With its boxy design that has survived several summers, the Escape is Ford’s closest contender to the fabled 4 x 4 archetype. On and off the road, if confidence and the power to take on a challenge are the attributes expected of a purely functional 4 x 4, Ford Escape is designed to give you just that. It saves you a few precious minutes by finding an alternative escape route from a haplessly waiting lineup of traffic or by extending a Friday jaunt further by an adventurous mile.
The gateway to 4 x 4 confidence
Escape offers a long-distance ride quality that doesn’t feign to be luxurious yet stays mindful of passenger comfort even on undulating terrain. Actually, how the 4 x 4 scores brownie points is by paying attention to your philosophical rudiments, if you are a sedan-to-SUV convert. This sturdy box on wheels adheres to even the smallest commandments of your credo with a wet storage boot, space for your soiled Timberland boots and strong railings on top for bikes or backpacks. For a quick pick up and drop of cargo, the boot-lid glass can be raised and lowered independently. The 2011 model even comes equipped with a Blind Spot reading bifocal mirror – while the concept is tremendously useful when upgrading your drive from a sedan, it needs a bit of getting used to particularly during night driving.
The Escape has just the right combination of fun and value factors. For instance, the Duratec 2.5 engine is just powerful enough as well as amply fuel-efficient. My fuel gauge worked out a pretty satisfying figure of around 10 km per liter, while Ford claims an impressive 14.2 km on the highway. Ford believes that the Duratec 2.5 is indeed the way to go into a fuel-starved future.
Exclusively Ford in standards of safety and comfort
The Escape also flaunts Ford’s trademark set of comforts. You can keep the music on till the passenger opens the door to step out. So that you can still enjoy the last two lines of the song you were listening to while you parked. Besides, the higher versions of the Escape is SYNC compatible – which is a voice-activated interface for your music system and Bluetooth device. The thoughtfully developed MyKey™ system also gives you the freedom to configure specific limits while handing over the car to your teenage son or sibling who just procured his license. For instance, the maximum speed can be set at 80 km/h, maximum volume at acceptable road etiquette levels and you can even prevent the Traction Control system from being switched off at any time. In fact, all Escape models come with an Anti-Lock Brake System and Ford’s exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC (Roll Stability Control™) ensuring that safety is always paramount, regardless of the model or price.
The designers and the customers (thankfully) seem to be so happy with the design configuration of the Ford Escape that little has changed in the recent years from the squarish lights at the rear to the boxy gateway of a grill! The blue dial lighting and neatly stacked away buttons on the central control panel remain very much the same and remind one of the fundamental purpose of those gadgetry in an elementary Sport Utility Vehicle. The full option affords you a choice of warm to cool lighting on the instrument panel.
The sound system gives you USB connectivity but don’t expect the audio output to urge your soul to levitate. Still, it will keep you good company on your adventurous trips – a functional but inexplicably satisfying companionship somewhat like the legendary transistor radio of yesteryears! For those who need more refined music, an advanced 7-speaker version is also available.
Changes you will appreciate
The new features include a Cruise Control advantage that is eminently flaunted on the steering wheel, where audio controls are conspicuously absent. The Driver information interface is also something that last decade’s “Escapists” wouldn’t have experienced but the new introduction doesn’t overcrowd novice brains with unwanted details. Only what is necessary – how far have you come since you left home… how fast have you been going… and how much longer to the next fill-up!
Ford seems to have acted upon many suggestions of previous owners – for the new Escape comes with previously neglected details like a window-side grip for a rough ride and a coat hanger clip for those inevitable suited meetings. Another new introduction – a frequently useful one – is the on-screen warning that you haven’t released your Park brake. Now, releasing the Park brake by engaging your stretched arm is probably not the first thing you want to do before you set off the mark with your Escape. As it happens, Ford Escape has put the hand brake somewhere about the foot ought to be but has ensured that it is still a “hand” brake by virtue of operation.
Comfortable, spacious and confidence inducing, the Ford Escape urges you to escape the world of sedans. Even as you get used to the upgraded comforts, just remember not to be too ambitious on road while passing. Coz the fuel-efficient 2.4 Duratec isn’t exactly designed for a road race. I figure the 3.0 Litre V6 with its 240 hp output should be more like it. All said, on the transmission path from sedan to SUV, this Ford affords a quick escape into the realm of fun and adventure.
Upside: Elementary advantages of an SUV in an affordable model, Extensive safety features as standard, impressive storage convenience, Reasonable fuel efficiency, customizable MyKey
Flipside: Basic and longstanding design, hand operated foot-well park brake, Passing leaves one wishing for more power in 2.5 L version