Welcome to Car Talk, an occasional column on Patch, reviewing new vehicles on the market at area dealerships. The first vehicle, the 2013 Ford Escape SUV, was lent for review by Ford, who is prepared to hear the good, the bad and the ugly of our time with their wheels.
Who's it made for?
This sport SUV details make it a perfect choice for parents on the go or anyone who needs a little extra room (34.3 cubic feet of cargo space, more if you collapse the back seats) for carrying around anything from bicycles to dogs to big bags of mulch.
What we loved:
- Wide panoramic windshield: Felt like driving in a big, glass bubble — a good thing. We really liked that.
- Optional leather seats: Adjustable heat was sublime on a sub-freezing morning. And it works fast — we actually had to dial it back. The car is comfortable (it seats five).
- Optional back-up camera: Definitely a must in the take-no-prisoners driving styles found in Northern Virginia shopping center parking lots; beeps that become more alarming the closer you get to objects behind you? Also very helpful.
- Cross-Traffic Alert: Which leads us to this nifty tool. You know when you look both ways as you're backing out, and three seconds later, someone drives up right behind you anyway? This nifty gadget beeps to let you know to look out.
- Syncing the phone: Ford Sync and Sync With MyFord Touch are both optional. Very helpful for someone who needs to take a no-hands call in heavy DC-area traffic.
- Parallel parking: It worked wonderfully once we got over our fears of hitting another car. Welcome to the future. A car that does all the heavy lifting, parking itself into a tight parallel parking spot? Once you get over those first few times the car parks itself (when you're just sure the car is going to scrape a bumper, but doesn't), you'll love it.
Back to the owner's manual: We decided we needed to read up on these features a bit more.
- Hands-free "kick-lift" gate: This definitely takes some practice. It sounds cool on paper — a motion detector that lifts the back gate of your car when your arms are full with, say, groceries. After several attempts (and odd looks from strangers), we gave up! Note to self: Be sure key is in pocket.
- The Escape sits lower than some SUVs: While that makes it easier to get in and out of the car, you can't survey the Beltway traffic as easily from this lower perch.
- The Escape felt like it could use a little more cushion/shocks; we thought it was a generally smooth ride (except when we hit an especially bumpy patch of road?). Not everyone agreed with us on this one.
- The color of the Escape: We test drove the Escape in Ginger Ale Metallic, a greenish color that we liked. We had a comment or two from others who didn't care for the color. (It also comes in nine other colors.)
Price tag: The 2013 Ford Escape starts at $22,470 and goes up to about $32,000 for all the bells and whistles.
Miles per gallon: The EPA rates the front-drive 2013 Ford Escape 2.5 at 22/31 mpg and the 2.0-liter EcoBoost at 22/30 with front-wheel drive and 21/28 with AWD.