Friday, June 13, 2014

Ford Escape: Quality SUV for a practical price

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – The Ford Escape is an understandable favorite of the pragmatic auto buyer … a versatile sport-utility vehicle for those who are nauseated at the thought of paying $35,000 or more for an SUV.

Even my tester, the 2014 Escape Titanium 4WD, loaded to the max, barely scraped above the $35,000 threshold, showing $35,470 on the sticker’s bottom line.  The Titanium 4WD is the most expensive of the five Escape trim levels; the base S version with front-wheel drive starts at the serious bargain-basement price of $23,100.

Here’s the thing: Across the board, the Escape is solid.  You’re not settling for cheap, because the vehicle doesn’t feel or act cheap.  Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Consumer, you’re getting a good deal here.

No wonder Ford sells a lot of Escapes.

My tester looked sharp riding on 18-inch aluminum wheels and sporting some finely cut architecture on the front end and sides.  Stepping inside, a comfortable high-riding position in the cockpit was made to feel more secure by a strong 360-degree viewing area.

Blind spot concerns were handled by a detection system that came with a special $1,735 equipment package.  Active Park Assist also came with that.  Interesting, but I probably could have done without it.  Old school?  Yeah, you got me.

My ride also came with a $795 navigation system.  If I was buying, it’s likely that I would indeed opt for this, especially if I was investing for the long-term.

Standard features were pretty generous, including heated front seats, leather trim, a perimeter alarm and a rear view camera.  Technology systems on this model are plentiful and fun to play with.

Did I happen to mention that one of the options on my tester was a 2-liter, turbo 4 with 240 horsepower?  Oh my, that was nice.  Made this Escape feel like a Mercedes.

Handling was agile and easy, and four-wheel bite was exceptional when conditions made it a priority.

In truth, I almost felt like this Escape was overpowered, but I was so spoiled by the performance that I quickly banned such negative thoughts from my brain and simply enjoyed the ride.  Even with the power, fuel mileage was not too bad at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Passengers who volunteered to ride along said they had plenty of room and considered the ride a smooth one.  Interior cabin noise was minimal.

This Escape is a solid B-plus vehicle, and even at the top trim level, it offers a lot to motorists who need utility and versatility.

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