You do not need to be behind the wheel very long to understand why the 2013 Ford Escape tops a lot of lists, when it comes to engine and performance. Not only does it handle as nicely as a smaller car, it is fuel-efficient and has plenty of power. Standard on Escape is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder good for 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque, which can return 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. SE and SEL models get a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 that boosts performance to 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine also improves fuel economy, bumping the numbers to 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. If you feel you need just a bit more power, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 is standard on Titanium and optional on SE and SEL. It delivers 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, and can tow 3,500 pounds, yet manages to yield 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. These numbers do drop slightly on all-wheel drive models. The 2013 Escape handles well in the city and on the highway. It has plenty of passing power, and thanks to agile handling and a small turning circle you can maneuver into those tight parking spaces. The ride is not as plush as some other models, yet still smooth enough to keep most happy.
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• SYNC® - Voice-activated technology keeps you connected with hands-free calling, audible text messages, and more.
• Audio - The standard six-speaker audio system may be fine for some, but others will appreciate the available 10-speaker system by Sony. It features speed-sensitive volume control, USB connection, iPod integration, and six months of satellite radio.
• Navigation - Get to where you need to go with turn-by-turn directions from the optional navigation system.
• Parking Technology - If you hate parallel parking, you will love the available automated parallel parking assist.
• Push Button Start - You do not need to fumble for your keys when you have this feature. As long as you have the key fob in your purse, pocket, or gym bag, the vehicle will recognize you and let you start the engine with the push of a button.
The -Marginal- crash test rating for roof strength that was seen in the 2012 model unfortunately carried over for 2013. However, Escape does get top safety scores for front and side-impact protection. Escape does come with Ford's MyKey System, which allows parents to set speed and stereo volume limits for teenage drivers. Additional safety features to appreciate include:
• Antilock brakes
• Driver side knee airbag
• Traction control
• Post-collision safety system
• Turn signal mirrors
• Stability control
• Engine immobilizer
• Rear door safety locks
• Child seat anchors
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Cornering lights
The Escape has been fully redesigned for 2013, and the fresh and modern look was well worth waiting for. It shares a platform with Focus, but you can see the international lineage of the Kuga. An athletic chassis, sculpted styling, and large wheel arches are complimented by a sporty spoiler, elongated headlamps, and a trapezoidal-shaped grill that almost appears to be grinning in the rearview mirror of the vehicle it approaches.
If you have been in previous models, you will immediately notice that the larger, sculpted wheel arches give Escape a little more interior space. Even the rear seat offers ample leg and head room for tall passengers. Seats in both rows are well-shaped and generously padded. Those with a long commute to work will appreciate the bolstering. Materials throughout are excellent, the steering wheel is sporty and comfortable to hold, and the gauges are easy to read. Really the only flaw that may cause a slight frown is the climate system controls are placed by the gear selector, so they are low and awkward to reach without taking your eyes off the road.
By looking at Escape on the outside, you would never guess it offers a lot of cargo space, but it certainly does. There are 34.3 cubic feet to enjoy full-time behind the rear seat, and a convenient one-touch lever folds the seat and opens up 68.1 cubes.