Highlights: Escape is Ford’s first SUV/crossover to offer a Curve Control System, which can automatically slow the vehicle, when cornering too fast.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $34,735 (Base Model starts at $23,295)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags (drive, side and knee); a side air curtain technology offering protection for the first and second seating rows; a tire pressure monitor system; blind-spot mirrors; rollover stability control; and a traction control system
Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; cloth manual driver’s seat; tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel; power windows; power door locks; and a manual operated a/c
Standard Audio: 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with a MP3 capability
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes
Standard Engine/Horsepower (Titanium): 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/237-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 21-city/28-hwy
What’s New: The stylish redesign 2013 compact crossover not only offers more cargo room, but enhanced fuel-economy, too. For the 2012 model year, Ford drops the six-cylinder engine, while adding three four-cylinder engines. Also the Escape offers a number of industry-first segment features such as a blind-spot technology system, a cross-traffic alert system, a self-parking assistance system and a hands free power liftgate. Moreover, for the 2013 model year, Ford offers a new high end model, the Titanium.
Seat Comfort/Support: Very Good
Pros: With some of the unique features available on the Escape, it’s almost considered to be a premium class vehicle, since it straddles the fence. We wouldn’t be surprise if its luxury class sister, Lincoln, offers a version of the Escape in the near future. The Escape is not only a great car to take on a long road trip, but it sheds its box-like exterior design cues for more curves and flair. In fact, the 2013 Escape mimics the design of vehicles like the stylish Korean-made Kia Sportage.
In addition to its new sporty flair, the Escape offers a number of class exclusive features. For instance, the Escape can be outfitted with a hands free power liftgate. Just by simply swiping one’s feet under the center of the rear bumper, the liftgate raises and lowers. So, there’s no need to pull the key out of the pocket or place down one’s packages. What a great feature!
Also an electronic parallel parking system is now available on the Escape. With the press of a button on the instrument panel, the system detects an available space to parallel park. So, if you have problems parallel parking, this feature will win over a lot of buyers.
Moreover, the Escape is available with an electronic blind spot system with cross-traffic alert. By combining both of these systems, the driver is alerted of vehicles in its blinds spot, before changing lanes and of objects crossing its path before backing up.
Besides the aforementioned features, the Escape is available in a 2-wheel drive or a 4-wheel drive configuration. Added to that, heated front seats, leather seats and a push-button keyless starter are also available.
Cons: While the 2013 Escape wears a new design, those who aren’t technically sophisticated may find Ford’s signature MyFord Touch system to be a little complicated and confusing to use. At first glance, Ford’s instrument panel packs in a lot of data. Drivers will be inundated with a wealth of electronic data scrolling across the gauges (ie. speedometer, temperature gauge to the name of the musical artist being played). In our opinion, it’s just an overload of info for most drivers, which definitely distract one from keeping their eyes on the road.
Also there’s a little too much hard plastic layered throughout the interior of the vehicle. An upscale design should be complimented by high-end quality material (ie. sunglass case). Furthermore, why doesn’t this upscale vehicle offer a dual or panoramic sunroof? These days a standard size power moonroof just isn’t enough. If Ford’s going to push the limits with technology, we expect them to go all the way with interior features, too.
Moreover, the base Escape is priced about $1,030 more than the outgoing model.
The Verdict: Ford has managed to incorporate all of its high-tech features into the upscale, redesigned, compact crossover. The 2013 Escape offers features that many of the premium class automakers like Audi and Infiniti yearn for in their vehicles. Who could have ever imagined the entry-level Ford Escape being outfitted with such features as a radar-powered liftgate or an electronic parallel parking system? These features are an industry-first in this segment.
Nevertheless, although we have a few gripes about the cluttered dash with an overload of technology, the Escape is sure to be a hit for Ford and buyers seeking segment leading features.
Competition: Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, Kia Sportage, Mazda5 and Nissan Murrano
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.