July 25, 2012
Manufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony
2013 Ford Escape
I drove the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 Ecoboost a few weeks ago, and am happy to report that it did not burst into flames during my test drive. If these recent recalls don’t add further fuel to the fire of those who caution against buying a new vehicle in its first model year, then I will happily give up my forum license.
It’s truly a shame, though, because this is a great little SUV. Or crossover. Whatever… I’m not sure if there’s a difference anymore. But whatever it is, the Escape is great… except for the whole risk of becoming a fiery deathtrap thing, that is, which, thankfully, has not resulted in any injuries or fatalities before Ford took action to issue the recall.
While my drive route was brief, I did come back repeatedly to drive it around and around an autocross course, and I also had a chance to benchmark it against none other than our Compact CUV Comparison Test champ, the Honda CR-V .
The 2013 Ford Escape is clearly a huge leap forward in design, but it lives up to its swoopy looks with athletic dynamics in the EcoBoost models that we tested. While simply catching up to the competition would have been sufficient for this perennial sales leader, Ford clearly aimed for best-in-class driving dynamics. While there wasn’t a Mazda CX-5 there for comparison, the Escape was, as far as I’m concerned, a better-handling vehicle, and with engine options that will make you forget you ever wanted a V6, never mind a wheezy, underpowered SkyActiv engine.
The Escape line starts with a FWD-only S model featuring a naturally aspirated 2.5L inline-four making 168 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, but Ford cited the stat that 97 percent of Escapes are leaving dealer lots with an Ecoboost engine under the hood. However, even the $21,499 Escape S comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels wearing 235/55HR17 tires, six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, stability control, air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, split-folding rear seat, power locks, mirrors, and windows with remote keyless entry, and independent suspension and disc brakes at all four corners.
2013 Ford Escape. Click image to enlarge
In order to get into an Ecoboost-powered Escape, you must bump up to the SE model and its 17-inch alloys, fog lights, heated front seats (still cloth), 110V outlet, SYNC voice-activated communications/entertainment system, and satellite radio with six-month prepaid subscription. Front-wheel drive is standard on the SE at $26,899, and adding all-wheel drive will cost you $2,200, taking the price up to $29,099. The standard power source in the SE is the 1.6L Ecoboost with intercooled turbocharger making 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0 Ecoboost is a $1,600 option on this trim, should you wish its 1,587 kg (3,500 lb) towing capacity over the 1.6’s 907 kg (2,000 lb) without all the added features (and cost) of SEL or Titanium trim.
The next step in the Escape hierarchy is the SEL at $31,599 (with the same $2,200 surcharge for AWD), and it features the 2.0L Ecoboost with 240 hp and 270 lb-ft—like I said, forget about a V6. SEL models add 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, SYNC with MyFord Touch, nine-speaker audio system, and Ford’s nifty kick-operated power liftgate (some of which are also options on the SE 1.6).
The pinnacle of all Escape trims gets the Titanium nameplate, and with standard AWD, the 2.0L Ecoboost and a long list of standard options, it begins to look like a small luxury crossover more than an entry-level cute ute. Its $37,499 price is fitting for a car that offers 19-inch nickel-finish alloys, hands-free power liftgate with adjustable final height, HID headlights, 10-way power driver’s seat with three memory settings, leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a large touchscreen and voice-activated (MyFord Touch and Sync) infotainment centre with optional navigation.