Saves fuel, money while providing new technologies
The Blue Oval team has come up with a better way to Escape – in the 2013 Escape. There will no longer be an Escape Hybrid, but the Escape stable will continue to offer three other fuel conscious models: an updated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, as well as a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and finally, a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-banger.
The 2.5-liter motor will deliver a projected 168 horses and 167 pound feet of torque, while the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine makes a projected 173 horsepower and 177 pound feet of torque. The most potent mill of the three is the 2.0-liter EcoBoost version that generates a projected 237 horsepower along with 250 pound feet of torque. All three powerplants are DOHC, 16-valve four cylinder units (the 2.5-liter engine comes with electronic sequential multiport fuel injection, while the other two are EcoBoost engines and feature Direct Injection) that connect to a specially calibrated, electronically controlled six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmission with a manual shift mode, that gears the driving force to either the front wheels or to a new Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system that reacts faster and improves vehicle handling off-road with better traction.
The all-new 2013 Ford Escape will be available in four levels of trim: The base model Escape S; the Escape SE; an SEL model Escape and finally, the cream-of-the-crop in terms of features, trim and equipment – the Titanium Escape.
The Ford Escape has been the best selling SUV in America, and the company’s goal is to raise the bar even higher with this latest iteration, which offers 11 new exclusive features not offered by any other small SUV, along with fuel economy ratings that are projected to beat any vehicle of its kind in today’s marketplace. The new Escape’s estimated fuel economy is up to 5 mpg better than that of the outgoing model.
From a visual appeal standpoint, the 2013 Ford Escape takes on a more advanced and contemporary exterior styling that reflects Ford’s new design language and DNA. The final result does away with the old boxy Escape format and adopts a look that is both more youthful and athletic. Some styling cues display elements that replicate those found in the new Focus and Fusion models. The nose showcases a large lower grille flanked by side air inlets with integrated fog lamps and signals along with a recessed smaller grille just below the sculpted hood’s leading edge that is centered between the jewel-like wrap-around headlamps. The profile is sleek and aerodynamic, with outer hood character lines flowing into the “A” pillars, which border the sharply raked windshield, and lead onto the curved roofline that travels in a declining rearward motion to the reverse angled “D” pillar. Wheelwells are accented by prominent fender arches front and rear, with shoulder and rocker character lines that rise aft suggesting motion even when parked. From the rear, the Escape features a large gate window that dips into and follows the total surround shoulder line and incorporates the wraparound taillamps. Dual exhaust tips finish off the sporty rear image.
Moving to the inside, the new Escape cabin provides a more modern and optimally user-friendly layout with sensible placement of controls and switchgear. For instance, the manual shift mode for the automatic gearbox is operated by a thumb switch on the left side of the gar selector knob, and the nav and information screen is large and highly legible. Materials are soft touch, with the fit and finish well executed and symmetrically balanced. The new seats provide heightened comfort and support.
Technology abounds – An available hands-free power liftgate brings new technology to the SUV arena – it’s motion technology opens and closes the gate, operated by a gentle kicking action aimed under the center of the rear bumper with the key fob in proximity. SYNC® with MyFordTouch® system has been upgraded to enhance personal connectivity and feature controls. An optional active Park Assist automatically parks the vehicle without driver steering. Add the Blind Spot Information System, Curve Control, Torque Vectoring Control along with the new intelligent 4WD system, and the new Escape practically borders on driving itself.
My test 2013 Ford Escape during the national press launch was an AWD model in Titanium trim, powered by the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing. It sported an Ingot Silver metallic exterior and a Charcoal Black leather interior. The base sticker amounted to $22,470 while the price as equipped came to $34,735, which included destination and delivery charges. Options included the Titanium Technology Package, Parking Technology Package, Intelligent 4WD and Navigation System. I later tested a Deep Impact Blue metallic model with a black leather interior with a base sticker of $32,120 and a final total of $35,630. Extras included Equipment Group 401A, My Ford Touch/HD Sirius, Navigation system, Parking Technology Package, Blind Spot Detection system, Active Park Assist,, Rear View Camera system and full leather Bucket seats.
This latest iteration of the Ford Escape not only delivers stunning good looks, but serves up features and equipment that enhance the total driving experience, along with admirable handling characteristics. Performance delivered by the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-banger was impressive with pleasing acceleration, smooth shifting and on center steering feel. The ride quality was comfortable – firm and stable, but without being harsh.
The 2013 Ford Escape in any of its trim levels truly represents a smarter SUV in a sensibly sized format. Pressing hard as members of the press often do, yielded mileage results that generally fell short of the projected levels, but once fully broken in and driven in a more “real-world” fashion, it’s likely that the projected ratings are indeed achievable.
Final assembly of the 2013 Ford Escape will take place at Ford’s Louisville, Ky. Assembly Plant.