2013 Ford Escape – The fun SUV tickling our techie sidePosted 2:13 am on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 by Rocky Vy
When it comes to driving, we like a lot in our car. We may not always think we want all the cool new technology, but then you experience it, and you say to yourself, “Where have you been all my life?” (Trust me when I say, you will ask yourself that).
The new 2013 Ford Escape comes packed full with features that makes other cars in the small SUV segment seem like, well, just another car. The intuitive car company has started to really focus on adding more technology to their cars. Yes, the tech specifications are important, but as we start depending on and living in our cars more and more, we need a car that’s fun to drive and fun to be in.
Ford flew me out to San Francisco to test drive the new 2013 Ford Escape along with several people affiliated with the auto industry. There was a lot of talk about how this small SUV is the market leader of other cars in the same segment. There was also a lot of attention about how there’s a ton of recycled product within the cushions of the car, making Ford more green conscious than its competitors. And with the addition of EcoBoost engines, this model is getting 5 more MPG than the outgoing Escape.
But enough about all of that, let’s talk about what I was able to experience when I took this baby out for a ride:
New Hands-Free Liftgate
I didn’t truly understand hands-free until I saw the Escape. I thought, well, we already have the ability to open a car’s trunk via remote for a long time now; this new hands-free thing is not that different, right? Wrong.
With the Escape, if the keyfob is on the person, and the person is say, carrying a ton of bags and cannot reach for the fob, then the person can then just simply kick underneath the back-end of the car. A device underneath the back of the car not only senses the kick, but also the fob’s proximity and will then release the liftgate. The same motion will also close the liftgate. The technology is advanced enough to prevent accidental openings, say if an animal were to run by underneath the car.
You have to try this in person to really understand how excited I was to try this. Laziness will eventually prevail, you guys!
SYNC® with MyFord Touch®
The operation of this system does not feel too different from other voice-controlled car systems out there, but the interface of the upgraded product does feel a little more intuitive and is easier to read. Here’s a more in-depth video of the system:
Conceptually, this is a very sound product. There isn’t much I can see, as far as functionality is concerned, where Ford could improve, but there are a few issues my drive partner and I had with the controls. It did take just a little bit of time for us to understand how to talk to the navigation system, because it understood some commands, where as other commands, it didn’t really take well to.
For instance, on some screens and if you have gone too far into a menu option, you couldn’t simply say “Find Destination” and it would go back to the screen where you could input a destination. You’d have to somehow navigate yourself back to that screen where that function would work. It was frustrating, but we did get the hang of it. Instead of feeling like we controlled the system, the system was controlling us.
We tried to sync my Google Samsung phone with the system via Bluetooth, but seeing how my drive partner and I had short attention spans, we quickly stopped the instant we realized it was going to take some kind of thought. I then wondered if a person who has such a small amount of patience would be able to do these things without wanting to punch the navigation system. Oh well, my drive partner and I said to each other, we’ll just enjoy the view of Tomales Bay instead.
Curve Control and Torque Vectoring Control
The all-new Ford Escape is the first Ford SUV to combine class-exclusive technology to automatically slow the vehicle when it’s cornering too fast (Curve Control) or help accelerate through a turn (Torque Vectoring Control).
Ford really put us to the test by having take probably the most challenging route I’ve ever driven. I have driven through mountains before, but going down a long but gorgeous Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway) from Bodega Harbor back to the city via US-101 proved to be the most difficult route I’ve taken (approximately 70 miles one way).
There were plenty of curves, turns, ups and downs that really tested the car and driver’s abilities, but I have to say that taking the Ford Escape down that path was a whole lot easier than I had anticipated. In fact, I had a lot of fun driving down all those risky turns. At one point, I got a little too cocky and went faster through the turns, but luckily the Escape’s Curve Control really prevented me from going too fast so I could make the turns safely. Darn you, Ford. I really was trying to drive recklessly!
Gas sensibility without sacrificing power
With the addition of the EcoBoost engines (choice between 1.6L and 2.0L), offered also alongside the standard 2.5L, the Ford Escape really gives the customers the power of choice. But, fortunately, not a lot of driving power is lost if you chose the 1.6L or 2.0L EcoBoost models.
The entire trip that Ford sent us on was approximately 145 miles back and forth, and for my drive partner and me, we took an even longer route, just because we were adventurous. (By the way, we stopped by TWiT in Petaluma and I saw Leo Laporte! *fangirl scream*). At the end of our drive, not forgetting that we took the car through numerous hills and curves, we’ve blown through just under a quarter of a tank. That’s amazing.
The drive was fun, sporty, and I felt no lack of power when climbing hills. This is probably the most fun I’ve had driving an SUV, and I have driven many SUVs.
I personally drive a Nissan Xterra, and I love SUVs. At first, I didn’t think I would be turned on by the Ford Escape, but after this experience, I’m definitely a Ford fan. I loved how athletic the car felt, and even for an SUV, it had an almost “sports car like” feel to it that made it that much more fun to drive.
And that together with Ford’s commitment to sustainability and leadership in technology, this is one American brand I’m proud to have experienced.
Ford had teamed up with NBC and Zynga to bring an interactive reality competition show called “Escape Routes” to help promote the 2013 Ford Escape, and received better-than-expected viewership and participation.