LA Auto Show: 2013 Ford Escape

By Chris Haak

Ford has spilled the beans on its all-new 2013 Escape, and after more than a decade of following the same basic template (that is, cute-ute, car-based mechanicals wrapped around a traditional SUV shape), the all-new 2013 model completely turns to a new chapter in this vehicle’s evolution.

For starters, where the current-generation Escape has corners and right angles, the 2013 model has curves and bulges, as previewed by the award-winning Vertrek concept from this past January in Detroit.  Not only does the new vehicle shares components of its architecture with Ford’s global Focus, but it also shares a good deal of the Focus’ design language in and out.  For instance, the Escape’s trapezoidal grille is a clear tribute (not a Mazda Tribute, mind you) to the Focus, and its instrument panel and center stack designs are also clearly derived from the Focus, but with a more logical arrangement of buttons and controls (no doubt helped by there being slightly more real estate within the Escape to space things out a bit more).

Availalable in either front wheel drive or with intelligent all wheel drive, the entire engine lineup is new to the Escape.  First, there’s a 2.5 liter naturally aspirated four cylinder that produces 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft.  Two EcoBoost four cylinders round out the lineup, with the economy-focused 1.6 liter EcoBoost four producing 173 horsepower and 177 lb-ft, and the performance-focused 2.0 liter EcoBoost four producing a solid 237 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque.  All three engines are mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic.  With the strongest engine, the 2.0 liter EcoBoost four, under its hood, the Escape is capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds.  Oh, and as expected, the new engines are much more efficient than the old Escape’s engines, with an improvement of up to five miles per gallon (depending on engine).  The Escape Hybrid is no more.

The interior gets Ford’s newly-updated MyFord Touch (which we have yet to experience in person, but which supposedly simplifies the interface and the home screen), and another cool unique-to-Ford feature is the ability to open the cargo hatch hands-free by just having the key fob in your pocket and swinging your foot under the rear bumper.

Ford hasn’t found it necessary to update the Escape in quite a while because the current model is still a very strong seller; its sales are up an impressive 31.4 percent year to date, to 206,896 through October 31.  Any time a company updates a best seller, it runs the risk that it could kill the goose that laid the golden egg, so kudos to Ford for going in a non-conservative direction with the 2013 Escape.  It would have been easy for Ford to pull a move like Honda did with its 2012 Civic, and like Toyota did with its 2012 Camry and stay with the tried-and-true formula at the expense of innovation.

Plus, moving the Escape to parallel the Europe-sold Kuga (and basing it on Focus mechanicals) allows the company to save considerable amounts of money on development costs and provides economies of scale when sourcing components globally.

While the design is not really breathtaking or aggressive, it’s handsome, shares the Focus family look, and economy and performance should both be very good (depending on engine choice to some degree).  As long as pricing stays competitive, Ford should continue to have a winner on its hands.

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. I just hate the back side window. Why do all designers feel they have to “style” that window. I prefer the shape of the current Escape’s window.

  2. I dont know who is in charge of syling, but the front end to me doesnt look good at all!!!

    Ford has a bad habit of puting “corporate grilles” facas etc on most all its vechicles!

    It was V shape grille early 2000s, then 3 bar grille in mid to late 2000s, now here comes this flavor of fish look with the Nascar Front Tethers Strap look!!!the same theme on most its cars it seem!!

    Then you see a Escape pass, then a Fiesta, Focus coming at you, looking the same and the car goes to looking ‘dated’ fast!!!

    Do see the reasoning have all these supposed great designers and install the same front end on its cars…at the price of a car nowadays a clone of a clone will not get it!

  3. I like the wide opening fascia and I think the overall look is very attractive.

  4. I’ll reserve judgement on styling untilI see one in person. How’s that for faint praise? But kudos to a once-stodgy company like Ford to pop a 4-banger in and give it a 3,500 lb tow rating. I’ve been wondering for a few decades why American buyers and builders haven’t been on board with that type of concept. Even when gas is cheap, what not to like about good/better mpgs? And NICE sunroof!

  5. The front is attractive, but the signal and fog lamps look like they were just stuck on. The side and back look overstylized.

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