2013 Ford Escape Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Good performance and fuel efficiency
- many high-tech features
- agile handling
- high-quality cabin
- comfortable seating.
- Gets a little pricey when loaded with options
- slightly awkward climate controls.
For 2013, the Ford Escape is completely redesigned.
The 2013 Ford Escape is a winner in the segment of small crossover utility vehicles thanks to athletic driving dynamics, an inviting cabin and plenty of useful high-tech features.
After years of soldiering on with the same basic platform, Ford's little crossover has finally received a major makeover. Judging by our experience with the 2013 Ford Escape, it looks as if it was worth the wait. The new Escape stands as one of the top entries in a segment that's already packed with excellent choices.
The 2013 Escape has some international lineage, as it is based on the Ford Kuga, a European compact crossover that in turn shares its platform with the Ford Focus. Its gene pool has graced it with handsomely sculpted styling and an athletic chassis. Compared to the outgoing Escape, the new one has a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase and is 1.3 inches wider. Together, these dimensions provide more room inside, while this model's shorter height (by 1.6 inch) contributes to the sleeker look outside. Other interior changes include higher-quality materials, a second-row seat that's much easier to fold down, a "hands-free" power liftgate and the addition of the MyFord Touch electronics interface.
A trio of four-cylinder engine choices comprise the Escape's power lineup, and all run through a six-speed automatic. One is a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter engine carried over from last year, but it's only offered on the base model. The mainstream choice is a new turbocharged 1.6-liter. It puts out 178 hp and returns an EPA-estimated 33 mpg on the highway. Drivers who want quicker acceleration can opt for the 240-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, which effectively replaces the V6 in the old Escape. A hybrid variant of the Ford Escape is no longer offered, however.
The 2013 Ford Escape is better in every way relative to its precursor. Its primary competitors -- the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 -- can't match its engine choices, while the Kia Sportage and Subaru Forester can't match its interior refinement.
One possible downside is price -- once you load up an Escape with all of its nifty options, it ends up being one of the most expensive models in its class. But if you're OK with that, the 2013 Ford Escape should be an excellent choice for a small crossover.
Performance & mpg
Standard and only available on the S is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 hp and 167 pound-feet of torque. The SE and SEL come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-4 that makes 178 hp and 184 lb-ft. Optional on these two trims and standard on the Titanium is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that pumps out 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.
A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and all but the S are available in either front- or all-wheel-drive configuration (the S is front-wheel drive only). Properly equipped, an Escape with the 2.0-liter turbo engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Fuel economy estimates for the 2.5 are 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. The 1.6 EcoBoost with front-wheel drive earns 23 city/33 highway, while the 2.0 EcoBoost with front-wheel drive rates 22/30/25. All-wheel-drive versions rate 1-2 mpg less.
Antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, a driver knee airbag and full-length curtain-type airbags are all standard on the 2013 Ford Escape.
Performance ranges from average with the 2.5 and 1.6 engines to downright spirited with the 2.0 turbo. In uphill situations in which the 1.6 needs either extra throttle or a downshift (or both), the brawny torque of the 2.0 pulls the Escape through without a thought. The 2.0 turbo is also quieter and smoother, and offers good punch when you boot it to swiftly pass or merge.
Blessed with the competent Focus platform, the 2013 Ford Escape handles itself well in the curves. Mind you, with its greater weight and higher center of gravity you won't exactly mistake the Escape for a Focus, but it's willing enough when the road begins to twist. The steering doesn't have the spot-on feel of the Focus, but body roll is controlled reasonably well. Things improve further in the Titanium model, as the extra grip from the high-performance 19-inch tires allows more aggressive cornering. Ride in the latter is taut but still supple enough.
Up front in the cabin the Escape provides a pair of well-shaped, generously padded seats that ensure proper comfort and support. Materials and overall fit and finish are excellent. The gauges are large and easily read. But while most controls are intuitive, those for the climate system are awkwardly located, down low and in front of the gear selector. The Sync system works well for both cell phone and audio/iPod integration. Ford has also worked to improve the latest version of MyFord Touch -- it works well, though there's still a learning curve involved.
As before, there's plenty of room inside the Escape, even in the rear seat, which has plenty of head- and legroom. The wide front seats are generously padded, with good bolstering for the seatback. Like the Focus, the Escape has a steering wheel with a sporty, thick rim that enhances this crossover's carlike image. Cargo space behind the rear seats measures 34.3 cubic feet. Flipping the rear seats down via a one-touch lever opens capacity up to 68.1 cubes, about average for the segment. One interesting feature is the optional hands-free power liftgate; as long as the key fob is within close proximity (i.e., in your pocket or purse), kicking or waving your foot under the rear bumper will open the liftgate.
2013 Ford Escape models
The 2013 Ford Escape is a compact crossover SUV that comes in four trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium.
The S comes with 17-inch steel wheels, an integrated blind-spot mirror, MyKey parental controls, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack.
Options for the S are few but include the Sync voice-command electronics interface (includes iPod interface and Bluetooth) and steering-wheel audio controls.
Upgrading to the SE brings a turbocharged engine, color-keyed mirrors/door handles, foglamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry keypad, privacy tinted glass, a four-inch multifunction screen, the Sync system, reclining rear seats, satellite radio and steering-wheel audio controls.
Option highlights for the SE include 18-inch wheels, a power panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control and a navigation system.
The SEL adds heated sideview mirrors, one-touch up/down for all windows, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, the MyFord Touch electronics interface, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, interior ambient lighting, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), heated front seats and an upgraded, nine-speaker sound system.
Options for the SEL include a Cargo Management System (roof rack, interior tonneau cover, power liftgate), a Technology package (keyless ignition/entry, remote start, hands-free liftgate, reverse park assist and a Sony audio system with 10 speakers and HD radio), a Parking Technology package (automated parallel parking assist, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot monitor), a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.
Sitting at the top of the line, the Titanium adds a more powerful engine, 19-inch wheels, remote start, keyless ignition/entry, ambient lighting, upgraded leather upholstery and the Sony audio system.
Options include a Titanium Technology package (roof rack, xenon headlights, interior tonneau cover, hands-free liftgate, reverse park assist), the Parking Technology package, full leather upholstery, a power panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover19.1%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
To say the all-new 2013 Ford Escape is important to Ford is like saying Peyton Manning might be of some use to the Denver Broncos. Ford has sold more than 2 million of these little SUVs since its launch in 2000. It fights month-on-month with its archrival from Honda, the CR-V, for top sales honors. It's a necessity for Ford, especially in this era of soaring fuel prices, that the Escape continues to be a top performer.
So don't mess with a good thing, right? Wrong. With the 2013 Ford Escape set to arrive at dealers in May, the brand will unleash the first truly all-new Escape since the original. The global Escape (called the Kuga in some markets) is now based on the new Focus platform, and nearly every nut, bolt and body panel is new on this rig.
Unlike the original Escape, with its clean but very traditional two-box design, Ford's Kinetic philosophy now stands at the forefront of the Escape's message, with an in-your-face trapezoidal grille, rising beltline, sloping roof line and fancy head- and taillights, all of which make the outgoing Escape look like a prude school girl by comparison.
While styling sells, it's the engines that move you, and the 2013 Ford Escape has three from which to choose, two boasting the name EcoBoost — that's turbocharging to the rest of us.
The Focus Giveth
The Escape's overall length is increased by 3.4 inches and it rides on a wheelbase that's some 2.8 inches longer than the 2012 Escape. An extra 1.3 inches of width combined with a 1.6-inch lower overall height helped the Ford design team hone the sporty shape they were looking for.
There's still plenty of room inside, even in the rear seat, which we found to have excellent head- and foot room and decent knee room. The 60/40-split/folding rear seat now has a simple one-touch lever for fold-flat ability, as well as a seatback recline function.
The wide front seats are exceedingly well-padded, with good bolstering for the seatback. Like the Focus, the Escape has a grippy, thick-rimmed steering wheel that adds to the SUV's sporty driving dynamics. And as with the Focus, interior quality is excellent, with soft-touch materials for the dash and door sills, along with well-padded door armrests and center armrest. We did notice an intermittent rattle in an early-production Titanium model, coming from the hard plastic center section of the dash.
Good Choices Are Good Choices
The 2013 Ford Escape will have three (count 'em) four-cylinder engine choices, all combined with six-speed automatics and, unfortunately, Ford's ultra-goofy lever-mounted rocker switch for manual shifting. Both the 2012 Honda CR-V and the all-new Mazda CX-5 make do with just one engine — a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline-4 with 185 horsepower and a five-speed automatic in the CR-V, and a 2.0-liter 155-hp four mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic on the CX-5.
Unlike with the current Escape, there won't be a hybrid, as the C-Max will take over that duty.
The 2.5-liter in the base Escape S ($23,295 including $825 destination) is basically the same engine as last year, now with 168 hp and 170 pound-feet of torque. Ford cares so little about this engine — probably because it's expected to make up less than 10 percent of the Escape mix — that it didn't have any on hand for us to try.
Feeling the Boost
That's OK, because it's neither the fuel economy leader nor the power champ of the group. The former distinction goes to the new, English-built 1.6-liter EcoBoost (estimated 23 city/33 highway mpg versus the CR-V's 23 city/31 highway), which makes its American debut in the 2013 Ford Escape SE ($25,895). It's packed with a turbo, direct injection and variable valve timing. Using 91-octane fuel it produces 178 hp at 5,700 rpm and 184 lb-ft of torque at just 2,500 and does so with little turbo lag and minimal noise. More importantly, it does a reasonable job of moving the 3,502-pound front-drive Escape (all-wheel drive is available for $1,750 in either EcoBoost model), but it surely won't blow you away with its power. The one oddity was a slight hiccup in the surge of power at about 4,500 rpm.
An extra $1,095 gets you the 2.0-liter EcoBoost with 240 hp at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm (also using 91-octane), replacing last year's 240-hp 3.0-liter V6. This is the same EcoBoost that's a bit overmatched in the 2012 Ford Explorer, which means it's absolutely terrific in the little Escape. This, friends, is the engine to get if you don't mind sacrificing a few miles per gallon (EPA rating of 22 city/30 highway/25 combined with FWD).
In uphill situations where the 1.6 needed either extra throttle or a downshift (or both), the prodigious torque of the 2.0 pulls the Escape through without a thought. It's also quieter and smoother, and offers good punch when you press the right pedal all the way to the floor. And the 2.0 enables a 3,500-pound towing capacity.
Handling the Curves
It was Ford's intention that the Escape be on the sporting side of the small SUV segment. Being based on the extremely competent-handling new Focus is a good start. Mind you, with its higher weight and a higher center of gravity you won't mistake the Escape for a Focus, but it's willing enough when the road begins to twist. The electric-assist steering doesn't have the spot-on feel of the Focus as it's a bit syrupy in its delivery, but body roll is reasonably well-controlled.
Things improve further in the Titanium model. Not just because of the 2.0 EcoBoost, but also because of the extra grip from the higher-performance all-season 19-inch tires and the ability of the (optional at this trim level) all-wheel-drive system to put the power down when exiting turns. Ride is taut but still supple enough. The shorter, stiffer sidewalls of the Titanium's 19-inch tires gave it a slightly more jittery ride than the 1.6 SE.
The brakes on the SE were touchy on initial application at low speeds, but pedal stroke was still long, and they didn't feel particularly powerful.
Certainly Ford has done some very solid work with the Escape's aero qualities (it's 10 percent more slippery than the outgoing model), as it exhibits very low wind and road noise.
Ford says the 2013 Escape is available with "11 new exclusive features no other small SUV offers." These include a blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, a power panoramic roof and a hands-free power liftgate system, or as we call it — the kick-to-open tailgate. That's right, after years of being told by your parents to never, ever use your foot to close a door, Ford now wants you to kick the tailgate to open or close it.
In reality, your foot never needs to touch the tailgate, but rather just swing under the bumper to set off a sensor provided you're carrying the key fob. It's part of an $1,895 option package on the Escape SEL. When it works, it's handy. But it didn't open for us on first kick every time. Maybe we're uncoordinated. Or really bad at soccer.
King of the Small SUVs
With more diverse and efficient engine choices, a nicer interior, sportier handling manners, unique available features and a new look that's sure to grab some stares, the 2013 Ford Escape is better in every way than the vehicle it replaces. Yes, it's a bit more expensive than before (the base model starts $1,030 higher), but there's also considerably more content.
Its primary competitors — Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 — can't match its engine choices, while the Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4 can only dream about the Escape's interior refinement.
But here's the most intriguing aspect of the 2013 Escape story: Ford sold more Escapes in 2011 than ever — 254,293 units to be exact — trouncing the CR-V. Given those numbers and the 2013 model's specs, it might just be more useful to Ford than Manning is to the Broncos.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2013 Ford Escape Overview
The Used 2013 Ford Escape is offered in the following submodels: Escape SUV. Available styles include SE 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A), SEL 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A), SE 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A), S 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A), SEL 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Titanium 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and Titanium 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A). Pre-owned Ford Escape models are available with a 1.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 173 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2013 Ford Escape comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2013 Ford Escape comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2013 Ford Escape?
Price comparisons for Used 2013 Ford Escape trim styles:
- The Used 2013 Ford Escape SEL is priced between $11,990 and$19,998 with odometer readings between 42421 and162736 miles.
- The Used 2013 Ford Escape SE is priced between $9,988 and$18,990 with odometer readings between 22026 and129291 miles.
- The Used 2013 Ford Escape Titanium is priced between $12,991 and$20,590 with odometer readings between 40996 and112431 miles.
- The Used 2013 Ford Escape S is priced between $15,590 and$19,990 with odometer readings between 27347 and103236 miles.
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Ford Escape?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.