The 2009 Ford Escape offers some cool, cutting-edge technological features, but unfortunately most are available only as expensive options.
Popular Mechanics says, “Sync comes standard on Escape Limited and Escape Hybrid Limited models, and is optional on all other models." They add that the voice-activated navigation system “uses Sirius Travel Link, which includes such goodies as weather maps, movie listings and a fuel-finder system that locates and sorts nearby gas stations by price, location and brand.”
ConsumerGuide warns that while the navigation system absorbs most audio controls, “it complicates some functions by requiring multiple button and/or touch-screen presses for some simple tasks. Redundant steering-wheel buttons and voice programming via Ford's Sync system help.”
Car and Driver points out that “Travel Link also does a whole bunch of other cool stuff such as locating the cheapest and closest gas stations and linking with the nav system to get you there, or hooking up with your cell phone to make restaurant reservations. The system will let you watch a DVD (while parked, of course), rip MP3s to the 10-gig hard drive, and upload family photos to use as wallpaper.” And Popular Mechanics adds a dose of reality, advising, “Expect to pay a bigger monthly premium for this level of on-the-road connectivity.”
About the ergonomics of the Escape features, Automobile.com says “the instruments are shielded from glare and easy to see while the audio and climate system controls on the center stack are within easy reach. As has been typical of Ford for years, buttons and knobs are large and well-marked.”