Fuel economy for the 2013 Escape is expected to lead its class and improve upon the current model by up to 5 mpg, Ford said. The 2012 Escape gets an EPA-estimated 22/28 mpg City/Highway from its 2.5-liter engine, so we interpret that to mean the 2013 Escape could top 32 mpg on the highway.
All-new powertrains for 2013 Ford Escape models will include a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. The all-new EcoBoost engines combine direct fuel injection and turbocharging and add twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to deliver improved fuel economy. Ford promises strong torque at low-rpm, which means the 2013 Escape should feel responsive and powerful when motoring around town. The EcoBoost technology was pioneered on Ford's V6 engines and is used on the latest Ford F-150 pickup.
The new engines are mated to specially calibrated, 6-speed SelectShift Automatic transmissions. SelectShift allows drivers to manually control gear selection from a switch on the left-hand side of the shifter. Ford said the SelectShift Automatic transmission features a new torque converter for improved driving feel, silky smooth shifts and better fuel economy.
The standard engine will be an updated version of the current 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which will cost less but be less efficient. The 2.5-liter engine also comes with a new SelectShift Automatic 6-speed.
Most noticeable on the 2013 Escape will be its sleek new styling. Besides bringing fresh new looks, the new design is nearly 10 percent more aerodynamic than the outgoing model, according to Ford.
A new active grille shutter system, which is on all models with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, automatically closes the grille slats when cruising on the highway at steady speeds to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The grille slats stay open during low-speed stop-and-go driving when extra engine cooling air is required.
The 2013 Escape seats five. New interior styling is highlighted by an angular dash design.
Loading cargo is made easier with a low liftover height of 27 inches. Cargo volume surpasses that of the outgoing Escape, with 68.1 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 34.3 cubic feet behind the second row. That's slightly less than that of the all-new 2012 Honda CR-V, which offers 70.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the back seats folded, 37.2 cubic feet behind the second row.
The rear seats in the 2013 Escape have been designed to fold flat easily. With the touch of a button, the head restraint folds down and with the lift of a handle on the seat, the seatback folds and dives as the seat folds flat and clicks into position. A two-position load floor can be configured for maximum luggage space or a flat load floor.
The neatest feature, which was demonstrated at the LA Auto Show, was the Escape's hands-free power liftgate, which can opened by kicking your foot under the rear bumper. Handy when carrying an armload of boxes, the system uses sensors under the bumper that detect your waving foot to trigger the power tailgate.
The 2013 Escape will come with the latest versions of Ford SYNC and MyFord Touch for integration with your smartphone.
Active Park Assist, which automatically steers the car into a parallel parking space, is also available.
BLIS with Cross Traffic Alert use visible and audible alerts to warn the driver of hazards. When backing out of a parking spot, Cross Traffic Alert warns the driver of oncoming vehicles with an audible tone, handy in today's crowded parking lots. On the highway, BLIS warns the driver when other vehicles enter the driver's blind spot by flashing a light in the outside mirror. In addition to safety, we've found these features add convenience and make life a little less hectic.
All-wheel drive will be available on the new Escape, promising excellent handling and traction in wintry conditions. Ford's new Intelligent 4WD System is designed to instantly distribute optimum torque to the tires according to grip and driver input. Ford explained the system analyzes data from 25 external signals, including wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and steering wheel angle, assessing road conditions and driver input 20 times faster than the blink of an eye. The system uses all the sensor inputs to turn the vehicle in the direction the driver wants it to go. Intelligent 4WD builds on the pre-emptive actions by adding and subtracting torque as needed through an electromagnetic clutch.
The current-generation Escape is a superb compact SUV and the upcoming 2013 Escape portends to be a leading contender in its class.