The Ford Escape is intended to be for customers who don't need the extra space and size from the larger Ford Explorer. While cargo room and towing capacity are lower, the Escape is the preferred vehicle for basic around the town duties. It is a stylish alternative to a more conventional station wagon and the competition took notice. A few years before its release, Toyota launched its RAV4 and Honda its CR-V.
Ford recognized an emerging market in the small SUV. Since that time, sales have dramatically increased for this segment. As fuel prices began to rise significantly in recent years, customers took note and began to look for alternative utility vehicles. The Escape, with its available Hybrid configuration, is proving to be a valuable moneymaker for Ford.