2013 Ford Escape SEL

2013 Ford Escape SEL

Eco-what? Embodying the perfect mix of drivetrain, technology, comfort and ease of use, directly aimed at the young adult, I couldn’t help but feel that this Ford Escape was designed just for that demographic.

The Ford Escape was first introduced in 2000 for the 2001 model year.  Over the past decade and a bit, it hasn’t been refreshed all that often; relying on the same platform since the first day it was released. That however, has changed and changed for the best.  Despite increasing competition, Ford has always done well with the Escape, outselling the likes of the “pinnacles of the class”; the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

 

More often than not, it’s a drop in sales that forces a manufacturers hand.  In this case, Ford has taken all of their improvements seen in the Flex, Taurus and other models and wrapped it all up in a tidy bow with the Escape. Perhaps, embodying the perfect mix of drivetrain, technology, comfort and ease of use, directly aimed at the young adult, I couldn’t help but feel that this Ford Escape was designed just for that demographic.

 

2013 Ford Escape SEL Front 1/4

 

Driving the car just forces you to imagine what it would be like to drive this crossover SUV to the hills of Hidden Valley, or Blue Mountain with enough space for a snowboard or skis, both in the interior or strapped to the roof. For the 2013 model, Ford has managed to get fuel economy in the EcoBoost more efficiently than the outgoing Hybrid model.  Quite the feat and nothing to sneeze at.

 

Our SEL tester was equipped with Ford’s MyFordTouch entertainment system. We’ve moaned and groaned about it in the past; and it’s no different in this new application. Ford claims that there have been various software updates set out to improve the complaints of consumers from the past couple years, but I saw no significant improvement. The interface still lags quite a bit, and takes so long to read iPod playlists that you may as well not plug it in at all. The SEL also gives you heated leather seats, a 9-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, and 18″ wheels. What more could you really want from a cute-ute?

 

2013 Ford Escape SEL Badge

Powered by the 2.0L version of Ford’s EcoBoost engine, our Escape put out 231 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. For a turbocharged engine that only requires regular fuel, these numbers are awesome. The Escape effortlessly merges onto the highway and has no problem keeping up with its competitors. It’s also important to note that Ford does recommend premium fuel, but we noticed no improvement in fuel economy or engine response when switching between fuel types.

While the old Escape felt truck-like in its character, the new one hardly feels any different from driving a Focus. This is especially awesome when booting around the city; it doesn’t feel bogged down or tiring to navigate through small alleyways. The Escape is one of the most pleasurable SUVs to drive in the city. Driving around Toronto for a few days, I managed 9.9L/100km on regular fuel. Awesome, considering that’s about what I managed in a supposedly “fuel-efficient” 4-cylinder Mazda6 in the city.

 

2013 Ford Escape SEL Navigation Screen

Overall, there isn’t much to understand about this Escape. It looks fantastic; it’s great to drive and most importantly, it’s reasonably priced. At just under $34,000 for the 4WD SEL, it’s priced to sell. This is even before taking into account that no one really pays retail for Ford products in Canada; it’s just how it is. Would I buy one? Probably not. Then again, I don’t have a kid or two to haul to soccer practice or Kumon math classes. If I did, I’d easily buy one over a CR-V or even a Mazda CX-5. It’s just that good.

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