Photo Gallery:
2013 Ford Escape

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Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
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It’s been out for a while now, but this is the first time I’ve had a close look at the new 2013 Ford Escape. This is also my first chance to drive this redesigned version of the best-selling compact crossover in Canada.

Some are glad to see the boxy shaped Escape leave our landscape (at least on the new car lot), while some liked its more rugged and purposeful look. Either way the new Escape is here to stay, with a global platform, new engines (gone is the V6, replaced with small turbocharged powerplants) and a new more modern and rounded design.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
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My tester for the week is an SE model with most of the upgrades. The SE comes standard with the new 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine that outputs 178 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The SE is available with both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, and my tester is equipped with the latter. Also, my tester is nearly fully loaded, with an optional $2,300 equipment group that adds leather, heated seats, 10-way adjustable driver’s seat, heated side mirrors, SYNC with MyFord Touch and much more.

Also present in my tester is navigation, the panoramic vista roof and a power liftgate. Oddly, what’s missing in this package and not available unless you jump up to SEL, are backup sensors, a reversing camera and the much advertised “kick” feature to open rear tailgate.

MSRP as tested (including destination): $35,899

For more information on Ford and the Escape visit Ford Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
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I’ve noticed that a lot of the vehicles I have been reviewing lately have been a lot of the same: the interior is good—not offensive, but not great—everything is placed well and things just tick along. The Escape, though, has me intrigued, as Ford has made a lot of bold moves with this new design. Some of them work; others I’m not so sure of.

For instance, the windshield is absolutely massive and because of this, you get a very clear view of the road in front. It’s spectacular, actually, and the higher you sit in the driver’s seat the better the view becomes. The narrower-than-normal A-pillars are unobtrusive, and this makes the Escape really easy to drive and see out of.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
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Ford’s recent foray into touchscreens and MyFord Touch has been hit and miss, but the Escape seems to offer a good blend of touchscreen and manual controls. The HVAC system in my tester has auto climate control, so it’s pretty hands off, and the heated seats have a nice manual dial on the centre console, and they work wonderfully.

But the ergonomics of some of the buttons, especially when required to use the touchscreen itself, is a little off. The buttons on the steering wheel are oddly placed and difficult to use, and I would prefer three separate buttons instead of just one toggle switch for the cruise control, as I’ve accidentally turned off cruise when I meant to set it.

When not playing around with navigation or radio controls, the seating position is comfortable and headroom is plentiful. Rear head and leg room is also very generous, while the fold flat seats offer good cargo capacity when extra space is required.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
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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.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews

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.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
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On Saturday I took the Escape to Montreal and back, and from that trip I learned quite a few things that I like, and a few that I dislike, about the Escape. For starters, the voice-activated navigation is horrible. I spent thirty minutes talking to the system trying to get it to understand that I wanted to head to the intersection of Autoroute-40 and Boulevard St. Charles. Let’s just say that after 30 minutes of almost getting it but not quite, I pulled my phone out, swiped a few times and it was done.

Once I was stopped, though, the system worked fairly well, just do not expect much from it without having to manually enter information. It was like I was speaking another language: it certainly did not understand the word “Quebec,” but if I spelled it out, it was fine. I won’t go too far into details; you had to be there. It was both humourous and frustrating.

The gas tank on the Escape is, from what I can gather, too small! According to the manual, it is 57 L in size, but when the gas gauge read empty and the “kilometres remaining” readout read 10, I stuffed 45 litres into the tank… that’s a fairly large reserve! But still, after just 500 km? I expected the Escape to go a little further: the trip to Laval from my home in west Ottawa and back resulted in my arriving home after the fuel light had been suggesting I should fill up for the last 50 km of my trip.

Average fuel consumption for my regular weekly driving was 9.8 L/100 km, which is not bad. On my trip to Montreal, I used major highways and set the cruise for 118 km/h; fuel consumption was, again, 9.8L/100 km. On the return voyage, I wasn’t in a hurry, so I set the cruise for 108 km/h, and the result just proves how much of a difference 10 km/h can make: this time, I averaged 8.3 L/100 km! Proving, once again, it’s not the ratings but drivers themselves that make a huge difference when it comes to fuel economy.

*Rating out of 5:

2013 Ford Escape
Acceleration Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
Handling Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
Comfort Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
Interior Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
Audio System Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
Gas Mileage Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews
Overall Day by Day Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE 4WD car test drives ford daily car reviews

*Rating based on vehicle’s classification
MSRP as tested (including destination): $35,899

For more information on Ford and the Escape visit Ford Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter




About James Bergeron

James Bergeron is an Ottawa-based automotive journalist. James holds a national FIA race license and actively races and stewards at race events.