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Now that it has been determined (in our forums) that the “Sport” in Sport Utility Vehicle is supposed to refer to what the owner does with the vehicle (like camping, biking, fishing, etc.) and not how the vehicle is meant to be driven, I’m here to break some news. The Escape does drive very sportingly, for a large vehicle with a high centre of gravity; on-ramps are a blast and it corners—dare I say it—like it’s on rails.
There truly is a lot of grip even in this cold weather we’ve been having. But the fun doesn’t end with the amount of grip: the little 1.6-litre turbocharged engine delivers the torque to get this machine moving, and it is fun to hit the go-pedal and rocket away.
Once you come back to reality and realize most people aren’t driving their Escapes like race cars, you become aware that the Escape is a good daily driver as well. In the cold weather, I have found that the transmission feels like it is slipping as I accelerate away in the morning. Once the vehicle has warmed up, though, that feeling goes away and everything is smooth and quiet.
Road noise is minimal, but there is a small amount of wind noise present. Out on the highway, cruising at 120 km/h feels comfortable and not noticeably noisy.
The Escape does urban duty as one would expect: very well indeed. Unlike some other recent Fords I have driven, the Escape has a good turning radius that allows for easy parking and maneuvering in small places. Again, a backup camera would help, but the Escape is easy enough to see out of, with large mirrors and big windows, so it isn’t a requirement like it is for some vehicles.