The Ford Escape is new for 2013, and this time, it's no carryover crossover SUV. It's more like a sporty hatchback with great handling and turbo power. But is that what you need? We take a look in our latest video road test.
Take one look at the new Escape and you'd hardly recognize it. Gone is the boxy miniature Explorer styling, replaced by a tightly fitted form that looks part hatchback and part running shoe.
The Escape's dash is swoopy and daring, but as a result, the interior isn't as open or airy as before. We like the clean gauge cluster, and the piano-style controls at the center stack.
The new Escape is quick and nimble--as long as you pick the right engine. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder has 155 horsepower; it's mostly for rental fleets. There's a turbo 1.6-liter four with 178 horsepower, and a 2.0-liter turbo four with 240 horsepower like this version.
The new Escape puts gas mileage as a priority, too. The base engine's rated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The 1.6-liter, 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Our 2.0-liter Escape gets EPA ratings of 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Keep in mind, those numbers are for front-drive models; all-wheel drive will cut gas mileage by one or two miles per gallon.
The trade-off for the Escape's great handling is a feeling of interior room. The Escape's technically a subcompact, like the 2013 Hyundai Tucson and 2013 Mazda CX-5, so there's just less space than in some bigger crossovers.
There's not much knee or foot room, and no Escape offers a power front passenger seat. In back, there's better passenger space, and in all five seats, headroom is very good. The rear bench seat backs recline for long-distance driving. And the seats fold flat to create 68 cubic feet of cargo space--just a little less than the room in a 2013 Honda CR-V.
Safety is near the top of its class, but a bit behind the Honda, though. The Escape's been named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, and earned four stars from NHTSA. Ford's MyKey system lets parents limit stereo volume and vehicle speed when handing the keys over to teen drivers--but Bluetooth and a rearview camera are options on the base models.
The Escape is priced from the mid $20,000s and can be optioned all the way to $38,000. Standard features include a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, climate control and power features. The $26,000 Escape SE gets Bluetooth and Ford's SYNC voice-control system. The pricey Titanium model gets the controversial MyFord Touch infotainment system, leather seats, push button start, and a premium Sony audio sound system. Our Titanium test vehicle has a sticker price of nearly $35,000.
So what's the bottom line with the new Ford Escape? The fake SUV pitch is gone, and the Escape's now a real athlete.
For more information on the 2013 Ford Escape be sure you read our full review here.