2013 Ford Escape
Base price: $22,470 – $34,735
MPG: 22 city/31 highway/25 combined
- Dramatic new styling
- New EcoBoost engines
- Improved technology, new Sync and MyFord Touch upgrades
- Hybrid model discontinued
By Jim Prueter
After 12 years on the market, the Ford Escape, the small-sized family-friendly utility vehicle, is finally getting a full redesign.
The new Escape looks nothing like the current boxy-styled model, featuring a sloping rear roofline, gaping split grille, and angular headlights and taillights that share styling cues with Ford’s Fiesta and Focus.
Ford designers have also improved the vehicle’s interior quality. There’s a new soft-touch dashboard, the rear seats now fold in one simple motion, and there are substantial improvements to the previously frustrating MyFord Touch system.
With the new Escape, Ford introduces an industry first: a hands-free rear liftgate that opens when you slide your foot beneath the center of the rear bumper. Another piece of new technology is an optional feature that enables the Escape to automatically parallel park itself. That option also includes a backup camera, front and rear proximity sensors, and a blind-spot warning system.
Escape will offer a choice of three engines, all 4-cylinder: a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter (a carryover from last year), a new 173-horsepower 1.6-liter EcoBoost, and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost with 237 horsepower that replaces the outgoing 3.0-liter V-6. Ford has dropped the Escape Hybrid, which was offered for several years.
Ford is changing its trim level nomenclature to S, SE, SEL, and Titanium, replacing the XLS, XLT, and Limited levels on the outgoing model. The Escape’s fully loaded, top-of-the-line Titanium trim level is priced at $34,735, including shipping.
We had a chance to spend some time behind the wheel of the new Escape and found it to have a firmer ride and sportier feel than the outgoing model. It felt stable and sure-footed on winding mountain roads thanks to the security of enhanced features such as Torque Vectoring Control, which helps the vehicle accelerate smoothly through corners, and Curve Control, which slows the vehicle when it’s going too fast into a corner.
We think the new Escape is an excellent, fun-to-drive crossover that will not only maintain Ford’s current spot at the top of the small crossover pack, but also steal customers away from other makes, including premium and near-luxury brands.