The 2013 Ford Escape is a comfortable small SUV well suited for a tech savvy family of 4 who wants extras that won’t break the bank. Testing included driving the Ford Escape into Washington, D.C. for a theater performance, packing it full of supplies and snacks for both kids’ Valentine’s class parties, and an impromptu road trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania about two and a half hours away.
What We Liked
Tech features abound in the car thanks to Ford Sync by my absolute favorite feature was the hands-free powered lift gate that can be opened by waving your foot under the rear bumper. Having a hands-free method of opening the rear cargo area is a parents’ dream come true. It eliminates the need to put down the millions of items that we’re always carrying to the car in order to open the lift gate. Because of the proximity sensors, there’s also no need to fumble around to dig the key out your purse or pocket. The lift gate also has multiple settings so it can open fully or ¾ of the way to avoid hitting the top of the garage door. Take a look at how it works in this 34 second video by AutoMotoTV.
Easy to handle with a great view from the driver’s seat. Sitting high is a treat for me since I usually drive a Volvo XC70 but sometimes SUVs can feel like boats to drive. This mid-size SUV was the width of what I was used to but was a height that put me above other vehicles on the road in a comfortable way.
Great support for the lower back. I always appreciate when cars have lumbar support to cradle the back. The seats in the Ford Escape feel great on the back whether hopping in the car to run into the store or for a lengthy road trip.
Customized heat and air conditioning for those in the front seat. Gone are the days of climate control for the whole car. Driver and passengers can adjust the heat or air in the car to their liking using the touch screen display. Additionally, heated driver and passenger seats provide added customized comfort. Seats heat quickly to provide warmth and settings range from a tepid 1 to very toasty 5.
Functional interior. The Ford Escape that I tested had a partial leather interior that provides a little bit of luxury for a fraction of the cost of having a full leather interior. A spacious center console includes hidden USB ports, cup holders abound in the front and back of the vehicle, and there’s plenty of cargo room.
The suspension was tighter than the Toyota Highlander and Cadillac SRX and reminiscent of the Mazda M3 or a truck. While my husband and I noticed this while riding in the front, the kids had no complaints about the car being bumpy as they have in the past.
Displayed on a large touch screen in the center console, Ford Sync puts everything you need for your driving experience within easy reach. Set the temperature to suit the needs of both passengers in the front seat thanks to dual climate control, listen to the radio or favorite Sirus XM stations, and employ navigation before you leave for your destination to ensure you arrive safely in the most efficient manner.
I loved that it took just just a minute for me to integrate my smartphone. The easy setup allows drivers to take calls using hands-free calling feature or view your entire contacts list immediately.
The voice commands associated with the navigation feature took a little getting used to especially as we needed to switch between Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Ford Sync doesn’t appear to use GPS technology to automatically know our location. Instead users have to program the state of their destination in ahead of time (the car won’t let you use touch button navigation while the car is in motion) or know exactly what voice commands to use to reset the state of the final destination.
Despite this learning curve on our end, what I really loved about the navigation system in the Ford Escape was the gorgeous visual maps that showed buildings along the route. Other vehicle manufacturers don’t do this and it’s a fabulous feature! Take a look at Washington, D.C. through the lens of the Ford Escape’s navigation!
There are a ton of buttons on the steering wheel which may be a bit intimidating at first. They’re thoughtfully placed to allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road rather than looking at the various items on the touch screen display on the center console.
The Ford Escape comes with active park assist which was helpful when parallel parking in tight spots in Washington, D.C. It also has a keyless entry feature that allows the driver to type in a code to enter the vehicle without the key. While we saw the numbers above the door handle, I didn’t get to try the keyless entry feature.
Little Miss Techie (age 9) and Captain Computer (age 6) found the car to be comfortable and spacious. There was plenty of legroom between them and the front seats to avoid the uncomfortable kicking of the back seats. They enjoyed having the space between them for all of their road trip belongings.
Both kids noticed that the arm rest has two integrated cup holders when it is flipped down but complained that the height was quite low. They like being able to put the arm rest down and lean on it for naps but this one wasn’t high enough for them and they said it made their necks hurt.
Another issue the kids encountered was difficulty in buckling their booster seats around the seat belt clip. The seats in the Ford Escape are slightly more narrow than those in other vehicles. In order to clip the seatbelts, the kids had to wiggle their boosters towards the window to buckle before clipping in and readjusting their child-size seat to fit in the center.
Because the seats are a little more narrow, it would be difficult for an adult to sit between two car seats. It’s a great seat for a child who is out of a booster seat though but adults will feel pinched.
Out of all the vehicles we’ve tested, Oliver wasn’t feeling the love for the Ford Escape. The usual no-pet policy for extended ride and drives was waived but Oliver only tested the car by jumping in and out of it twice.
For a 95 pound Yellow Labrador, it’s possible that the rear cargo area might feel a little cramped especially since the seat backs come up a little higher than what he’s used to in our Volvo Wagon. He also hesitated when jumping up into the rear cargo area but it didn’t seem any higher than other cars he’s previously tested. And yes, he HAS to bring his ball on car rides.
- Smoother handling. While the kids didn’t have any complaints, the ride was a little bumpier than what I was used to.
- Slightly wider seats to accommodate the standard footprint of booster seats.
- Sunroof to make the interior of the vehicle feel a little more spacious, especially when sitting in the back seat.
- Oliver would like to request a deeper cargo area for the benefit of large dogs everywhere.
At the Pump
With small SUVs ranging from 16-32 MPG, the Ford Escape has a combined city/highway fuel economy of 24 MPG.
- City = 21 MPG
- Highway = 28 MPG
- 4.2 MPG per 100 miles
I drove the 2013 Ford Escape Performance Collection with a Ginger Ale Metallic exterior and Charcoal Black Partial Leather interior. Total vehicle price with options and destination charge= $34,735.
If you’re looking for a small SUV, consider a Ford Escape if you’re considering the following vehicles:
- Subaru Forester
- Toyota Rav4
- Honda CRV
I was loaned the Ford Escape with a full tank of gas to facilitate this review. All other costs associated with visiting Hershey World were personally paid for.