The Ford Escape is a compact crossover vehicle sold by Ford since 2000 over three generations. Ford released the original model in 2000 for the 2001 model year—a model jointly developed and released with Mazda of Japan—who took a lead in the engineering of the two models and sold their version as the Mazda Tribute. Although the Escape and Tribute share the same underpinnings constructed from the Ford CD2 platform (based on Mazda GF underpinnings), the only panels common to the two vehicles are the roof and floor pressings. Powertrains were supplied by Mazda with respect to the base inline-four engine, with Ford providing the optional V6. At first, the twinned models were assembled by Ford in the US for North American consumption, with Mazda in Japan supplying cars for other markets. This followed a long history of Mazda-derived Fords, starting with the Ford Courier in the 1970s. Ford also sold the first generation Escape in Europe and China as the Ford Maverick, replacing the previous Nissan-sourced model. Then in 2004, for the 2005 model year, Ford's luxury Mercury division released a rebadged version called the Mercury Mariner, sold mainly in North America. The first iteration Escape remains notable as the first SUV to offer a hybrid drivetrain option, released in 2004 for the 2005 model year to North American markets only.
Mainstream production of the first generation Escape/Tribute ended in late 2006. For Asia-Pacific markets, both received respective facelifts in 2006 and had production fully transferred to Ford Lio Ho in Taiwan. Extended production of the Mazda lasted until 2010, with the Ford lingering on until 2012.
Second generations of the Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, and Mazda Tribute were released in 2007 for the 2008 model year, but mostly restricted to North America. In other markets, the first generation models were either replaced by updated first series versions built in Taiwan, and/or by the unrelated Mazda CX-7 (2006) and Ford Kuga (2008). The North American second generations were merely reskins of the first, with carry-over mechanicals, but with restyled hanging panels and a redesigned interior. Unlike the collaborative approach taken with the previous model, this time the design and engineering was carried out by Ford. A hybrid option was again available. The Mercury version lasted until late 2010, withdrawn from the market as part of the closure of the Mercury brand, with Mazda's Tribute ending production in late 2011. Ford ended manufacture of the second series Escape in 2012.
Ford released a third generation in 2012 for the 2013 model year, again, limited to North America. This time, rather than issuing an indigenous, albeit Mazda-derived model, Ford merged the Escape with the Ford Kuga designed in Europe. Although still manufactured in the US, and fitted with slightly different powertrains, the third generation Escape is fully aligned with the Kuga as per the "One Ford" plan of having only one vehicle per segment internationally.