ICOTY Awards - SUV
Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute
often tell us that they want an SUV that has space and looks,
yet is not big or unwieldy. They want power, but dont
want to shell out a ton of cash for gas. Oh, and it has
to be affordable, they say. Well, until now, wed just
shrug and say we havent much of an answer for all
these conflicting purposes. That all changed last summer,
Ford and Mazda jointly hit the nail on the head.
Escape and the Tribute are virtual twins under the skin, although the Mazda is
tuned with a slight bias toward sporty handling next to the Ford. All else mechanical
they share, and both are admirably car-like in their road manners. Power can be
provided by your choice of a frisky four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual transmission,
or a smooth (200 horsepower!) V-6 mated to a five-speed automatic.
interiors have more space than youd expect in this
price range, and can be outfitted with leather seats, a
power moonroof and an in-dash CD changer. Other cool things
include the cool pull-down bike rack that makes loading
your bikes a cinch. The Escape and the Tribute are so good,
in fact, that they risk cannibalizing sales from Fords
popular Explorer (although that could change when the all-new
Explorer comes off the line this Spring). In the meantime,
just consider these fraternal twins the best of all worlds.