2013 Ford Escape

2013 Ford Escape Titanium Review

Spending a week in the top-trim Ford Escape.

By: Tim Healey

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: March 12th, 2013

Car models have a tendency to age quickly. New designs may or may not age well over time, but one constant is that as soon as a new or redesigned model is introduced, the brand's competition will launch its own new or redesigned rival, thus initiating the next volley in the sales war.

That was the problem Ford faced with its Escape compact SUV--before it was redesigned for 2013, the underlying platform was already over 10 years old, which is ancient in car years.

Ford has been in the midst of a brand makeover, with just about every model getting a full redesign. In the rush to make crossovers more car-like, it's not surprising that after Ford redesigned its Focus compact car for the 2012 model year, it would use that platform to underpin the Escape.

  • Performance

    Three different four-cylinder engines are offered, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged "EcoBoost" engine that makes 231 horsepower being the top choice. It's optional on the SE and SEL trim levels and standard in the top-of-the-line Titanium model that we tested.

    Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine packs a fair bit of punch, but it's thwarted by throttle lag. Still, it's more than enough for urban driving.

    Since the Escape shares its platform with the smooth-handling Focus, it should come as no surprise that the Escape has impressive moves for a compact crossover SUV. Like the Focus, it has accurate steering that is a bit too light in feel, and also like the Focus, the ride is on the sporty side. We didn't notice any degradation of ride or handling, though.

    Overall, the Escape feels light on its feet, with a car-like competence that is becoming more and more prevalent in the class. This is a driver's SUV.

  • Exterior

    Ford gave the Escape a dramatic exterior makeover to go along with the changes underneath, eschewing the boxy look of past Escapes in favor of a curvier design. The design borrows from other Fords, like the Focus, and it gives the Escape a sleek look that turns our heads. Automakers have figured out that SUVs don't need to look boring, and Ford did a nice job sculpting this one into an attractive vehicle.

  • Interior

    The interior will feel familiar to anyone who's been in a Focus, and like the exterior, there are attractive sweeping lines (especially in the center-stack area). We also give Ford props for adding umbrella holders and under-floor storage in the rear seating area.

    The biggest flaw here, besides a few tacky plastic pieces, is the divisive MyFordTouch infotainment system. We've experienced bugs with the system in the past, and not all staffers like the system's user interface. We still feel that Ford took the system out of the oven too early.

  • Final Thoughts

    We want to love the Escape--it's fun to drive, offers neat little utility tricks, looks great inside and out, and at 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway with available four-wheel-drive, it's even fairly fuel efficient.

    What holds us back is the price--our tester checked in at nearly $35K. Opting for a lower trim level and trying to get it close to Titanium spec by adding options can save you a bit, but the Escape still gets pricey. This is part of Ford's marketing strategy--the company wants buyers who are looking at spending a lot of cash on a top-line Escape to start thinking about the larger Edge and Flex seven-seat crossovers instead.

  • Specs, Features, and Prices

    Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Drive Wheels: Four-wheel-drive

    Fuel Economy: 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway

    Base Price: $32,120

    As-tested price: $34,735 (includes $825 destination fee) Available Features: MyFordTouch infotainment system, 19-inch wheels, ambient lighting system, fog lamps, roof rack, leather trimmed seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, push button start, remote keyless entry, remote start, Sync voice recognition, satellite radio, power liftgate, rear parking sensors, navigation, blind-spot monitoring system, rearview camera, parking assist system.

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