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2012 Ford Escape Review

The 2012 Ford Escape has a spacious cabin with plenty of available features, but its plastic-heavy interior, rough ride, and low crash test scores push it to the bottom half of our compact SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Good fuel economy
  • High-tech available features
  • Ample rear-seat legroom
  • Limited standard features
  • Low-grade interior
  • Competitors offer tighter handling




Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 7.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 8.1
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Ford Escape Overview

Is the 2012 Ford Escape a Good Used SUV?

The 2012 Ford Escape is a so-so compact SUV, especially for those on a tight budget. The Escape has some of the lowest operating costs in its segment thanks in part to good fuel economy estimates. On the downside, the Escape has poor crash test results, and its interior quality and handling abilities don’t match those of rivals like the 2012 Honda CR-V.

Compare the Escape and CR-V »

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 50 professional evaluations for this 2012 Ford Escape review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers, and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2012 Ford Escape?

Our site has more than 800 listings for the 2012 Escape, with an average price of about $11,000. Prices range from about $8,000 to roughly $14,900, and they vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2012 Ford Escape Cost to Own?

Five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2012 Ford Escape are estimated to be $21,344. These are below-average ownership costs for a compact SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Escape?

The 2019 Ford Escape is a better SUV overall than the 2012 model, but if you’re on a budget, there is no compelling reason to break the bank for the newer model. The 2018 Escape is part of a generation that began with the 2013 model year. While the 2018 Escape has more cargo space, a standard rearview camera, and smartphone integration, its starting price of $24,105 is difficult to justify for those on a tight budget.

Read about the new Ford Escape »

No new SUV is available for the average price of a 2012 Escape.

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Which Model Year of the Ford Escape Is Best?

For the Escape, 2012 was the last model year before a complete redesign for 2013. Though it costs more, the 2013 Escape is worth the extra money. It has more cargo space and better highway fuel economy. It also adds steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a standard six-speed automatic transmission. If the higher cost fits your budget, you might consider the 2014 Escape for its standard rearview camera and SYNC voice recognition.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Escape »

How Reliable Is the 2012 Ford Escape?

J.D. Power gives the 2012 Ford Escape a reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Escape reliability »

2012 Ford Escape Recalls

As of this writing, the 2012 Ford Escape has two open recalls. The first is for a fuel delivery module that may crack and cause a fuel leak, and the second recall is for a front wheel bearing that has the wrong dimensions. Make sure any safety related recalls are taken care of before buying a used vehicle.

See more information on Ford Escape safety recalls »

Which Used Make Ford Escape Is Right for Me?

If you’re set on a 2012 Escape, the base trim is your best bet, despite its limited standard features. It comes with cloth seats, a four-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input jack, and the Ford MyKey system, which allows you to do things like set speed and volume limits for secondary drivers.

For many, the features in the higher trim levels don’t add much value to a used SUV of this age, but it’s good to know what they offer. The XLT trim adds a standard six-speed automatic transmission, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and satellite radio. The top-of-the-line Limited trim features leather seats, heated front seats, and the Ford SYNC voice-activated connectivity system, which critics hold in low regard.

See 2012 Ford Escape trims and specs »

How Safe Is the Escape?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2012 Escape three out of five stars for the front, side, and rollover crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2012 Escape the highest rating of Good for the moderate overlap front, side, and rear crash tests. However, the Escape earned the second-lowest rating of Marginal for the roof strength test.

The 2012 Escape is available with a rearview camera, parallel park assist, and front and rear park assist.

See Escape safety scores »

2012 Ford Escape Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2012 Ford Escape or 2012 Honda CR-V?

The 2012 Honda CR-V is a better SUV overall than the 2012 Escape. The CR-V has more engine power and a smoother ride than the Escape, as well as almost 6 more cubic feet of cargo space. The Honda also offers standard Bluetooth phone integration, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and a rearview camera. The 2012 CR-V has an almost-perfect safety rating, while the 2012 Escape has low crash test results for the class.

Which Is Better: 2012 Ford Escape or 2012 Chevrolet Equinox?                 

Even though the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox has higher ownership costs and less cargo space, it’s a better choice than the 2012 Escape. The Chevy has more rear legroom, and its rear seat slides forward and back for added versatility. The ride is also smoother in the Equinox, and it has nicer interior materials and a much higher safety rating than the Escape.

Compare the Escape, CR-V, and Equinox »

2012 Escape Performance

How Does the 2012 Ford Escape Drive?

The 2012 Ford Escape has a trucklike ride and doesn’t handle as well as some rivals. The Escape’s standard 171-horsepower four-cylinder engine offers sufficient power for everyday commuting. A 240-horsepower V6 engine is available on some trims, and it’s the better choice if you’re going to be towing with the Escape. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission is available.

Does the 2012 Ford Escape Get Good Gas Mileage?

Fuel economy numbers are good for the 2012 Escape. The base model with front-wheel drive and the six-speed automatic transmission delivers 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The four-wheel-drive Escape is rated at 20/26 mpg city/highway.

2012 Ford Escape Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the 2012 Escape can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about Escape performance »

2012 Escape Interior

How Many People Does the 2012 Escape Seat?

The 2012 Escape seats five on standard cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat are available. The Escape’s cabin materials have a low-end look and feel. To make interior matters worse, it can be difficult to find a comfortable position with the standard manually adjustable driver’s seat.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2012 Ford Escape?

The 2012 Escape has complete sets of LATCH systems connectors in all three second-row seats.

2012 Ford Escape Features

Standard features include a four-speaker stereo system, an auxiliary input jack, and the Ford MyKey system, which allows parents to do things like set speed and volume controls for secondary drivers.

Available features include a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, Ford SYNC with Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo system, a seven-speaker stereo system, satellite radio, and a voice-activated navigation system. Since Bluetooth standards have changed over the years, you’ll want to test out the SYNC system with your phone before you purchase.

A rearview camera, parallel park assist, and front and rear park assist are also available.

See 2012 Ford Escape specs »

Read more about Escape interior »

2012 Ford Escape Dimensions

Ford Escape Cargo Space

There is 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the 2012 Escape’s back seats, and 67.2 cubic feet with the second row folded. These figures are about average for a compact SUV.

2012 Escape Length and Weight

The 2012 Ford Escape is 14.6-feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,268 to 3,477 pounds, depending on how it is equipped.

Where Was the 2012 Ford Escape Built?

Ford manufactured the 2012 Escape in Missouri.

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