Ford Escape raises bar for compact segment
By IRA SIEGEL For Sun-Times Media November 30, 2012 12:27PM
2013 FORD ESCAPE TITANIUM
ENGINE: 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 21 city/28 highway
BASE PRICE: $32,120
AS TESTED: $34,735 (includes $825 for destination)
The Ford Escape has been a popular choice in the compact SUV segment ever since it debuted in 2000 as a 2001 model.
Until now the Escape has basically looked like a smaller version of the larger, and also popular, Explorer. Not anymore. Gone is the boxy, upright trucklike appearance. The all-new 2013 Ford Escape features a unique design theme that is sporty, aerodynamic and appealing.
I’m not the only one who likes Escape’s new styling. I happened to notice many other motorists staring my way while creeping along in stop-and-go traffic. And I know they weren’t looking at me; they were checking out the new Escape. By their smiles and thumbs-up gestures, they approved this new design, too.
Here’s more. After a trip to the grocery store, I came back to my Escape tester with groceries in hand and found a woman walking around and staring at my Escape tester. She really liked what she saw and told me she was in the market for a compact SUV. She informed me that the new Escape would be added to her short list.
The new Escape features many innovative technologies, including an available power lift gate that can be operated by swinging a foot under the rear bumper. That’s incredibly handy when you need to access the cargo area and your arms are full.
Also available is active park assist and a blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert. Active park assist makes parallel parking a snap by automatically steering the vehicle into the parking space. BLIS detects vehicles in your blind spots and illuminates warning lights in the side mirrors while the cross-traffic alert warns if traffic is detected approaching from the sides, such as when backing out of a parking space.
The available SYNC with MyFord Touch technology has been upgraded to make operation easier.
The cabin in the new Escape is a bit roomier and a lot quieter than its predecessor. There’s adequate room up front and in the rear. The cargo area offers 34.3 cubic-feet of space with the second-row seats upright. Fold them down and cargo capacity increases to 68.1 cubic-feet.
I found some cheap-looking glossy plastic surfaces in the cabin, but most of what you’ll see looks and feels more upscale. The design and convenient layout of controls is pleasing, too.
The 2013 Ford Escape is offered in four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. The S is front-wheel drive only while the others can be had either as front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
Three four-cylinder engines are offered in the new Escape. The base S model features a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes 168 horsepower.
If you want more power you’ll need to select the SE, SEL or Titanium. The SE and SEL feature a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 178 horsepower.
Optional in the SE and SEL, but standard in the Titanium, is a 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This power plant has V-6-like power and offers impressive fuel economy.
All models come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.
AWD models with the turbo 2.0-liter are rated at 21/28 mpg while FWD models deliver 22/30 mpg. The 1.6-liter engine is actually the best of the bunch with 23/33 mpg for front-wheel drive models.
Premium unleaded fuel is recommended for the two turbocharged engines, but regular unleaded can be used. Using regular, though, will result in slightly less power and slightly poorer fuel economy.
Because of its lower center of gravity, the new Escape delivers a more pleasing carlike ride than its predecessor. The new Escape nicely gobbles up bumps in the road and exhibits minimal body roll when cornering.
I was impressed with the V-6-like acceleration and overall performance of my 2013 Escape Titanium AWD tester.
Pricing for the 2013 Ford Escape starts at around $22,000 for the S and can soar to around $35,000 for a decked-out Titanium AWD model.
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