NEW DAY: 2013 Ford Escape closes an era with push for more ‘aerodynamic’ design

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    Escape FrontThe 2013 Ford Escape…

    Wait, I need to get this off my chest first. 

    For years, I’ve been a fan of the Escape.

    Actually, I’ve been a big fan of the SUV, primarily because the design always stood out as unique as one of the first vehicles of its kind in the segment when introduced in 2000.  

    That and the fact that when a lot of other vehicles in the segment started looking the same, the Escape maintained its classic “SUV/truck-like” appeal.  So, you can only imagine what I was thinking when I saw the all new 2013 model unveiled. 

    Yeah, call me old school I guess, but I’ve always found the boxy styling of the Escape kind of cool in a sea of vehicles in the segment that seem to all look alike after a while. 

    ALL THINGS MUST CHANGE 

    ….Okay, time to move on because like everything else that’s been around for a while, the Escape needed to evolve as we move further away from the era of the big gas guzzling SUVs − even if there are some things  about the vehiciles that some of us hate to see go.  

    It makes me wonder if we’re fastly approaching a generation that will have no idea what a traditional SUV is as crossovers become more of the mainstay.  Scary, huh?

    That said, the Escape still packs a lot of those capabilities that have made it one of America’s best-selling vehicles in the segment like towing capability and cargo space.  

    It’s the overall design of the 2013 model that throws you for loop considering that it’s such a drastic departure from the previous one with Ford hoping it will help lure a new market of women to the vehicle.  So much so, that the new Escape could have easily been launched as a completely different vehicle.   

    Some of the key exterior design elements include a the three-dimensional hood, a trapezoidal grille and the sweeping windshield angle, all of which makes the new model nearly 10 percent more “aerodynamic” than the outgoing one,  says Ford.

    LOADS OF TECHNOLOGY 

    Available in three engine options including two EcoBoost engines, a lot of the thought has gone into improving the fuel efficiency of the Escape and the vehicle’s overall performance capabilities. 

    The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, which pumps out 240 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque, has an mpg of 30 hwy/22 city.  The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, which makes its American debut in the new Escape with 178 horsepower and 184 lb-ft., has an mpg rating of 33 hwy/23 city.  

    The standard engine is an updated 2.5-liter with 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque gets 31 mpg hwy/22 mpg city. 

    Ford engineers went to great lengths to make the new Escape much more fuel efficient going as far to design grille slats that stay open when extra engine cooling air is required, but automatically opens when cruising on the highway to improve fuel efficiency.

    Improvements for cargo include rear seats that fold flat easier and a two-position load floor, which allows customers to choose among maximum luggage volume or flat load floor.

    The trailer tow rating for the new Escape is 3,500 pounds, the same as the outgoing V6 model with less pain at the pump.

    Make no mistake about it, the 2013 Escape is all about more content with Ford touting that the new model has eleven features that no other vehicle in the segment offers like the much-talked about lift-gate with motion-sensing that opens and closes the hatch with the kick of a foot. 

    Very cool. 

    The available intelligent all-wheel-drive system on the all-new Ford Escape can send up to 100 percent of the vehicle’s power to the front or rear wheels to better grip the road.

    In fact, it’s all of the technology packed into the new Escape from convenience features to improved performance capabilities that tend to draw you in to the vehicle.

    The upgraded SYNC with MyFord Touch features a new look, making phone, navigation, entertainment and climate controls even easier to use.

    The  new Escape is also available with Ford’s Parallel parking system with active park assist and  the sensor-based BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert that displays an alert in the side mirror when a vehicle is detected entering a blind spot. 

    The 2013 model also features a new audio system that engineers tuned by listening to everything from classical piano to rock to rap. 

    HOW MUCH IS COOL WORTH?

    Trouble is, once you start packing in a lot of those cool features in the top-of-the line Titanium model priced at around $37,000, the idea of the new Escape starts to seem a bit extreme for the segment even with all of the luxury amenities. 

    The new Escape becomes much more palatable in the SE model with a base price of $23,295.

    Still, after enticing you with all those extras and you realize the cost, the new Escape makes you think about checking out a few competitors with an “aerodynamic” look if shopping for a practical vehicle in the segment whether you’ve been a fan of the vehicle or not.

    Then again, maybe it’s just that I really haven’t gotten over the idea that no matter how much you like something, everything is subject to change.        

    Marcus Amick is a national automotive lifestyle writer and consultant. He can be contacted at Marcus@Wheelside.com.   

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