Should You Take the 2010 Ford Escape Off-Road?

The 2010 Ford Escape is a great city vehicle but it’s not a good off-road companion—here’s why the Escape doesn’t stack up to other off-road warriors.
Written by Matt Nightingale
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The 2010 Ford Escape is great for city and highway driving, but those in search of a rock-crawling companion should keep searching.
A good off-road vehicle is your gateway to total freedom. But, how can you tell which vehicles are ready for the rough and tumble trails and which vehicles just look like it?
Here to unpack the off-road specs of the 2010
Escape is car insurance comparison
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Can the 2010 Ford Escape go off-road?

Despite its appearances, we wouldn’t recommend taking the 2010 Ford Escape very far off the paved city paths. While it does hit some important markers, ultimately the 2010 Ford Escape is a city slicker, meant more for smooth streets than country backroads.
Starting at $21,020, the 2010 Escape offers a smooth ride with a bevy of gadgets such as phone integration and a navigation system to make your city commute enjoyable. But, ironically, if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the Ford Escape is not the get-away car you need.
Here’s a breakdown of the Ford Escape’s most important off-road specs. 

Ground clearance

Ground clearance is of the utmost importance for off-roading. Ground clearance is the distance between the ground and the lowest point of your vehicle’s chassis. In short, this measurement tells you what sized object you can pass over without causing any damage to your car.
Off-road veterans stress a minimum ground clearance of 6.6 inches for even the most basic gravel road excursions. For more difficult off-roading like overland treks or serious rock crawling, experts recommend a ground clearance of 8.8 and 10.8 inches respectively.
The 2010 Ford Escape has a ground clearance of 8.4 inches, which is enough to get you safely down a dirt road, but if you’re looking to go anywhere more remote, you’ll either need to make some modifications to your Escape or look for another SUV with better clearance. 


Another important spec when it comes to off-roading is torque. Torque is the vehicle’s ability to turn its wheels when facing resistance. The 2010 Escape features a 2.5-liter 171-horsepower four-cylinder engine that produces 171 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. That’s not great.
With that kind of torque, we’d be a little worried about getting stuck or losing control when your Escape finally gets traction with your engine revving at 4500 rpm.


Traction is super important when venturing off-road, and tires play an important role in maintaining traction. All-terrain tires are the tread of choice for off-road aficionados. The chunkier treads and reinforced sidewalls make them more resilient and capable of grabbing onto surfaces that traditional all-season tires cannot.
The 2010 Ford Escape came with 16-inch all-season tires, but you can instantly improve its off-road capabilities by replacing them with a set of all-terrain tires.


Four-wheel or all-wheel drive is a must for off-roading. These types of drive trains supply power to all four wheels giving your vehicle maximum traction. The 2010 Ford Escape was made available in both six-speed automatic front-wheel and four-wheel drive variations, so if you’re heading off-road, make sure you’ve got yourself a model equipped with 4WD.


It is extremely important to know your angles if you plan to take your Ford Escape off-road, particularly your approach angle and your departure angle: 
  • Approach angle is the measure of the steepest ramp that a vehicle can climb without contacting the ramp with its front end.
  • Departure angle is the steepest angle of a ramp that a vehicle can safely descend and depart without scraping its back end on the ramp.
The Ford Escape’s 19.3-inch approach angle and 28.3-inch departure angle do not bode well for anything more than basic gravel road driving. If you descend down a ramp with an incline steeper than 28.3 inches, for example, you run the risk of your back end getting stuck off the ground as your rear bumper rests on the ramp, leaving your rear tires spinning in the air.

Off-road rating: In a Pinch

We’ve assessed the 2010 Ford Escape’s off-roading abilities using Jerry’s hyper-scientific DIRT rating system outlined here:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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The 2010 Ford Escape has earned an I rating. Although it may look like a lean, mean, off-roading machine, the 2010 Escape is best suited for city streets and the occasional gravel road. With limited power and torque, unforgiving angles, and limited ground clearance, you’re more likely to get trapped than you are to escape.
MORE: Ford Edge vs. Ford Escape: An SUV comparison
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The best off-road alternatives to the 2010 Ford Escape

The 2010 Ford Escape is decent for city and highway driving, but it may not be the right vehicle for you. Maybe you want something more off-road-ready—or, maybe you want something that’s a little easier on the environment. Either way, we’ve compiled a list of the best alternatives to the 2010 Ford Escape no matter what you’re looking for.
Best affordable alternative
2007 Mercury Mariner
With 4WD, a 153-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, and 193lb-ft of torque, you’ll have a similarly capable SUV for $4500 cheaper
Best eco-friendly alternative
2010 Ford Escape Hybrid
You’ll lose torque, ground clearance, and departure angle with the hybrid version of the 2010 Escape, but you’ll see a great improvement in fuel economy—32mpg combined—which is good news for your wallet and the planet
Best alternative for serious off-roading
2010 Jeep Wrangler
If you really want to go where no one has gone before, get yourself a Jeep Wrangler. With approach and departure angles of 37.5 and 40.6 respectively, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and 240 lb-ft of torque, the Wrangler truly is king of the off-road vehicles.
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

One of the pitfalls to owning an off-vehicle is that they tend to be more expensive to insure. Off-roading brings a lot of risks, and insurance companies hedge their bets by raising insurance rates for off-road vehicle owners. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find a good deal on car insurance.
Just get
Jerry is a car insurance comparison app. All you have to do is download the app and enter your information. Then Jerry gets down to business, comparing your car insurance policy with coverage available from over 55 top insurance providers.
You’ll be able to see all the most competitive quotes, and because Jerry is a licensed insurance broker, you can even switch insurance providers right in the app. And this is not a one-time thing. Whenever it’s time to renew your policy, Jerry does it again, getting you all the best quotes so you’ll always have the best available rate.
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