For Ford, the all-new 2013 Escape compact crossover is ready to take on the perennial best-selling small CUV in the segment, the Honda CR-V, itself sporting a fresh redesign for 2012.
This isn’t just a mild makeover for the Escape, mind you, but a new-from-the-ground-up redesign, as our sister publication TheCarConnection points out in coverage from the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show floor. In fact, this is the first major re-do in a decade, and for fans of the Escape, it is no doubt long overdue.
That matters a lot to Ford, eager to attract new buyers to the Escape in the growing compact crossover segment. The automaker says that roughly 60 percent of buyers next year will be looking at either mid-size cars or compact SUVs.
What’s new about the 2013 Ford Escape? Let’s look at some of the changes.
Sleek new exterior
In a segment where exterior styling can make all the difference, standing out because of a sleek and elegant exterior design is an important element in the all-new Escape.
Gone is the truck-like look that characterized older crossovers and SUVs from Ford. In is the somewhat longer, lower to the ground, smoother shape that boasts a drag coefficient that Ford says is 10 percent lower than its predecessor.
Families will appreciate the lower step-in height that makes entry and exit easier.
Interior changes, features and high-tech
One of the highlights of the new Escape, and one that Ford is convinced will help sell it to prospective buyers, is the optional hands-free power liftgate that is activated simply by waving a foot under the crossover’s rear bumper. But you do need to have the Escape’s key fob in a pocket or on your person in order for this hands-free power liftgate to work as intended. And, as we reported previously, there is a slight delay in the opening of the liftgate to allow enough time for someone to back up out of the way.
Escape also features the latest version of the MyFord Touch system that’s simpler, faster and easier to navigate.
The rear seats are similarly easy to use. To fold them flat, simply pull on a strap located on the top of the seat back. This motion causes the headrests to fold down and the seat backs to fold onto the cushion.
When there are no passengers in the rear seats, the driver can push a button to automatically fold down the headrests for improved rearward visibility.
The Escape’s longer length means more storage space, thanks to a longer load bay. There is 34.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second seat and 68.1 cubic feet with second-row seats folded flat. And the liftover height is just 27 inches.
Power for the new Escape comes in the form of three engines, two of which are EcoBoost. In base S model, the powerplant is an adaptation of the current 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Next up is a 1.6-liter EcoBoost direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder, which is also paired with a six-speed automatic. This engine, Ford says, will deliver up to 5 mpg better fuel economy than previous Escapes.
But the king of the hill in Escape engines is the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four, also mated with a six-speed automatic. First offered in the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost provides Escape with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.