2013 Ford Escape: Compact Crossover SUV Comparison
*Escape Wins! Great article in Motor Trend Magazine.
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1ST PLACE: 2013 Ford Escape Doing It Right By: Kirill Ougarov
By its nature, this segment doesn't really have room for greatness. That said, the new Ford Escape is about as close to being great as a compact CUV is going to get. While not at the top of the pack in every aspect, the Escape does almost everything right.
Take the powertrain, for example. The 1.6-liter turbo-four is one reason Ford beat Mazda for the gold medal. Evans found it a "strong little engine," while Kiino noted that it has "great power from 2000 to 5000 rpm." More important, unlike with the Mazda, nobody felt the Ford was low on power or struggled to accelerate. The six-speed automatic worked well, providing smooth though not particularly quick shifts. The knob-based manual shift buttons discourage the use of the manual mode, but are better than nothing at all. The Escape also impressed us with its ride, both on the freeway and on the back roads. Kiino noted that the chassis "has a sporty edge to it that makes it feel light and lively," while Febbo said it was the "best in the canyon." Evans chose to dissent slightly by noting that the Escape had slightly too much body roll for his taste.
Feelings about the sheetmetal were generally positive, especially compared with the previous Escape, which looked like a shrunken Explorer. This one, bearing fresh European styling, is actually pleasing to the eye, though Lieberman described it best by saying it "looks like a pumped-up Focus," which is accurate even if it can be taken as a backhanded compliment.
Inside, the revolution is equally dramatic. The old Escape's slabby and trucky design makes way for a futuristic setup based on that of the Focus, though it's been considerably toned down. Everyone loved the Sync system and the big high-resolution navigation screen. The Escape was also the only one of the five to come with a power tailgate: Step up to an SEL and for an extra $1895, the tailgate becomes "hands free," meaning it'll open when you wave a foot under the rear bumper. Further, the Escape had the second-biggest cargo area of the bunch, giving up ground only to the expertly packaged Honda. Some concerns were voiced about backseat legroom and the general comfort level of the rear bench. Both were partly alleviated by the rear seat's ability to recline, greatly improving comfort. The only other knock against the Escape is the lack of a backup camera in the SE trim; you'd have to move up to an SEL to get it.
A perfect vehicle the Escape is not, but it is a big leap forward for Ford and the segment as a whole, because it proves you can get style, function, and fun in one well-priced package. Best of all, this one's from the home team.