
the sales king. The Mazda Tribute, on the other hand, is somewhat overlooked,
despite being the a virtually identical twin to the Ford. Both, however, boast
the same positive attributes that make them so popular with so many folks around
of course, is subjective. But it's hard to find fault with the aesthetics of this
dynamic duo, particularly in the case of the sassy Tribute. The Escape wears spunkier,
boxier duds, completely appropriate for this class of vehicle. Both feature rear
liftgates with glass windows that open independently.
the two are barely distinguishable from each other, which isn't a bad thing considering
how straightforward their ergonomics are, as well as how nicely equipped they
are for the money. Both offer leather seats, premium sound systems and power amenities.
Materials have been upgraded for 2003, and new this year on the Escape is a Limited
trim level which adds big wheels, side air bags and color-keyed bumpers.
the hood is your choice of two powertrains mated to either front- or four-wheel
drive. A 130-HP four-cylinder comes only with a five-speed manual transmission,
delivering fuel economy but not much performance. The torquey 200-HP V-6 comes
with an automatic transmission only, making it the one to get if you do a lot
of city driving. Noteworthy is that this fall, America's first hybrid-powered
SUV comes to market in the fall as an '04 model, boasting V-6-level performance
whilst returning up to 40 mpg.