The all-new 2013 Ford Escape is on dealership lots, and besides sporting a new look it also has a new suite of engines and cool technologies that make this little SUV a big bargain. After I just spent a week with the 2013 Ford Escape, I came away reasonably impressed, but not blown away. Here’s why.
The interior of the Escape is suave, and is made from great materials that don’t feel cheap. The seats are a mixture of leather and cloth. The dash is topped with a durable heavy rubber/plastic that looks rugged and not cheap. The console and instrument panel are covered in shiny graphite-colored plastic. The interior lighting’s color is adjustable through the My Ford Touch entertainment system.
The rear seat isn’t large, but the seats recline and can be moved back & forth to create more cargo room in the trunk. Two car seats fit well in the back, and both of my boys were able to watch their after-market DVD players which strap to the headrests. The 4-year old liked it because the seat back was closer and he could actually touch the buttons on the player.
As a large adult, the backseat is not a place where I want to spend a lot of time. The rear seat room is acceptable, but didn’t blow me away. It works very well for kids, but if your children are about to become blossoming teenagers it’s going to be a much tighter fit.
Overall, I liked the Escape’s interior materials and fabrics. A number of the materials, including the seats, are made from either bio-materials or recycled bottles.
The redesigned styling of the Escape is an upgrade over the box-like shape of the past. The 2013 Escape looks great; the best in the segment in my opinion. It’s aggressive, far more aggressive than competition like the GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Tucson. I like the looks of the Escape the best. It does look a little car-ish, compared to larger SUV’s, but I think it looks great for a CUV.
The front end looks like it might need to attend a Rage-aholics Anonymous. The shape of the nose and front grille share geometric characteristics with the Focus and Fiesta. There are LED day running lights just under the HID headlamps.
The side of the Escape has a sharp definitive line down the side that attracts the eye. The lines of the side lead you to a curvy, yet still angular and sharp back end.
The 2013 Ford Escape is loaded with tech, and this is where is really rises above the competition. There is Curve Control, which brakes the appropriate wheel when the car feels you’re travelling too fast to make it around the corner. ABS (Anti-lock brakes), airbags everywhere, and Blind Spot Warning system are just a few of the Escape’s many systems to keep you alive and on the road.
The information center in the instrument cluster is helpful and easy to navigate. It has a digital readout of the cruise speed set, two trip computers and an overall vehicle health check. The graphic I left up the most was the representation of the Intelligent 4WD system, so I could see which tires were pushing and when.
There is Touch Me Ford MyFord Touch. This system works when you spend a lot of time with it, but it can be irritating to new users or stupid non-intelligent users. I am repeatedly frustrated by button sensitivity and always have a longing for analog buttons, but younger users may find using it almost second nature.
“Sweep the leg, Johnny!” I found myself either mumbling this or shouting it every time I used the leg sweep option to open the back of the Escape. I’m completely on-board with this kind of tech. It makes it so much easier to carry a bunch of useless very important items to the car and not drop it all to get the trunk open.
There are multiple options to get the back hatch open. The leg sweep, the button on the center console, and the button on the key fob all open and close the trunk. The trunk itself even has a button on it that allows you to close it. This button also allows you to set the opening height for the vertically challenge among us. All in all, Ford put a lot of thought into opening the rear hatch of the new Escape.
One low tech piece that I wish was still included was hooks along the top of the cargo area for dry-cleaning. If you have kids in the backseat and a double stroller in the back, then the only places for your clothes you just paid to have cleaned and is next to the your kid’s sticky fingers or on top of the stroller. Not a killer flaw, just a quirk.
The reading and dome lights are white LEDs, which are bright, clear, and will last forever. The lights accentuate a comfortable and spacious interior. The HID headlamps really light up the road with a wide spread bright white light.
The stereo in the Escape is noisy, but the good kind. I actually turned the volume all the way up. It didn’t say “11,” but it definitely sounded like it. The Sirius/XM Death Metal that was flowing through the 10 Sony speakers and dual-channel subwoofer was loud. It made me want to like Death Metal. I don’t.
My tester Escape came with the top-of-the-line 2.0L Turbo four-cylinder engine. The 2.0L EcoBoost makes 231hp at 5,500 rpms and 270 ft-lbs. at 3,000 rpms. The torque was the first thing I noticed about the driving dynamics of the Escape. After a light would flash green and I’d smoothly apply the accelerator, then the torque and Intelligent 4WD would chime in and my boys would be squealing in the back. Most of the squealing was with glee. Most.
The brakes are great. I stomped them once because that’s what you do in a large SUV. Stomp them, and let the ABS grind you to a halt. Anyway, as a car pulled out in front of me I hammered the brakes and the cabin of the Escape turned into a slow-mo Michael Bay movie. There were things in the car that I didn’t know were there. They were floating by me in the air.
This was the first press car that I couldn’t make the week on one tank of gas. First that tells us that I need to drive the press cars more, but there’s a rule about paying bills and taxes first… I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening. Second, the Escape averages 21 mpg in the city and even with my combined highway and city driving for the week; I had a hard time getting it over 21, nevermind the 28 mpg highway rating.
Part of the problem is how much fun it is to accelerate the Escape to the “speed limit.” The Intelligent 4WD and the torque really move this little CUV. It’s solid, firm, and the acceleration is smooth and robust. It will punch you in the kidneys if you’re not paying attention when you mat it. All things considered, the 21 mpg average wasn’t so bad. But if mpgs are of the utmost importance to you, my suggestion is to buy the 1.6L EcoBoost engine that makes 173hp and gets slightly better mpgs for less money (about $6,000 less as tested).
Overall, I really like the Escape. I don’t love it though. There were quirks that I couldn’t get past. The $30,000 price tag and the lack of dry cleaning hangers in the trunk kept frustrating me. The power and feel of acceleration is great for a CUV. I love the way the steering feels. The mileage was acceptable, but not great. The 1.6L EcoBoost could be a better option if you’re looking for economy. The S, SE, and SEL are all competitively priced trim levels of the Escape. I really like the Escape in the bottom three trim levels. The Titanium is up there. Thirty-four grand for a CUV is a lot.
Base Price: $22,470
As Driven: $34,735
Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder Turbo, 231hp
Transmission: 6 Speed Shiftable Automatic
Wheelbase: 105.9 in.
Curb Weight: 3,598 lbs.
MPG Rating: 21 city/ 28 highway
MPG Average: ~21 mpg
This review was first posted on Chris Tracy’s website Every Man’s Auto and was republished with permission