Ford Escape SE (2013)

  • Pro List Icon Pros
  • Attractive, modern looking design.
  • The Escape is built on the excellent Ford Focus platform, which helps explain why it’s almost fun to drive.
  • It’s a nice sized vehicle. Not huge. Yet there’s enough room in the back seat to carry passengers, and enough room in the cargo compartment for a reasonable amount of stuff.
  • Better visibility than the other crossover SUVs, including the Mazda CX-5 we drove just prior to the Escape.
  • Decent MPG -- especially on the highway. We got high 20’s on the highway, low 20’s around town, about 25 overall, with more highway than city.
  • State-of-the-art, 1.6 liter, GDI (Gas Direct Injection) turbo-charged engine has more than enough power despite its small size. You know what else has a 1.6 liter engine? The Mini. So it’s impressive to power a 3,502-pound car so comfortably with an engine that small. Welcome to the future.
  • Considering the engine’s size, it’s nice and quiet, too, except under hard acceleration. (And an engine is supposed to make noise then!)
  • High-quality feel, compared to the older Ford Escape -- the items you touch every day, like directional controls and the steering wheel, have a sense of solidity and quality about them.
  • Con List IconCons
  • Could use a backup camera.
  • The ride was firm, and to some, a bit harsh on some roads.
  • Both the Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5 offer a softer, more comfortable ride, in exchange for some handling prowess. But both have a better reliability records. (Recent J.D. Powers reports about Ford’s lackluster quality ratings are a source of concern.)
  • SYNC (voice-controlled) audio, telephone and climate-control system is still buggy and hard to get used to. We spent a lot of time with our eyes off the road trying to handle basic chores.
  • With a starting list price of $22,470 for the base, two-wheel-drive, S model, Ford is positioning the Escape as a premium offering in its class. It starts $1,500 higher than the Mazda CX 5, and is only a few hundred dollars cheaper than the equivalent Honda CR-V, which has a time-tested record of reliability.

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