2013 Ford Escape
2013 Ford Escape. Click image to enlarge
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Ford Motor Company of Canada

Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2013 Ford Escape

San Francisco, California – The all-new 2013 Ford Escape makes its debut in May, 2012, and North America’s (and Canada’s) bestselling compact SUV promises to raise the bar in this category by increasing available power, decreasing fuel consumption, and adding a host of new features.

At first glance, you may not even recognize the 2013 Escape as a Ford product, because gone is the signature boxy profile of previous generation models. Now it’s all about aerodynamics and swoopy lines that may even recall competitors from its Asian competition, especially from the rear. Getting better fuel economy is the goal, but Ford executives also concede that it was time for Ford to develop a more contemporary look that’s consistent across the model lineup (excluding Mustang, that is).

Styling of the new-look Escape is appealing and sleek, if a little generic. Notable are the rich paint, pleasing colour selection (blue or red are particularly fetching), and the new corporate grille/fascia, similar to the latest generation Ford Focus.

2013 Ford Escape
2013 Ford Escape
2013 Ford Escape. Click image to enlarge

There are significant changes under the hood, where the standard engine is the carried-over but updated 2.5L four-cylinder, joined by two direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder engines of 1.6L and 2.0L displacement. Using Ford’s proprietary name for this type of technology, one of these “EcoBoost” engines packs more punch than the previous generation’s V6 and the other exceeds the base engine, even though it gives up almost a litre of displacement. Both return up to 20 percent better fuel economy. And continuing a trend in this sector, the V6 engine is no longer available (but neither is the Escape Hybrid, darling of New York City taxi drivers…).

In the entry-level $21,499 front-wheel-drive (FWD) Ford Escape S, the naturally aspirated 2.5L engine makes 168 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, while the 1.6 EcoBoost engine makes its debut in the Escape SE or SEL, generating 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. These models can be purchased in FWD or All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) versions.

The 2.0L EcoBoost is optional on the SE and SEL and standard on the AWD-only, top-of-the-line, $37,499 Titanium model. It makes 240 hp and 270 lb-ft torque, enabling the 2013 Ford Escape to tow up to 1,587 kg (3,500 lb), which is best in class among competitors using four-cylinder turbocharged engines. All three engines are mated to a six-speed “SelectShift” automatic transmission. Trailer sway control is also featured on the 2013 Escape.

The Escape S returns 9.5/6.3 L/100 km, city/highway, while the 2.0L FWD version manages 9.5/6.7L/100 km and the 2.0L AWD models 9.8/6.9 L/100 km. Fuel consumption from the 1.6L engine is yet to be announced.

Complementing the new engines, the 2013 Escape also features an all-new “intelligent” AWD system that can send up to 100 percent of the power to the front or rear wheels depending on driving conditions. The software behind the system continuously assesses these conditions and deploys power and torque accordingly, while attempting to correct oversteer and understeer when cornering.

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