Ford Canada loaned me a 2013 Ford Escape Titanium for a week. Aside from getting to boot around in a loaner, I did not receive monetary compensation for the following review.
The picture below is me being very happy about picking up a Ford Escape Titanium SUV to drive around for a week, because I do not get to drive that often these days, and it is delicious to slide in behind the wheel of a beautiful black vehicle, crank up some Katrina and the Waves — who doesn't love a little Katrina and the Waves? — and point that vehicle just about anywhere.
Sorry about the giantness of my face there. Here's some Katrina and the Waves to make it all better:
I want you to know that I am not pretending to be some kind of car aficionado just because Ford gave me a car to drive around for a week. I like looking at cars and I like driving cars, but, to be honest, if you put a wrench in my hand, I would probably try to hang it from the rear view mirror as an ornament.
Because I have never reviewed a vehicle before and am no car salesperson, I asked Twitter what you guys might want to hear about when I write about vehicles, and Twitter said price, fuel efficiency, warranty, colours, safety (including side impact beams, crash test rating, and air bags), reliability, stereo sound, whether the driver's side has a vanity mirror, ergonomics and comfort of seating and controls, pick-up speed for passing and highway on-ramps, whether you are insulated from the road or in touch with it, capacity and storage, handling, and does driving it excite me.
Hoo-boy. I've decided to keep it simple. I will split this entry into two halves. The first half will be about my experience with the 2013 Ford Escape Titanium, and the second half will be a giant footnote at the end with all the technical details some of you might want to see.
I don't want to scare Ford here, but it had been a while since I had driven a new vehicle. It had been a long enough while since I'd been in a new vehicle that I still expected something akin to keys and keyholes, which I discovered are so passé after I marched out to the parking lot at Bennett-Dunlop Ford, got into the car, stared at everything for a good five minutes, and I still couldn't figure out how to start the car.
I pushed buttons, which lit things up at first, but then the whole dashboard screen went dead, and I was sure I had broken the car before I had even figured out how make it go. Naturally, I called my mother.
"Mom? I'm sitting in this fancy Ford Escape Titanium that has no keyholes and a dashboard that won't light up anymore and I think I should review bicycles."
"The car is probably doing a firmware update or something. Sit tight. It'll just take a couple of minutes."
"Oh, okay." Pause. "Mom?"
"How do I make it go? This car is making me feel like I'm from olden times, because I'm sitting here wondering why there's no thing to put in another thing to make it go vroom."
"Press the button on your right and the brake."
She was right. The car started, and then I drove home and quietly died of shame in private like a proper moron.
After that initial techno-fail on my part, though, I found the 2013 Ford Escape Titanium to be a great ride. I am someone who has mostly driven smaller cars, but the size of the Escape was not a problem at all. I felt an immediate natural affinity for the vehicle, and it did a great job of making me feel aware of the road and my proximity to my surroundings, even though there is almost no direct visibility through the back window.
Maybe tall people don't have a problem turning to see directly out the rear window, but being 5'6" and an old school shoulder-checker, it was disconcerting not to be able to physically turn around and see out the rear window with my own eyes. That being said, the rear-view and side mirrors and the video console in the dashboard made the experience of backing up and lane changing easy and comfortable, even if I did reflexively stare into the back seat every time.
"When we have to give this car back, I'm really going to miss driving around with that sun roof," I said to the Palinode.
"What sun roof? Where?"
"The one in the Escape."
"Really?" he said.
"Yes. It has two panels of glass it is so big."
"Huh. That must be really nice for the people who notice it," he said.
The SUV was roomy enough that the Palinode didn't even notice the large sun roof after almost an entire week under it. His power of observation is astounding. And I do miss the sun roof. I think I need one in my house.
My parents came into town for a visit, so we took them out in the Escape so they could compare it to the Ford Fusion SE they just bought. The Active Park Assist feature that automatically parallel parks for you is terrifying and impressive, so we hunted up a parallel parking situation just to show it off. I made a great show of taking my hands off the steering wheel and letting the car deftly turn itself and back into a tight spot right in front of the courthouse.
"Elan!" my mother said from the back seat. "I almost had a heart attack!"
I turned to see my mother literally clutching her chest. My father looked really pleased about it.
"You want her to die?" I asked him.
"No, but let's do that again. She's cute when she's frightened."
This video makes using Active Park Assist look all calm and natural, but when it's your first time around it can feel a little like putting your life in the hands of our new robot gods.
I knew that I would only have the Escape for a week, but I named it Larry anyway. I know that you are not supposed to name things you can't keep and animals you are going to eat for supper, but we shared good times together, Larry and I.
We won a battle with an ornery gas pump. We shame-ate burgers while watching construction workers' butts. We sang to the oldies like it was 1987, because Larry's sound system was ah-mah-zing. We sank back into the quiet heat of an August afternoon with a half-sweet hazelnut venti latte with no foam from Starbucks and took a nap. We watched The X-Files on my iPhone's Netflix app and thought about inventing FBI Assistant Director Walter Sergei Skinner paper dolls.
Me and Larry, man. Good times.
I found the 2013 Ford Escape Titanium incredibly comfortable with its leather interior, adjustable seating with lumbar support, and giant amounts of space. I'm sure that other vehicles have a lot of space, too, but I never felt claustrophobic in this vehicle, and I normally feel fairly claustrophobic in vehicles. I think the sun roof helped.
Also, there were enough ports to plug in multiple computers and iPhones, which, for the continually connected and/or working such as the Palinode and I, is a huge bonus. There was an option to sync my iPhone with the car, but I held back, because giving over all of my contact info to a loaner vehicle seemed unwise.
I still think about Larry. He was a good ride. I felt secure and in control right from the start, and he had a lot of leg and head room and storage space, but he was a bit too much for just the Palinode and I. Throw in a couple of kids and a dog, though, and this vehicle would have been right on track.
I give the 2013 Ford Escape Titanium 3.5 out of 5 kitty cats, which is a lot of kitty cats, because I am picky.
The Technical Details
For the 2013 Ford Escape Titanium's specs, click on the English (left) and French (right) images to the right.
Price: The Ford Escape Titanium is their top end version of the vehicle at $33,564, but the lower end S, SE, and SEL models range from $20,504 to $28,313.
Fuel efficiency: The specs list 9.5L/100 km in the city and 6.3L/100 km on the highway and 8.1L/100 km combined. From experience, I never get the mileage listed, but I am, according to my mother's observations from the back seat, "a city driver". I like to take to mean that I am efficient and defensive, but I know it translates to "a little speedy and prone to sudden stops and scaring your anxious mother". I averaged about 10.5L/100km, give or take.
Warranty: I got your warranty right here. It's listed as average for its vehicle class.
Colours: It comes in tuxedo black, deep impact blue, frosted glass, ingot silver, kodiak brown, oxford white, ruby red, sterling gray, and white platinum. The vehicle I drove was a sparkly tuxedo black, and the colours are anything but flat, even in black.
Safety: U.S. News Best Cars rated the 2013 Ford Escape Titanium a 9.3/10 for crash test safety. It has, among other safety features, side impact beams, 4-wheel disc and front disc/rear drum brakes, 4-wheel ABS, and child safety locks. It also has airbags everywhere: dual-stage driver and front-passenger airbags, a driver's knee airbag, front seat-mounted side airbags, and the Safety Canopy® System with two-row side-curtain airbags. Airbags? Check.
Reliability: Reliability doesn't appear to be the 2013 Ford Escape's strong point. U.S. News Best Cars rated it just below average, citing five recalls issued from NHTSA for latches/locks/linkages, engine and engine cooling, fuel system and gasoline delivery, and brake hydraulics problems.