2014 Ford Escape

Could this be the best crossover on sale today?
By Imthishan Giado

2014 Ford Escape

The era of the SUV is over, just in time for the era of the crossover to begin. Big, boxy body-on-frame trucks with low-range boxes, beefy V8 engines and park-bench like interiors – they’re out. Done. After an initial flirtation, consumers are downsizing in a big way, and they’re downsizing to crossovers, monocoque-bodied, car-styled trucklets with far more economical engines, better safety and easy, safe handling.

Perhaps no car illustrates the changing times better than the Ford Escape, one of the earliest attempts at a crossover. A joint development between Mazda and the Ford, this little V6-engined truck has been on sale virtually unchanged since the year 2000. Highly regarded but desperately out of date, this new One Ford car is a complete overhaul of the concept.

2014 Ford Escape

If the styling reminds you of a Ford Focus on stilts, well that’s basically what the new Escape is, since it essentially rides on the same platform. Nevertheless it’s a smart looking car with the kind of crisp curves that are unlikely to date quickly. And unlike the new RAV4, the front end matches up nicely to the rear end with a pert tail feels nicely detailed and finished with no weird quirky affectations (I’m looking at you, new CR-V).

2014 Ford Escape

If you’ve clocked European Fords, you’ve seen the Escape’s interior, possessed of the same slightly aggressive curves and intersecting polygons. I’m not a huge fan of it – a little aggression goes a long way in my book – but you definitely can’t say it’s boring, and in a segment where nearly everyone else – Tiguan, RAV4, CR-V – picks safe boxy shapes, the Escape feels modern and fresh, if not to everyone’s tastes

2014 Ford Escape

Build quality feels pretty good throughout with soft touch plastics for all the major touch points – you have to get to the lower console to find the really hard stuff. As expected, the Escape is sporting Ford’s byzantine MyFordTouch system for controlling the HVAC and entertainment systems. And as expected, I still don’t like it, although this second generation system has reversed the trend a little by putting more hard buttons on the dash to replicate commonly used functions. In fact, electronics seems to be a big part of the Escape experience; even the steering has a four-way controller and a little colour screen for the surprisingly complex trip computer.

On the road the Escape displays a distinctly ‘sporting’ edge to the way it drives. No, the electric steering isn’t the last word in feel but it is light and accurate, just the way the target audience likes it and the sharpness of turn-in is excellent with none of the understeery-ness that plagues this class. This feels like an excellent, well-balanced chassis that can handle more power than the stock 168bhp 2.5-litre four cylinder. And that’s er, because it can – in other markets you can choose from a selection of turbocharged engines, a 178bhp 1.6 and the 240bhp 2.0-litre from the Range Rover Evoque.

Sadly the Middle East market will only get the 2.5 in front wheel drive form for now. The lack of four-wheel drive I’m not so bothered about – how many of these will ever do more than climb a bit of pavement – and in its own way, the 2.5 is a decent, hard working mill that is relatively economical and feels peppy enough for daily driving, and quiet on the highway. When compared to the mighty 2.0-litre Ecoboost however…well there is no comparison! However, if it did come here the Escape would likely cost AED150k – too close to the base Explorer, and too rich for most potential buyers.

2014 Ford Escape

I wasn’t looking forward to the Escape but it turned out to be a bit of a unexpected surprise, with fine handling, plenty of kit and a low, low starting price. Compared to the other choices in the segment – RAV4, CR-V and Tiguan – which are all dull as dishwater to look at, this one at least features head turning looks and a surprisingly lively driving experience.

Combine that with a low, low starting price of just AED89k and Ford might just have delivered a knockout blow to the competition.

2014 Ford Escape
Price: AED89,000 ($24,230)
Engine: 2.5-litre four cylinder, 168bhp @ 6000rpm, 170lb ft @ 4500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 8.8L/100km (claimed)
Weight: 1594kg

2 responses to “2014 Ford Escape”

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  2. german navas says:

    Agradeceré dar a conocer características técnicas del auto.


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