The economy may be in the tank, and your 401k may have sunk to piggy bank proportions, but that's okay, because we have great news: the 2010 Ford Escape is going to be safer than ever. Feel better now?
The folks at the Big Blue Oval are adding five features to the new Escape, some of which seem really nifty. Others? Well...
- Integrated Spotter Mirror (standard) – a consumer-friendly, affordable blind spot technology that consists of an outside rearview mirror designed with a secondary convex spotter in the top outer corner, which is aimed exclusively at the driver's blind spot. When traffic enters the driver’s blind spot on either side of the vehicle, it is visible in the secondary convex mirror, helping provide the driver broader peripheral view.
That sounds (and looks) like that little doomahickey you get at the parts store--you know, the convex mirror that sticks to your side-view mirror that's designed to eliminate your blind spot? Nice work, Ford, but the thinking on this one isn't exactly outside the box.
- MyKey (standard) – allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume. MyKey also encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour. This feature is standard on Escape models featuring a message center cluster, including XLT and above.
So it's like a V-chip, but for your car? Awesome. Sounds like just the thing for anyone with kids and/or elderly relatives constantly begging for the keys. Keep that Twisted Sister to a low roar, gramps.
- Rear View Camera System – uses an exterior camera embedded in the rear of the vehicle that sends images to a video display in the rearview mirror or the navigation system screen to help enhance visibility directly behind the vehicle when it is in reverse. Ford is leveraging the affordability of high-quality video cameras to widely offer the technology with navigation systems.
Not only is this a nice addition, but it may also come in handy for discreetly ogling the hotter guests at tailgate parties. Not that we'd ever do that and post the results to YouTube or anything.
- Active Park Assist – uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to position the vehicle for parallel parking, calculate the optimal steering angle and quickly steer the vehicle into a parking spot. The technology is a major leap forward in speed and ease of use compared with the camera-reliant systems offered by competitors. Ford’s system requires less driver interaction and reduces the risk of selecting a parking spot that is too tight. Ford’s Active Park Assist also works in downhill parking situations, unlike competing systems.
It's another nail in the coffin for the pesky parallel-parking segment of the state driving test. What are teen drivers supposed to get nervous about now? Speed bumps?
- SYNC – Ford is expanding its connectivity leadership by introducing exclusive new SYNC real-time information features. The new Escape is one of the first vehicles to introduce this innovation – SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information – which leverages industry-leading voice-recognition software, integrated GPS technology, and a customer’s Bluetooth-capable mobile phone. SYNC’s new services provide simple hands-free access to personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports, and weather.
Well, we knew that was coming, but it's nice to see it in print. And hey: it's good to see cars getting smarter, because the drivers in our neck of the woods certainly aren't.