Ford’s 4WD (also offered in FWD) Escape has been one of the companies’ top selling compact crossover SUVs as was its hybrid version that is, sadly, no longer offered. But for 2013, the popular Escape has escaped from its humble beginnings into a reborn version that is one handsome vehicle.
Sharing a modified platform with Ford’s Focus, Escape has been endowed with appealing sculpted styling lines and a macho stance. Compared to the former model, the 2013 rides on a wheelbase that is 2.8 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider and 1.6 inches shorter. The result is greater interior space and a sexy exterior look.
Escape is offered in four flavors: S, SE, SEL and Titanium that we tested. The S is only offered with a 168-hp, 2.5L four-cylinder while the SE and SEL come standard with a 1.6L EcoBoost, turbocharged four with 178-hp and 184 lb/ft of torque. The top-line Titanium comes with a turbocharged EcoBoost 2.0L, four that produces a hot 240-hp and whopping (for a small engine) 270 lb/ft of torque for EPA ratings of 21 city, 28-highway mpg. All models come standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.0L, in concert with the auto trans, exuded spirited acceleration and ample passing power when attempting to merge onto a freeway from a cloverleaf. It could probably be quicker if not for its hefty curb weight of 3,732 pounds. On the other hand, tow capacity is a decent 3,500 pounds. Enough for a utility trailer, small boat, ATV or one Harley.
As the top-line model, Titanium is loaded with amenities and a high-rent luxury interior that is entered after a mere 18-inch step-in. The seats could use a tad more padding but they were very supportive and heated quickly on the highest “5” setting. HVAC controls are easy to use although the Sync system requires some practice. The accelerator pedal had a lot to be desired as it’s a stubby 3.5 inches from which my foot would occasionally slip off. And the dash is expansive and 24 inches deep at its deepest part.
Rear seats were comfy for three small adults and they fold in a one-step operation. With the seatbacks up, the cargo area measures 33 inches deep. 42 wide, 32 high (34.3 cubic feet) and 64 with them folded (68.1 cubic feet).
While my test vehicle had a rearview camera, the pricey Titanium did not have a GPS nav system. But it did have a hands-free liftgate that, with the keyfob in pocket, takes only a wave of the foot under the rear bumper to activate it. Pretty nifty when carrying packages especially when it’s raining.
Probably the only major feature the Escape lacked, despite its 7.9-ich ground clearance (Subaru’s 2013 Forester, for comparison, has 8.7 inches) was a 4WD low gear to get going when the going gets tough.
Escape rode extremely well on 19-inch Continental tires and hung tough on sharp turns with nary any body lean and no tippy feeling. It parked easily, was nimble around town and was especially stable on highways when being passed by 18-wheelers.
Price wise, the Escape Titanium is priced above its primary competitors like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson Ltd., Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV-4 Ltd. However, if opting for a nicely equipped SE, the starting price is $25,070, while the SEL begins at $28,170.
My Titanium base-priced at $32,120 but after adding MyFordTouch with Sirius radio ($795) and the Parking Technology Package ($995) that includes such niceties as Blind Spot Detection, Active Park Assist and Rearview Camera, the sticker totaled $34,735 with delivery. Now I should add here that the Titanium Technology package offers the power liftgate, HID headlamps and active grille shutters (that automatically close to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency) to name a few.
If there’s one trait the new Escape offers is its strikingly attractive appearance. The remainder of the car is icing on the cake.
To test drive a 2013 Escape, stop by Haldeman Ford on Lehigh Street in Allentown. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.