The best small SUV on the market
Nothing. It is new. However we have never had problems with any Ford vehicles. We have owned many over the years.
We looked at and drove a number of small SUVs. We were very impressed with the GMC Terrain, and it was our runner-up. It had, in our opinion, the best styling by far. We also were impressed with the styling and quality of the new Jeep Cherokee, but it was very slow and underpowered. The Chrysler-Jeep dealership also flatly refused to deal. We didn't give the noisy, poorly built and antiquated RAV4 a second look. Bad experiences with Honda in the past ruled out the CRV.
Although not a winner in the styling department, one drive in the Escape won us over. Build quality was the best of any vehicle we looked at, and the overall feel was that of a far more expensive vehicle. In addition, Ford's first offer on the car was so good we didn't even haggle. We just said "We'll take it!". Their first offer beat Jeep's monthly payment by a whopping $120.
The turbo-charged 1.6 little engine feels very powerful and is silky smooth. It was the fastest by far of any 4-cylinder SUV we drove. The traction control has to fight to keep the tires from spinning on fast takeoffs.
Handling is good, but typical of all SUVs. There is moderate leaning on hard cornering. The ride is smooth and quiet. There is a small amount of torque steer under hard acceleration due to the turbo boost kicking in, but it is not overly distracting. The overall feel is solid, quiet and much more expensive-feeling than you'd expect from a small and inexpensive SUV.
The interior is larger than you'd expect looking at the car from the outside. Rear seat leg room is good and I like the way the rear seats easily fold to create a flat floor for hauling larger items. The seats are very comfortable and the power driver's seat is adjustable to suit any position, and raises and lowers as well.
Overall the car is amply equipped for a base SE model. We don't care for or use the ridiculously complicated SYNC system, and I find the silly backup camera an expensive nuisance. I'd have preferred to have saved the extra $3000 for the expensive and virtually useless gee-whiz electronic crap. Ford offers a course for free on how to use the silly SYNC garbage, but we have neither the time nor inclination to attend. At least turning on the radio and tuning it is still an owner-friendly operation.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th May, 2014