First Drive: 2013 Ford Escape reviews ford first drives
2013 Ford Escape. Click image to enlarge

The 2013 Escape is also fitted with Ford-developed Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control, which slows the vehicle in a corner if its sensors detect that the vehicle is travelling too fast for the prevailing conditions. This system also calculates where the driver is intending to steer based on the angle of the front wheels, and splits torque between the front and rear wheels in an attempt to complete the manoeuvre successfully. It effectively adds and subtracts torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.

This technology is designed to be transparent the driver, and Ford emphasizes that the driver — who can see power distribution displayed on a screen in real time if desired — ultimately maintains full control of the vehicle in all situations.

Some of the available technologies available on the new Escape include a sure-to-be-popular hands-free power liftgate that’s activated by sweeping one’s foot under the rear bumper. Park Assist identifies suitable parking spaces and at the push of a button automatically parallel parks the Escape. The Escape’s available Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) detects, as the name suggests, vehicles in your blind spots when driving on the roadways, while Cross Traffic Alert alerts the driver if a vehicle is approaching from the sides, such as when the driver is reversing from a parking space or driveway.

First Drive: 2013 Ford Escape reviews ford first drives
First Drive: 2013 Ford Escape reviews ford first drives
First Drive: 2013 Ford Escape reviews ford first drives
2013 Ford Escape. Click image to enlarge

Inside, Ford’s MyFord Touch driver interface is revised and improved to further simplify vehicle operation. The soft-touch panels on the doors and the new seats are welcome developments. The seats deserve special mention as they are very comfortable and supportive — after a long flight in a cramped Airbus 319, the Escape’s seats were actually therapeutic!

But the new dashboard, instrument panel and centre stack seemed an argument of knobs, switches, buttons, and displays to me. I didn’t care for the design, which consisted of oddly shaped vents and instrument surrounds, and components that seemed too big, too small, or too hard to easily operate. You’d really have to live with this vehicle for a while to master its array of controls.

The new MyFordTouch and Sync system may be a marvel of infotainment management, but learning to use it on the road is not advisable. Beyond selecting your gear, using the turn signals, and operating the lights/mirrors/wipers, the rest requires all of your attention.

Driving the Escape, however, is a delight. Power from the 2.0L engine is more than sufficient and even when accelerating this four-cylinder is quiet and smooth. At highway speeds, there’s no engine noise at all and the cabin offers relaxed, comfortable cruising. Likewise the transmission is a model of modern, intelligent operation, with gear changes all but imperceptible and power always readily available. Unable to get behind the wheel of the 1.6L model, an informal poll of some who did returned enthusiastic comments, with some suggesting that this is the engine to buy. Indeed, Ford expects the 1.6L models to be the volume sellers in Canada.

Handling is excellent. The 2013 Ford Escape is a sure-footed vehicle, solid, rattle-free and agile. We drove some particularly twisty roads in Marin County, north of San Francisco, and found the 2013 to be almost performance-oriented in its management of the sharp bends and switchbacks. Likewise the brakes bring this vehicle down from speed with satisfying authority.

The 2013 Ford Escape does much more than raise the bar; it’s light years ahead of the outgoing model and will surely maintain Ford’s competitiveness in this popular sector.

2013 Ford Escape Pricing
Escape S FWD: $21,499
Escape SE FWD: $26,899
Escape SE AWD: $29,099
Escape SEL FWD: $31,599
Escape SEL AWD: $33,799
Escape Titanium AWD: $37,499
Destination and Delivery: $1,500




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).