2008 Ford Escape Towing Capacity (A Guide + Charts)

The 2008 Ford Escape was definitely not a powerhouse when it came to its towing capacity, but it still had a respectable rating of up to 3,500 pounds, if your vehicle I had the correct options equipped from the factory.

On the flip side of that, some models were only able to achieve a mere 1,000 pound rating, which is a huge gap so you need to know what options you needed to have on your vehicle in order to achieve those higher ratings.

Read through your owner's manual, because it is the most valuable resource that you have for your SUV and adhere to all of Ford's recommendations and requirements.

2008 Escape Overview

Overall Capacity: The overall towing capacity for the 2008 Ford Escape ranged from 1,500-3,500 pounds and the main variable that affected the capacity ratings was the engine that you had equipped in your vehicle. The 3.0 liter engine gave you a huge advantage over the 2.3 liter engine, especially if you had the optional trailer tow package equipped.

Capacity By Trim Levels: There were only four different trim levels available for the 2008 models and I wanted to look at the different trim level options to try to get a maximum trailer weight rating range for each trim level based on the engine and transmission configuration that was available for each trim level. 

The XLT and limited trim levels were the only two trim levels that were able to have the larger 3.0 liter engine equipped, so they had a maximum trailer weight rating of up to 3,500 pounds. The XLS manual and XLS trim levels came with the 2.3 liter engine, so they were only able to achieve a 1,500 pound rating.

  • XLS (Manual Transmission): 1,500 lbs.
  • XLS:1,500 lbs.
  • XLT: 1,500-3,500 lbs.
  • Limited: 3,500 lbs.
2008 Escape Trim Levels and Engine Options

⚫ Standard ⚪ Optional — Not Available

By Engine Options: If we compare the two different engines and the maximum trailer weight ratings that are assigned to each of those engines, we can see that the 3.0 liter engines had a massive 2,000 pound advantage over the 2.3 liter engine when we look at the standard models and a 2,500 pound advantage over the hybrid models that used the 2.3 liter engine.

  • 2.3L (Hybrid) (4 cylinder): 1,000 lbs.
  • 2.3L (4 cylinder): 1,500 lbs.
  • 3.0L (V6): 3,500 lbs.

The Tow Chart:

The towing chart for the 2008 Escapes looked a lot like the other model years around this time and in fact a lot of the data was even the same in the charts when we look at the maximum loaded trailer weight ratings that are listed on the right-hand side of the chart.

The engine options are listed on the left-hand side, followed by the axle ratios, which were all the same for each variation. Next to the axle ratios we find the gross combined weight ratings listed for both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models and the chart is also divided up into automatic transmission models which are shown at the top of the chart and manual transmission models which are shown at the bottom portion of the table area.

There are also some additional notes at the bottom of the chart that apply to the hybrid models and models that are equipped with the 2.3 liter engine.

2008 Ford Escape Towing Chart
2008 Escape Trailer Tow Package Availability

⚫ Standard ⚪ Optional — Not Available

Ford MTW Definition

What You Need To Know About Your SUV To Get Your Maximum Trailer Rating:

There are a few different things that you need to know about your vehicle in order to get your maximum trailer weight ratings from the chart and I decided to go ahead and make the graphic you see below on where you can find these different elements in the chart itself, in order to line up your vehicle specific details with the information in the chart.

Escape Chart Explained
  • Standard or Hybrid model - It should be pretty apparent to most people whether they have a hybrid model or just a standard gasoline powered model.
  • The engine you had equipped - You need to know whether you had the 3.0 liter engine equipped or the 2.3 liter engine equipped, as it was the main factor that affected the capacity numbers in the chart.
  • Front wheel drive or four wheel drive - Usually the four-wheel drive models will have a button somewhere in/on the dash that you push in order to engage the four-wheel drive and chances are if you don't have one of these, you probably have a front-wheel drive model.
  • Automatic or manual transmission - You will also need to know whether you have an automatic or manual transmission equipped on your vehicle.

A lot of the information I talked about above can be found using the VIN of your vehicle by plugging in it into a website like this one that will decode your VIN and give you all types of useful information about the specifics of your vehicle.

2008 Escape Trailer Tow Packages...

There was a trailer tow package that was available for the 2008 models and was referred to as package 536 for these vehicles and came with a couple of different accessories that allowed you to pull the trailer behind your vehicle.

I went ahead and took a screenshot of what equipment is included in this package and if we look at the data below highlighted in red, we can see that it included a 4 pin trailer wiring harness, a hitch receiver and an automatic transmission cooler.

Hitch Receiver Weight Limits: There was also another chart I found that talks about the maximum hitch weight limits, but it did not apply to these SUVs, as their maximum trailer weight rating was set at 3,500 pounds.

Ford Escape Receiver Hitch Capacity

Trailer Brakes: Trailer brakes are important if you're planning on pulling heavier weights with your trailer and in fact they are required in certain states. Each state will have specific trailer weight recommendations in regards to using trailer brakes.

You will typically see most states require trailer brakes on trailers that weigh 1,000 to 2,000 pounds and you will need to verify that you are compliant with not only state regulations, but also federal regulations as well.

2005 Escape Trailer Brake Warning

Now The Certification Label...

Ford Certification Label

GVWR & GAWRs: When I was looking through the resources I have posted at the bottom of this article, I realized that the gross vehicle weight ratings and the gross axle weight ratings were not listed anywhere. 

Instead, these metrics can be found on the safety certification label, which is shown above and towards the top of the label is where you will find these two figures. The label itself can be found on the driver side door pillar (or the door itself sometimes) and will look very similar to the one I have pictured.

GCWR: The gross combined weight rating was provided in the charts for us which makes finding these figures very easy and convenient and are listed for both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models.

Axle Code: Another thing that could be found on the certification label is the axle code that is located at the bottom of this label and it will contain a 2-digit code that you can use to decipher which axle ratio is used on your rear axle. For these vehicles, the axle ratios were all the same set at 2.93, so we do not need to decipher the actual codes, but I thought I'd mention it since it was located on the certification label two.

Helpful Resources I Used For My Research:

All the links you see below are the resources I used when gathering the information for this particular article and they all came in very handy for the information that I needed.

The owner's manual has just about everything I required, but the guide was a better resource, as the information was better organized and easier to display. The brochure really broke down the different trim levels and what options were available for those trim levels.

Last updated on May 5th, 2022 at 06:08 pm

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