2013 Ford Escape
by John Davis
The Ford Escape was not the first compact crossover on the road, that honor falls to the Toyota RAV4. However, with over two million sales over the last 12 years, the Escape’s success has been a key to the rapid growth of the small utility market.
But, anyone familiar with the previous Escapes will find the all-new 2013 model a huge departure. Gone is the boxy styling of the first two generations. Styling is now very dynamic with far more in common with the Focus compact car series than other Ford utilities.
Now a global design, the new Escape is wider, longer, and lower that its predecessor. Fenders are overstated and the sharp lines and aggressive front end give the Escape a look that’s more sporty than utilitarian. The new Escape is also available with features rare in its class including active grille shutters, HID headlights, and a panoramic sunroof.
The interior is also a big leap ahead with totally contemporary controls, soft-touch materials, extremely comfortable front seats, and first-rate fit and finish. Gauges are a funky arrangement with big exposed pods and a large, center info screen. Most trim levels include the Ford SYNC voice activation system with a 4-inch color display mounted high in the center stack. The latest version of SYNC is far more user friendly than earlier editions. One novel available feature is a hands-free power lift gate. Just wiggle your foot under the rear bumper and it opens wide.
Rear seat room is good for a compact crossover, as is rear cargo space. With the seats down, Escape’s total cargo volume is just shy of that of arch rival Honda CR-V.
Three engines are available starting with a new 1.6-liter EcoBoost I4 rated at 178-horsepower. The 1.6 turbo is the Escape’s fuel economy leader with an EPA highway mileage rating of 33 MPG. That beat’s last year’s discontinued Escape Hybrid. A carryover 168-horsepower 2.5-liter I4 and the Explorer’s 240-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost are also available, with the later capable of towing a stout 3,500 pounds.
Transmissions are all front-wheel 6-speed automatics, with all-wheel drive optional. The suspension system consists of struts up front, and multi-links in the rear, and both ends include stabilizer bars. Ford’s competent electric power steering is standard.
The 2013 Ford Escape looks to be an excellent overall package. That’s a good thing since the small crossover segment is quickly becoming the most competitive of any slice of the car market. But, Ford has done their homework and this latest Escape is likely not to have to run from anyone.
If you’d like to escape to the Blue Oval’s newest crossover, be sure to catch our MotorWeek road test of the 2013 Ford Escape on episode #3140. That program begins airing on June 8, 2012. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek go to motorweek.org. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on Velocity.