Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2013 Ford Escape Review

My wife and I recently purchased a 2013 Ford Escape.  I thought you might find it interesting to see how it is doing now that is has almost 5,000 miles.

We special ordered the car and waited about 6 weeks for it to arrive.  We wanted a loaded version, like the Titanium trim, but didn't want black leather which gets insanely hot during the summer.  So, we ordered an SEL and added all available options such as the My Ford Touch, Panoramic Sunroof, 2.0 Liter engine, and Active Park Assist with Blind Spot Monitoring.  That way we could get the stone leather we wanted.  The only thing we couldn't add that comes on the Titanium are the Halogen Headlights.  We are ok with that.

I also own a 2011 Ford Escape.  Let me say these cars have NOTHING in common other than the name.  The 2013 is a completely new model and I must say much nicer than my 2011 Escape.

Let's talk tech.  This car has it!  Considering it is under $40k, it has tons of tech that you don't even see on more expensive makes.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • The Auto-Lift Gate with 'kick' control:  You've seen he ads; you walk up to the car with full hands and can't reach your key fob.  No problem, just sweep your foot under the back bumper and step back.  The lift gate opens right up!  We use this a lot.  It is important to note that if you option in the towing kit from Ford, you lose the auto lift-gate.  I don't know if adding an after market hitch will effect the kick sensor.  We don't plan to.  My 2011 has the towing package and a V6.  Speaking of engines, don't waste your time with the 1.6L.  Too small.  The 2.0L is much better.  I will say not as strong as my V6, but still plenty of power for a small SUV.
  • Active Park Assist:  This feature parallel parks the car for you.  It works, well!  You would think this would be hard to get right, but Ford has done it!  We use it pretty frequently and has never had an issue.
  • Cross Traffic Alert:  You know how hard it can be to back out of a parking spot with big cars on both sides?  You really have no idea if a car is coming or not.  You just back out and hope!  Not anymore.  The Ford uses radar that looks left and right from the rear of the car.  As you back out, it scans for on coming traffic.  If it detects a car, it sounds an alarm and even displays traffic is approaching from right or left.  Fantastic!  It does occasionally have false alarms.  Seems to be aggravated by turning and backing at the same time in a congested areas.  You also have the camera to help you see what is going on behind you.  Third, you have parking sensors front and rear.  If you back it to something... you weren't paying attention.  I like how if you have the radio blasting, it will turn down the volume if the parking sensors are sounding so you will notice them.  Smart.
  • Blind Spot Monitoring:  The same radar that is used for backing out of the parking lot also looks for traffic in your blind spots.  If it detects a car or motorcycle, it lights an indicator in your side mirrors.  I have found this to be pretty reliable, but not 100%.  So, you still need to turn your head to look for traffic in your blind spots before changing lanes.
  • My Ford Touch:  We optioned our car with all the goodies; navigation, traffic link, etc.  This is a very complex system and over all works good.  But, has a few issues. I have found searching for Points of Interest to be a hassle.  That is both using the touch screen or Sync voice control.  However, there is a cool work around.  You can either search the onboard database for a business or address, or you can use Sync Services.  When you use Sync Services you are connected via your phone to an automated system where you can find businesses or other points of interest.  You can even talk to an operator, for free!  Once you find your destination, Sync Services sends the address to the car where your internal navigation system does the actual routing.  My 2011 Escape does not have a navigation screen or internal database.  It uses the Sync Services to download destination data and announce turn by turn directions.  We have had some trouble with the USB drive.  I loaded a thumbdrive with 3000 songs.  The car tries to index them for voice command functions and I think it gets over-whelmed.  I should try with fewer songs.  Eventually it will play from the USB, just cranky.  My 2011 Escape plays the same thumbdrive flawlessly.  The bluetooth phone pairing is not 100%.  We have Razor's with the latest software.  They pair fine and will receive calls, place calls, phone book,etc.  What doesn't work is the texting feature.  The My Ford Touch is designed to read your text messages to you and allow you to reply with some pre-formatted messages.  I have never been able to get this to work.  Won't receive, won't send.  Interestedly, same phone on my 2011 Escape, text messages ARE read allowed as they are received.  But still can't reply.  Finally, we have been hit twice with the dreaded Red Buttons glitch.  For unknown reasons, all of the control buttons, on every screen, turn red.  Very ugly looking.  Doesn't seem to interfere with operation.  The only way to fix it is to touch each button.  Some people online say to do a master reset.  I found that just cleared all my setting, but I kept the red buttons.  I'm looking for a software update that might fix this.  It has only done with twice and we've had the car about 3 months.
Some other non-techie bits about the car.  The seats are very comfortable!  I recently drove it for 12 hours and they felt great.  They have made tons of improvement of design, materials, etc over my 2011 Escape.

There are a few issues we are working on.  Besides the My Ford Touch things already mentioned,  we have a creaking in the front suspension when backing out of the driveway.  Seems worse when turning the wheels versus just straight.  The car seems to forget setting some times. We have the guidelines turned on for the back-up camera.  Sometimes we will start to reverse and the guidelines are gone.  We look in setting and they are off.  We just turn them on again.  It will be a few days before it goes to off again.

In summary, we love this car!  I'm sure we will work out the glitches and look forward to many years with our 2013 Ford Escape!

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