That’s the tricky thing about evaluating automobiles. Some models just evolve over time … or maybe the brains of auto reviewers get softer.
For obvious reasons, I’m going with the former.
The Escape is the essence of practicality.
Not oversized. Just right for a daily driver and road-trip runner, capable of carrying a fair load of cargo.
Not overpriced, starting a shade short of $32,000 on the tester.
Fuel mileage is pretty nice at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
It looks spiffy head-on and in profile, wearing an eye-catching set of 18-inch, nickel-painted wheels.
This Escape was smooth and quiet in operation. Passengers said they were comfortable, even with me at the wheel.
A generous package of standard interior cabin features included leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a nicely tuned Sony audio system (with 10 speakers, no less) and cool interior illumination.
Still, you can get all this in numerous SUVs on the market. So, what impressed me so much this time around?
Maybe it was the 2-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged, 240-horsepower engine that moved the tested Escape around like a scalded cat.
I swear, I don’t recall getting this kind of performance out of an Escape SUV. But I wasn’t complaining.
Zipping into freeway traffic from the on-ramp was a sports car-like experience in the tester. Significantly, a quick lift off the accelerator for a breather did little to knock the Escape off its stride. If I wanted a second burst to change lanes at high speed, it was there. Instantly. No turbo lag here.
With right-now response resting under my right foot, I found myself putting the Escape through its paces in a much more aggressive way than I would other similar vehicles. Simply put, the Escape showed all the willingness to make the moves, and I was enjoying myself.
The Escape was similarly robust in tight city traffic, darting in and out of harm’s way with a quick blip of the accelerator and a snap-turn on the steering wheel.
Kudos to Ford for installing this surprise pocket-rocket under the hood. It has been some time since I had a serious heartbeat rush in an American-made sport-ute.