Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ford Escape gets a makeover

2013 Ford Escape

The 2013 Ford Escape features clever technologies like the hands-free liftgate and class-leading fuel economy. Courtesy photo

From page A16 | January 31, 2014 |

The Ford Escape was introduced in 2001 as a smaller SUV. There have been many improvements since then but for2014 the Escape receives a major refreshing that makes it look much more contemporary. We got our hands on one and were very impressed; it’s a much-improved car from the Escape that you may remember.

The biggest change was under the hood, where now you have a choice of several different engines ranging from a 2.5 liter four cylinder that provides 168 hp to a 1.6 liter turbo four cylinder that makes 178 hp but gets better economy to the top engine that came in our car which was a 2.0 liter turbo that cranked out a solid 240 horsepower while providing almost the same fuel economy as the base engine. The two EcoBoost turbocharged engines are mated to a six speed automatic transmissions that are well tuned to the engines.

The power is routed through an intelligent four-wheel-drive system that uses advanced software and sensors to analyze data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, assessing road conditions and driver input 20 times faster than the blink of an eye. The system uses all the sensor inputs to turn the vehicle in the direction the driver wants it to go. Intelligent 4WD builds on the preemptive actions by adding and subtracting torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch. There is even a display on the dash that will show you how the power is being distributed.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Escape will be for enthusiast drivers wishing to have some fun. Unlike many other SUVs, the Escape with the 2.0 EcoBoost engine is actually fun to drive. While there are a lot of SUVs out there such as the Mercedes Benz AMG units and BMW M units, the Escape does not really advertise its sportiness. But go around a fast turn and you will be happy to realize that it is easy to balance the Escape using the throttle while on the edge and the car actually will rotate for you gently if you lift off the throttle in mid-turn. And all of that is with the stability control still engaged. The engineers at Ford must have had a lot of fun on their mind when they were designing the system and we really appreciate their hard work.

The EcoBoost itself is a gem of an engine with tons of power coming on very strong at virtually any rpm. The engine pulls hard and is well matched to the transmission. The nice thing is that with 240 hp in a 3800 pound SUV, the Escape is still fun to drive and gets good fuel economy. The EPA rates it at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The front wheel drive version gets a bit better economy with 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine also allows you to tow up to 3500 pounds with the Escape which is pretty respectable. For many families that can be a small boat or camper.

The other feature of the Escape that has always been favorable is price. The 2014 Escape starts out at $21,595. Our Escape had a wealth of options including the top of the line Titanium package which starts out at $27,995. Add in options such as HID headlights (which worked great), blind spot detection, active park assist and navigation system and our Escape was just over $35,000. Just like most cars you need to only select the options that you really want because it can add up quickly.

The 2014 Escape is a huge upgrade from the previous version. It is better looking and has more features but above all it is more refined under the hood with state of the art engines and fun handling. Ford has really made some great improvements that are worth exploring.


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