Review: 2014 Ford Escape SE FWD

Thursday March 20th, 2014 at 2:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Spacious Cargo Hold, Remote Keyless Entry, Precise Handling
Gripes: Tiny Info Screen, Poor Seat Bolstering, Finger Twisting Rear Hatch Handhold

For such a small SUV (106 in. wheelbase, 178 in. length), the Escape scores reassuringly high on safety institute (IIHS) crash tests, with “Good” ratings in the all four categories (frontal offset, side and rear impact and roof strength). From the US government, the Escape rates 5 stars in front and rear seat side crashes, and four stars in all the rest (frontal crash- both sides, and rollover). These ratings are due in large measure to Ford’s inclusion of a driver’s knee airbag, front seat-side mounted airbags, and a “safety canopy” overhead bag. Adding to the security blanket for 2014 is a rear view camera, now standard on all models. This proves especially helpful when backing up the Escape, because visibility to the rear is not great. All these passive safety measures work in consort with such active safety strengths as responsive handling, respectable acceleration, and pinpoint steering control.

The Escape model line includes 3 engine choices this year: a 2.5 liter 4 (168hp), 1.6 liter turbo 4 (173hp) or 2.0 liter turbo 4 (231hp). Ford’s press pool vehicle paired the 1.6 liter turbo 4 with a 6-speed “Selectshift” automatic transmission. The Selectshift moniker is something of a misnomer, as the system depends on a shift lever mounted button to swap gears that is both hard to locate and inefficient in use. Better to supply paddles on the steering wheel, or a tip-stick method for gear choice. The 1.6 liter 4 returns admirable gas mileage figures (23 MPG City, 32 MPG Highway, 26 MPG overall), while still providing enough torque (184 lb.-ft.) to tow 3,500 pounds. In normal part throttle use, this drive train provides quiet, ample power. However, when prodded hard, the little turbo tends to shriek louder than tennis vampire Maria Sharapova.

The Escape handles better than its seats handle you. There’s no lack of cornering bite from the Continental Pro Contact tires, which are quite sizeable (235/55R17) for an SUV of such modest proportions (curb weight: 3,675 lbs.). In fact, the abundant cornering power generated by the Escape tends to chuck you off your cushions in the SE’s front seats because they have no side bolsters and they are upholstered in grip less charcoal black cloth. The optional leather seats available in the Titanium Escape, are better contoured to counteract this SUV’s ability to dislodge you. The interior of the Escape is impressively large. If you flop the split (60/40) rear bench seatbacks forward, you can even slip a full size bike through the rear hatch and lay it flat in the cargo hold. You can equip your Escape with an optional self-opening rear door for 2014 triggered automatically when you kick your foot under the back bumper. Our test SE, unfortunately, was not supplied with this latest automotive parlor trick.

The steering wheel of the Escape is festooned with so many knobs and buttons that it will make your head spin. Not a great idea when you’re tasked with concentration on driving. A couple of times, we inadvertently triggered a voice that impatiently awaited commands we were unprepared to issue. The over abundance of minute controls and menu-driven operations is emblematic of Ford’s continued reliance on its Microsoft-derived operating system called MyFordTouch. MFT is as baffling as Windows, and much more dangerous to operate in a driving environment than Windows is at your desk. By diverting your attention from driving, MFT’s opaque methodology tends to undercut the passive safety measures Ford has incorporated into the Escape’s basic architecture.

Notwithstanding ergonomic gripes, the front-wheel-drive Escape is a solid, practical mini-SUV offering handling, tow capacity and storage space that belie its humble size and mechanical specification. At a base price of just $25,550, the SE presents the potential buyer with enough virtue to make it a contender in the final round of consideration.

2014 Ford Escape SE FWD

  • Engine: 1.6 Liter Inline 4, Turbocharged (Ecoboost) with Direct Injection
  • Horsepower: 173hp
  • Torque: 184 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 23 MPG City/32 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $26,840
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Ford |Tags:, , , || No Comments »


CarReview's 2009-2010 Hybrid Buyer's Guide

Monday October 26th, 2009 at 7:1010 AM
Posted by: ggaillard

Honda CR-Z

By Greg Gaillard

Hybrids Come of Age

Just 10 years ago Honda released the Insight as the first US mass market hybrid combustion/electric car.  Its two seat aerodynamic teardrop shape, light weight and focused engineering delivered spectacular fuel economy that generated quite a bit of media attention.  In the real world however, the Insight represented significant compromises in terms of utility, performance and perceived safety.  Launched at the height of the SUV boom alongside inexpensive gasoline, sales weren’t significant and to many people the Insight was another Honda engineering experiment; a car that Honda’s Asimo robot might drive, but not something American families would put in their garage.

What a difference a decade makes.  Last week the EPA released its annual Fuel Economy Guide for 2010 and hybrids swept the podium with 9 out of the top 10 MPG scores.  At least in terms of EPA ratings, hybrids are the drivetrain technology of the moment.  Perhaps more important than MPG is how the technology has evolved into a variety of solutions that can be used across a range of body styles without many of the original Insight’s compromises.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, GMC, Honda, hybrid, Lexus, Mercury, Toyota |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , || No Comments »


President Has Had Bad Luck With Cars

Friday June 5th, 2009 at 7:66 AM
Posted by: m35man

President Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama will tell you that he hasn’t had the best luck with cars in the past. In fact, he claims, he’s had some real clunkers along the way to the White House.

“The car I learned to drive on was my grandfather’s Ford Granada,” the president told an Indianapolis radio station during the campaign. “It may be the worst car that Detroit ever built. … This thing was a tin can. They wanted to keep the cars big, so they made them out of tin foil. … You basically couldn’t go over 80 (miles per hour) without the thing getting out of control.”

Now, we find out, courtesy of Bloomberg News that Obama drove a Fiat during college. During a meeting on Chrysler’s planned tie-up with Fiat SpA, the president “recalled the mechanical problems that plagued his old car.”

Better luck may await the President, however. Obama bought a Ford Escape hybrid during the campaign and regularly touts the vehicle including most recently at a White House event where he was surrounded by other auto CEOs and Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally.

Posted in Press and News |Tags:, , , || No Comments »


2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Review – The 34 MPG SUV

Friday January 18th, 2008 at 1:11 AM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid

By Kurt Gensheimer

Blings:

  • Most fuel efficient SUV on the planet
  • Cavernous interior
  • More masculine exterior appearance
  • Easy-to-use Nav system

Dings:

  • Brake pedal like stepping on a wet Nerf ball
  • No traction control and downgraded NHTSA safety score
  • Limited A/C function in electric drive mode
  • No audio controls on steering wheel

Ruling: Unless you’re a devoted city dweller, being ‘green’ isn’t worth the added heft and expense. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Expert Reviews, Ford, hybrid |Tags:, , || 2 Comments »


2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD Review

Friday July 6th, 2007 at 11:77 AM
Posted by: AKramer

By Alex Kramer

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid

Pros:

  • Excellent gas mileage (32 mpg average)
  • Spacious interior
  • Confident handling (for an SUV)
  • Surprisingly powerful (for a fuel sipper)
  • Seamless hybrid technology

Cons:

  • Expensive for its size
  • Questionable reliability (2 warranty repairs so far)
  • No frills interior design

Introduction

I drove into the dealership in a sporty Ford Focus with tricked out rims and suspension. I drove out of the dealership in a hybrid SUV. Was I going nuts? Well, perhaps a little bit… but after a lengthy test drive (and the realization that I was turning 30 in a month, gas prices were going up, and I could use a bit more space) the Escape Hybrid just made sense. An impulse buy, yes, but one year and 13,000 miles later, I don’t regret the decision one bit!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Expert Reviews, Ford, hybrid |Tags:, , || 2 Comments »




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