2001-2007 Ford Escape

2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007


Rick Carlton

Rick Carlton has served as a professional automotive/motorsports journalist, writer, researcher, editor, and publisher for thirty years. He has also served as a press/media consultant for a range of professional motorsports organizations. He contributed several vehicle profile articles to Crutchfield's Research Garage.

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This article is an overview of your vehicle's audio system and its upgrade options. If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on how to install a car stereo or speakers in your Escape, there's nothing better than our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™. This detailed, well-illustrated document is free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for $9.99.
2001 Ford Escape

2001 Ford Escape (Crutchfield Research Photo)


The first-generation Ford Escape (and its sibling, the Mercury Mariner, to which all of the following info can be applied) was a phenomenally popular trucklet that took the small SUV market by storm. Developed in collaboration with Mazda, who also sold the same basic vehicle as the Tribute, the Escape was a spacious, comfortable SUV that, when equipped with the optional a 3-liter V6, had all the power needed (and a little bit more) for daily driving or weekend towing duties.

The same, alas, can't be said of the factory stereos, which weren't great to begin with and haven't improved with age. The Escape is reasonably easy to work on, though, so you should have a lot of fun upgrading your entertainment system. With plenty of room for people, bikes, camping gear, and whatever else you need, the Escape is a handy vehicle to have around. And once you upgrade the stereo, it'll also be a nice place to be.

Factory audio system

The Escape came with two entertainment options: the base system and the Mach system. The options changed a little from 2001 to 2007, but in general the Mach system added an amplifier, a subwoofer built into the rear side panel, and (starting in 2004) tweeters in the front doors.

Replacing your factory radio

Ford Escape factory stereo

The base factory radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The Escape's base system centered around an AM/FM/cassette/CD receiver through 2003, then switched over to an AM/FM receiver with a built-in 6-disc CD changer in 2004.

The opening in the dash looks like a double-DIN slot, but is actually a little smaller. A single-DIN aftermarket car stereo fits right in there with the help of a mounting kit. A double-DIN kit is also available, but you'll need to modify the Escape’s sub-dash to accommodate the new receiver. As a result, you will not be able to re-install the original Ford radio after making these modifications.

Taking the receiver out of the dash is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require much effort aside from insuring that you don’t mar the plastic dash trim as the pieces come off the dash assembly. Once you have the receiver out, the dash cavity offers better than 9" in depth, so almost any car stereo will fit in here. However, bear in mind that the heater box does offer some obstruction at the back of the cavity, so take care when you're shoving everything into place.

You'll need a set of DIN tools to remove the original radio — you poke these U-shaped tools into the front of the Ford radio and  it'll pop right out. A harness is also available that lets you connect the new car stereo without having to cut off the plug that connected to the Ford radio. The mounting kit, DIN tools, and harness are available at a deep discount with your Crutchfield stereo purchase.

Ford Escape factory radio Mach system

Factory radio in the 2004-up Mach system (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing the radio in the Mach system is just about the same as with the basic system, but the amplifier in the upgraded system adds a couple of wrinkles.

First, you'll need the right harness to connect your new car stereo to the Ford amp, which is available at a special proce with most receiver orders from Crutchfield. You'll also want to select a car stereo that features dedicated subwoofer preamp outputs in order to get the best performance from the Mach system's factory subwoofer.

Finally, the Ford amp is used to getting a 5-volt signal from the stock radio, so the 12-volt signal from a new stereo will cause an audible (and annoying) thump every time you turn on the vehicle. You'll need to purchase an inexpensive 12-volt to 5-volt adapter to cure this problem. Trust us, it's worth every penny.

Tools needed:  Small flat-blade screwdriver, DIN tools

Shop for car stereos that fit your Ford Escape

Replacing your speakers

ford escape front door

Front door speaker location (Crutchfield Research Photo)

In vehicles equipped with the base system, the front and rear doors hold 4-ohm 6"x8" speakers, located way down low in the door panels.

There are only six steps required to get the front-door panel off the door, then remove and replace the front speakers. You have plenty of room in those doors, so a wide selection of speakers will fit. You can also install 5-1/4" speakers with the help of a mounting bracket. Harnesses are available for both doors so you don't have to cut off the factory plugs.

Since the speakers are down by your feet, you should consider component speakers up front to raise the soundstage to a more satisfying level. Installing the tweeters in the sail panels involves a bit of customization, but it's worth it. It'll sound like someone removed a blanket from your speaker system.

ford escape front door speaker

Factory speaker in the front (Crutchfield Research Photo)

With the Mach system, speaker replacement is identical to the non-Mach setup, except that Ford added a 2-5/8"  tweeter to each of the front doors beginning in 2004. You can pry off the sail panels with a panel tool, so removing the tweeters is pretty simple. You'll have to fashion some kind of mounting bracket to hold the new tweeters, but that's not difficult. We suggest getting a couple of our universal backstraps to help with the job. They can be bent or cut to the size and shape you need. A wiring harness isn't available for this tweeter location, so you'll have to cut off the factory plugs to attach the wires to your new tweeters.

ford escape factory tweeter

Factory tweeter location in the 2004-up Escape (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Tools needed:  Phillips screwdriver, small flat-blade screwdriver, panel tool, 7/32" socket, ratchet and extension

Shop for speakers that fit your Ford Escape

Bass in your Ford Escape

ford escapr factory sub and amp location

Factory sub and amp location (Crutchfield Research Photo)

In the Mach system, you'll find an 8" subwoofer in a plastic enclosure behind the rear quarter panel. Replacing it is easy, but you'll need to drill some new holes for the mounting screws. The factory sub is a dual 1.3-ohm voice coil model, so you'll lose a lot of volume if you replace it with a DVC sub with a higher impedance. If you're going to go in that direction, you should also replace the sub's amplifier.

ford escape subwoofer and amplifier

A closer look at the sub and amp (Crutchfield Research Photo)

You'll find several custom-fit subwoofer choices for the Ford Escape from MTX and JL Audio. The MTX ThunderForm is a loaded enclosure carrying a 12" woofer that fits right into the driver's side rear quarterpanel. JL Audio’s StealthBox is a loaded enclosure carrying a 10" woofer that drops into the same spot. MTX also offers an unloaded enclosure that will hold a 12" woofer of your choice.

JL Audio Stealthbox

JL Audio Stealthbox (JL Audio photo)

Shop for vehicle-specific subwoofers for your Ford Escape

More Options

Security systems

Installing a security system in your 99999 isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.

iPod® adapters

If you're keeping your factory radio, most (but not all) models work with Peripheral's iPod adapter, so you can use your Ford radio to control your playlist.


A Dynamat Xtreme Door Kit is the perfect way to seal in sound. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference. One kit will take care of the front doors in your Escape.

Good, Better, Best

Good: The Ford speakers sit very low in the Escape's doors. Pick out some nice speakers and you'll notice a big difference. If you're keeping the factory amp, go for speakers that are especially efficient, preferably with superior dome tweeters. And you won't regret installing component speakers in the front doors when you hear all the musical details front and center.

Better: Once you've upgraded the speakers, look for a nice receiver with Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora® Internet radio controls, and other modern features.

Best: To cap off your system, add an amplifier and a subwoofer. If you've installed components in the front doors, consider a 4-channel amp to drive them and the rear speakers, and then add an amplified custom-fit sub in the back.

  • LSwain from FL

    Posted on 5/21/2015 11:30:46 PM

    I have the standard system with the 6 CD changer which I believed to be standard equipment in the 2002. I have the DIN tools but the receiver does not pop up - it doesn't even move. The CDs don't eject so I want to replace it with an OEM system but I can't even get it out to see the serial number to buy another one. It is NOT the Mach system. Any ideas?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/22/2015 9:23:30 AM

    Aside from "jiggle it a little more," (which probably isn't helpful) our best advice is to enter your vehicle information on our site and order a Crutchfield MasterSheet for your truck. The radio removal diagrams might come in handy. You could also check out an Escape owners' forum to see if other folks have run into this same issue. Good luck!

  • J. Bedell from 98311

    Posted on 5/25/2015 2:15:28 PM

    I have a stock system in my 2001 Escape. It is fine for me but the LED display gave up on me. How does one go about getting that fixed? I am assuming it is fairly common.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/26/2015 10:18:27 AM

    Not sure if it's common or not, but you're dealing with a 14 year-old radio, so it's certainly not surprising. Is it fixable? Maybe, but if you're going to take it out of the dash to see what's wrong, you might as well replace it with a new receiver that not only works, but works better. All in all, that's a better expenditure of your time and money.


    Posted on 5/26/2015 11:00:58 AM

    My neighbor has a 2007 Escape with the Mach system. She wants to get an external audio input, but someone told her it would ruin the sound! Is this true or would it be ok to get an external input?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/26/2015 1:52:12 PM

    Unless she can find an add-on designed to work with that Ford system, she actually does run the danger of introducing noise to the system. Alas, we don't carry any such item. For what it's worth, she could install a new stereo, which would add one or more inputs and probably give her better overall sound. But if she has the hybrid Escape with a navigation stereo, we don't recommend replacing that stereo due to the complexity of the system.

  • ngzcaz from United States

    Posted on 6/16/2015 2:44:02 PM

    I have a 2007 Escape. I'm 60 plus and still enjoy music in all forms. Nothing wrong with my stock system but my grandson put a dandy in dash unit replacing his radio with the nav system, back up camera, bluetooth etc etc... I would have replaced the whole system but local prices have me sighing. I at least want a b/u camera which would also entail buying a monitor. I'd like to spend $ 500 give or take a bit. Any ideas ?? ( I particularly am sensitive to the not being able to reinstall the stock radio. Is that true in all cases ) ?? Thanks

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/16/2015 3:10:01 PM

    There are some good solutions out there for your Escape. We sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, so they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat. Good luck!

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/16/2015 3:10:05 PM

    There are some good solutions out there for your Escape. We sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, so they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat. Good luck!

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