An old friend from Ford still does the trick.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Ford’s Escape was one of the first smaller crossovers on the market, long before the buying public turned the vast majority of its attention to this vehicle class. And that old boxy Escape was a good vehicle. When Ford introduced us to the new Escape late in 2011, it had big shoes to fill. The shape was new, the powertrain was new – and it was a bit of a shock. But over the years, the Escape has proven to be a solid vehicle that has sold like crazy.
There’s not a lot here that’s going to surprise you – or catch your eye. What was once an avant garde styling exercise that took people by surprise has become a familiar sight on the street. The modern, slightly hunchbacked lines still look decent, but when paired with a colour like my Escape’s Blue Metallic, this crossover doesn’t really stand out in the crowd.
This trim gets nice 19-inch rims wearing fat 235/45-sized rubber.
The styling and materials in the Escape cabin are starting to get a bit tired. I prefer cleaner lines and perhaps less black – it’s a dark cockpit and the couple of glossy bits do little to brighten things up. But everything still works pretty well here.
The heated and cooled leather seats are comfortable and well-bolstered. The steering wheel is also heated and sits in front of the standard set of Ford gauges and driver information screen.
A SYNC 3-powered touchscreen sits mid-dash, and because it’s still sunken into its space, it’s still difficult to reach the lower corners of the screen. I like SYNC 3 and how simple it is. The voice recognition worked very well and the Sony-branded 10-speaker sound system is great.
This trim, optioned the way it was for me, comes pretty loaded up with driver assistance technology – there’s a back-up camera with parking sensors all around, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping alert and aid, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and park-assist.
You’ll find three seats back here – the middle position has a small floor tunnel intrusion but otherwise, it worked well for all three of our kids. Two adults would be fine too. Even though the head and leg room is quite generous (at 5’10”, I had a couple of inches to spare in both directions) and the back seats recline, I didn’t find them to be very comfortable.
The middle seatback folds down to become an armrest with a couple of cupholders. Rear passengers also get adjustable air vents and a 110V household plug. It feels airy in the back thanks to the enormous panoramic sunroof.
There’s a little rubberized bin at the front of the centre console, along with a USB and a 12V plug. Under the armrest lid is a dual level compartment along with another 12V plug.
The trunk has a power tail gate, as well as the foot-activated hands-free opening feature (which I can never get to work consistently). It comes with a removable, retractable tonneau cover and it feel spacious enough. At 964L, it’s competitive. Fold the rear seats down if you need more – that nets you 1925L.
Under the Hood
The Titanium gets the upgraded, bigger 2L 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine that puts out a solid 245 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 275 lb.ft of torque at 3,000 RPM. Ford sends the power through a 6-speed automatic to an all-wheel drive system.
The bigger EcoBoost is thirstier obviously and gets rated at 11.1/8.1 L/100 km hwy/city. We averaged 10.2 L/100 km, which is surprisingly good.
Handling has always been this generation Escape’s strong suit. I’d almost say it’s fun to drive, and coupled with plenty of power in any situation, it makes for a great little urban warrior. The ride is stiff but never gets uncomfortable.
The automatic transmission is pretty smart, and felt like it was in the right gear most of the time. It’s smooth and can be manually shifted with paddle shifters if that’s your thing.
We found the Escape to be relatively quiet, even on the highway – road noise picks up a bit at high speeds but not in a big way. The braking capabilities are good and visibility out of the vehicle is fairly decent.
If you tow stuff, this configuration can actually haul something to the tune of 1587 kg (3,500 pounds)!
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was pretty high. She said she liked the size of the Escape and how that translated into an easy-to-drive experience.
While the Escape starts at a very reasonable $23,276, you’re looking at well over $40,000 before taxes for one kitted out like my Titanium review sample. That’s not chump change, and the category is very, very competitive. Much of the competition seems to be moving at a brisk pace when it comes to updating their models – more brisk than Ford, as this generation of Escape has been with us since late 2011.
With all that said, the Escape still holds up well. Although it’s aging, it performs beautifully, rides nicely, provides competitive space inside and in terms of cargo and stays current with its technology.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Ford Canada.
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