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You'll Get a Kick Out of It
by Jim Corbran
The 2013 Ford Escape
A nifty feature of the all-new 2013 Ford Escape is something Ford calls the hands-free liftgate. I thought it was outrageously complicated until I looked at the technology that went into creating it, and discovered that it’s similar to a motion-activated video game (think Wii). I then smacked my forehead and cried out, “Why didn’t I think of that!”
Here’s the scoop: As you approach the rear of the new Escape, equipped with Intelligent Access (and with the key in your possession), you swipe a foot under the rear bumper, and voila! If it’s closed, it opens; if it’s open, it closes. A sensor in the face of the bumper detects the motion of your shin, while another sensor under the bumper detects your foot. What could be easier?
European car-watchers might think the new Escape looks familiar, and they’d be right. Aside from some minor changes, the Escape is the same car sold in Europe and China as the Kuga. It’s also wearing the latest “face of Ford,” that is, a front-end design similar to those of the Fiesta, Focus, and the new Fusion/European Mondeo. Also available on the new Escape is one feature called Curve Control (which prevents you from taking curves too fast), and another called Torque Vectoring Control (which helps accelerate through a turn). This got me wondering if the two ever compete with each other, topping the car halfway through the turn while they argue about whether you’re going too fast or too slow.
Is this getting to be too much technology? I’m beginning to think that it is. My reasoning? A.) it makes the vehicle more expensive; B.) it makes drivers too passive, and slower to respond when systems like these break down, or when the driver finds him/herself driving another, simpler car. Technology is fine. Safety is fine. Progress is fine. But when is enough enough?
I do like the looks of the new Escape. I also liked the old one, but less so now next to the 2013 model. I can say I like it, but Ford puts it in much more descriptive language: “Like an athlete poised in starting blocks, Ford’s new Escape is set to spring beyond previous ideas of what an SUV looks like…”
Wow, where do they come up with this stuff? Although the Escape and Kuga are basically the same car, for some reason designers felt they needed to make subtle changes to the North American model. Such as the outside door handles, which on the Kuga are pretty randomly placed, on the Escape are in-line with the side body crease; the front grille and headlight shapes, while looking very similar from a block away, are actually totally different; and the Kuga’s outside mirrors are mounted lower on the door than are the Escape’s, which are in the corner of the window frame.
Ford is offering three different powertrains for the 2013 Escape. Standard is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (22/31 miles per gallon city/highway). Also available are 1.6-liter (23/33) and 2.0-liter (22/30) EcoBoost engines, which come with specially-calibrated six-speed automatics to boost both power and gas mileage. The 2.5-liter is available only in the base, or “S” model, while the 1.6 is standard in the SE and SEL, and the 2.0 is standard on the Titanium and optional on the SE and SEL. Front wheel-drive is standard on all new Escapes, while a four wheel-drive system is optional on all except the base model.
Pricing for the Escape S starts at $22,470 while the top-of-the-line Titanium model has a starting price of $30,370. All in all, the new Escape is a huge improvement over the previous model, which was itself a top-seller. And there’s no escaping that fact.
More info at ford.com.
Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.blog comments powered by Disqus
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