The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2013 Ford Escape - Heels On Wheels Review

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Ford Escape

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Escape garnered much fanfare for morphing into a more popular crossover design, and attempts to point peaked consumer interest to the vehicle’s advanced technologies for 2013. This includes a new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a class-exclusive foot-activated liftgate.

I drove a 2013 Ford Escape with the new direct-injection turbocharged 178-horsepower 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Available in four trims – base S, SE, SEL and Titanium – my SE model test drive came with the follow standard feature highlights: leather-trimmed upholstery; heated front seats; dual-zone climate control; ambient interior lighting; and dual chrome exhaust tips. Total price as described without options came to $25,550.

Additions for the model year include a new Ford Intelligent four-wheel drive System, the new motion-sensing liftgate that unlocks and activates with just a gentle kick under the rear bumper, and a1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. The latter took a lot of heat (no pun intended) for reports of catching on fire and Ford did a recall of all Escapes with this powertrain November of last year. Main competitors are the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Toyota RAV4.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Even at base level, quality materials help the Escape cabin come off a bit more refined than competitors. The feel and construction of the steering wheel also ousts several counterparts. There is no power seating at the SE level, and I highly recommend moving up a trim to get it as the manual settings are rather uncomfortable (a typical slight of these more affordable small crossovers – you’ll also have to step up to the RAV4 Limited to get this convenience). The exterior design itself isn’t as athletic or aerodynamic as what the CR-V and Sportage are pushing, but it’s a matter of personal taste.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ranks the 2013 Ford Escape as a Top Safety Pick with “Good” results in all crash-test areas. The vehicle has an overall score of 4-Stars with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with side crash earning the best results. Some interesting optional safety equipment includes a hands-free Active Park Assist and Curve Control cornering technology.

Cost Issues: A cost of $25,500 for the mid-level Escape SE seems reasonable – it’s the tempting options that escalate the price of any Ford. An additional $440 give my test drive roof rails, cross bars, a tonneau cover and a perimeter alarm; factor in another $495 for a liftgate; and finally $1,570 for and the revised SYNC with MyFord Touch with navigation for a grand total of $28,400.

Activity & Performance Ability: Aside of the 1.6-liter, there is also a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 240-horsepower 2-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. I found the 1.6-liter zesty and authoritative. However, this past November Ford conducting a voluntary safety recall of 2013 SE and SEL model Ford Escape vehicles equipped with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. The recall comes after reports of engines overheating, followed by vehicle fires starting in the engine compartment when the engine is running (no injuries were reported). Escapes equipped with the 2-liter and the 2.5-liter engines are unaffected.

The Green Concern: Ford stays competitive here by delivering 25 miles-per-gallon combined under the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and four-wheel drive. Competitors like the RAV4, CR-V and Sportage can also deliver these results. Front-wheel drive is 23-city and 33-highway for 26 combined, so opt for the more capable drivetrain.

A bit tarnished by the safety recall for the new 1.6-liter engine, the 2013 Ford Escape remains competitive for its technology, refined cabin and fuel economy but sits on the pricier side of the smaller crossover segment when options are factored in.

©2013 Katrina Ramser