By on January 6, 2014

intercoastal

Jewish custom dictates that at 13 years of age, males are called to read from the torah scroll as part of a Bar Mitzvah, a rite of passage signifying the transition to manhood. Having served at TTAC for nearly three years, under thee different EICs, I’d yet to partake in the TTAC equivalent of a Bar Mitzvah, which involves reviewing a rental car. This past October marked my 25th birthday, which in the rental car world signifies the transition into responsible adulthood in the eyes of their insurance underwriter, and the transition into an off-the-reservation degenerate in the eyes of PR people and fleet manager. With no press cars available during a last minute trip to Florida, Jack decided that it was time for me to be called to TTAC’s torah. I would be reading from the Book of Ecoboost, Chapter 1.6.

siderear

While both Jack and Bark M provided discount codes for other major rental companies, the best deal came via Avis, which had a promotion with Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flyer program. While Avis was about 25 percent less on average, the “Small SUV” class was inexplicably the cheapest, at about $18 per day. For the two-week duration of my trip, the total cost was $254, excluding taxes and various confiscatory fees. A “subcompact” like a Nissan Versa or Hyundai Accent was $80 more for the same duration, and with my mother, father and brother traveling with me, the SUV was a no-brainer.

At the rental counter, I was offered a choice of a Chevrolet Captiva, a Kia Sportage, a Traverse for an extra $17 dollars per day, or an Equinox for another $7 per day. I felt like asking the attendant if she could “try harder” to find something else, and lo and behold, a new Escape materialized. I took it, hoping that I’d get a real stripped out 2.5L powered S trim level, the kind that would never be put into the press fleet.

Imagine my surprise when I was assigned an SE model, sans MyFord Touch or a sunroof, with a 1.6L Ecoboost. Even more shocking was the strong presence of a number of SEL and 2.0L Titanium models. With nearly 24,000 miles on it, this Escape appeared to have held up well, though it looked like it hadn’t been washed or cleaned since it was delivered to Avis. A number of early Escapes were sent to fleets after being damaged in a hailstorm (and repaired) but the build date on this car is too new to be from that batch. Ford seems to be keeping the poverty-spec cars for security guard patrol vehicles and other fleets. Not that this car was what we’d call “premium”. This SE lacked things like a power liftgate, MyFord Touch, rear parking sensors, which come in the Convenience Package, which costs an extra $1,395, and is the kind of option package that you’d find on most Escapes at your local Ford lot.

TTAC is fond of ripping on MyFord Touch as being the devil’s own spawn, but I found the basic SYNC system and the tiny LCD screen to be absolutely infuriating after a mere 24 hours. Neither my iPhone 4s (that I use when traveling) nor my iPhone5s would successfully pair, and the music integration was slower and more cumbersome than any MFT system I’ve ever encountered. By the end, I had given up, and resored to using a 3.5mm auxiliary cable with my brother operating the music.

trunkfull

SYNC aside, the rather pedestrian trim level did little to deter my enthusiasm for the Escape – or that of the rest of my family, who normally drive a fully loaded Volvo XC60 T6. Our flight originated out of Buffalo, New York, and the XC60 struggled to hold our four large suitcases. The Escape had no trouble swallowing them up, with room for our backpacks and computer bags as well (these tend to go on the rear middle seat in the Volvo). My parents and brother remarked that they had much more room in the back of the Escape, but that the rear seats themselves were much flatter and harder. Pitting them against the Volvo’s rear bench is a tough comparison, but the Escape’s rear seats are especially upright and stiff, like some kind of orthopedic back brace.

Whoever occupies the front seat is in for a treat. On the Cherokee launch, I was very impressed with the driving dynamics of the Escape 2.0T Titanium, calling it a “jacked-up Focus ST”. The 1.6 SE didn’t have the same forward thrust, but the heavy, accurate steering, quick turn-in and nimble chassis were still there. The 1.6L Ecoboost felt like it was just the right amount of power, and there were even hints of torque steering in the lower gears. In Sport mode, the transmission is eager to shift, compared to the sluggish, fuel-economy centric programming when left in Drive. But even that didn’t stop the Escape from returning some truly poor mileage.

mpg1

During the portion of my trip where I put the drivetrain through its paces, the Escape delivered an astonishing 11 mpg. The best figure I ever got was 34 mpg on a trip back from Kendall towards Miami, with highway driving staying consistently around 30 mpg. In town driving, with the throttle gingerly applied, stayed in the high teens, with 21 mpg returning as the average observed fuel economy figure at the end of my trip. Figures like that make “Ecoboost” seem like a misnomer – though the Fiesta ST, with the same basic mill, returned 26 mpg overall, under extreme duress via an overactive right foot. The “boost” part of the equation is there with the new Ford F/I mills, but the “Eco” needs work.

mpg

Having driven pretty much everything in the small crossover segment, the Escape is still tops in my books, even over the vaunted Mazda CX-5. What is sacrifices in outright driving fun (and really, it’s not that much), it makes up for in refinement. On my Avis Preferred profile, I’ve set my default vehicle choice to the Escape (though I’ll be sure to try other selections in future rental reviews). In terms of cargo and passenger space, it held as much as a full-size sedan while keeping me suitably entertained behind the wheel. But that’s not to say I’d recommend one to someone who needed a crossover as a family car or commuting appliance.

I’m willing to sacrifice poor gas mileage (Escape EB) or a bit of wind noise (CX-5) in exchange for better driving dynamics.  The kind of person who needs to ask for car advice is not interested in that kind of trade-off – and would be better served by a CR-V. It may be “boring” or “beige” to us, but that’s exactly what a mass market car should be – devoid of interesting idiosyncrasies, able to do its job competently every single time without making the user aware of its operation. Good luck finding one at a rental counter though.

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108 Comments on “Rental Review: 2013 Ford Escape SE Ecoboost FWD...”


  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    For the life of me I can’t figure out the appeal of the Escape compared to the rest of its class. We test-drove the Escape, the CR-V, the RAV4 and the CX-5, and thought the Escape’s interior fit a full class below in terms of materials and fit/finish compared to the Japanese. The massive plasticky dashboard intrudes way too far into the passenger area, making the interior feel cramped compared to the others. And with those seats and the driving position, climbing out of the RAV4 and into the Escape felt like going from a car to a FedEx truck. The driving experience certainly isn’t the selling point, compared to the rest of the class – it’s not worse, but it’s not better, either – so what is, exactly?

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      The appeal is simple: It used to be that only pricy luxury CUVs delivered a combination of good driving dynamics, a quality interior, good cargo room and good looks. The Escape Titanium delivers all of that about $15K cheaper than most luxury makers.

      There is nothing wrong with the CR-V and RAV-4 if your looking for utilitarian transport but they have cheap plastic interiors, little in the way of power and lowest common denominator driving dynamics.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I never drove the Titanium, but the SE model we test-drove was the definition of “cheap plastic interior.” Again, seemed like a total downgrade compared to the others. We ended up with the CX-5, which felt like a BMW next to the Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Indeed, the Ford Escape can feel like a Audi Q5 for less money—and with quite a bit more interior space—but that’s only if you get the Titanium model, or a fully-spec’d SE. S and lesser-equipped SE models feel ridiculously cheap. In S models, I believe Ford even swaps out the clear lower-fascia lamps for semi-opaque amber units, which look horrible. And I can’t stand the way that Ford puts ugly black door handles and wing mirrors on baser models of its products, even on vehicles as pricey as the Edge and Explorer. I understand it on full-sized trucks (Silverado, Sierra, F-150, etc…) and on fleet cars (Captiva, Caprice…), but as far as normal vehicles go, no other manufacturer does that. Even Dodge quit doing it on the penalty-box Caliber midway in (MY2010).

          But I digress…

        • 0 avatar
          N8iveVA

          I just test drove an Escape Titanium 2.0T FWD and a CX-5 Grand Touring. I thought the Escape’s interior just barely edged out slightly better than the CX-5. Although i liked the simpler design of the Mazda a little better but i did not like the tiny sunroof. Exterior i like a little better on the CX-5, but what really swayed me to the Escape was the nice smooth power delivery of the 2.0 turbo. Plus the CX-5′s gas pedal is mounted to the floor and i absolutely hated the way it felt from the second i pressed on it. Plus there felt like hardly any pedal travel. But my buddy drove it first and he didn’t even notice the pedal.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        This is one of the worst cars I’ve ever driven. The chassis flexed, the engine moaned like grandma getting up for another beer, and the throttle tip in was so bad I had to resort to using the cruise control for modulation.

        The sync thing would mysteriously turn on the radio and through the static I distinctly heard the words, “kill me…please”

        For near sports car agility , good looks etc – kia sportage. a fine car.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Agreed – the Sportage’s looks are better, better drivetrain, and Uvo is considered better, too. And it can’t be as thirsty as the Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          I agree. Of the CUVs we looked at and drove, the Sportage really stood out.

          We thought the Escape was ok, but it didn’t sing. The design of the dashboard & console also made the Escape driver’s seat feel quite cramped.

        • 0 avatar
          N8iveVA

          I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just drove one and it felt very solid and i didn’t notice any throttle tip in issues with the 2.0

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I was asked to help a family member decide between a Ford Escape 1.6 and a Rav4 last year. I preferred the Escape, liked its hefty steering, interior materials, ride quality, and road noise suppression. It felt a bit like my VW going down the road. The Rav4 wasn’t bad but lacked the refinement in ride quality and had a cheaper interior and far more road noise. Good front seats, though.

    Powertrains were a wash. The Ecoboost had more grunt down low but that tapered off quickly and I don’t think it was any quicker or more refined than the Toyota 2.5. If real world fuel economy is worse than the Toyota, then I don’t see the point of the 1.6 turbo.

    I lobbied for the Ford, and she almost bought one until she found news of the 1.6 engine fire recalls. Bought the Toyota right after that. She is a 20-year Toyota fan who was willing to finally abandon the brand and give Ford a chance, but that recall nipped it in the bud and reinforced Toyota’s sterling image for her.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      ‘Fit?’

      I have looked over at least 20 different Escapes and have yet to find a fit issue in the front of the cabin. Nothing you described cat be categorized as a ‘fit’ issue.

      Look aft at the D pillar, and you will find a lot of early production runs with garbage plastic that warped and doesn’t mate up with the headliner.

      I believe you’re misusing F&F… the term you’re looking for is craftsmanship or ergonomics. I have to agree with you. The new F series will have similar craftsmanship. Ford needs to ditch the stitched pleather. Sure, it’s better than the Fisher Price IP’s of prior generation vehicles, but Chrysler/Fiat has the interior craftsmanship nailed down to a science. Their IP’s may not make sense, but at least when you touch the dash, you’re most likely feeling real leather or something that doesn’t look like garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      you do realize that in 2013 Toyota had the most recalls of any manutacturer?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        You do realize it wasn’t me who bought the car, right? That I was explaining someone else’s rationale? Thought that was pretty clear.

        Do you also realize that documented engine fires that can burn a vehicle to the ground and result in Ford issuing dire warnings to owners to immediately stop driving their new cars are a bit more frightening to the average consumer than, say, a windshield wiper switch malfunction? I knew this recall was limited and corrected by that time, but it tends to stick around and is an interesting example of how an auto manufacturer’s reputation can be harmed or maintained.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I don’t know what the Rav4 may have been recalled for (same spider-airbag issue as camry)? But the 1.6 Ecoboost has been recalled for engine fires stemming not just from fuel leaks, but oil leaks caused by CRACKED CYLINDER HEADS (shout out to bigtruckseries with the CAPSLOCK YELLING).

        That sounds like a pretty serious design issue stemming from engine cooling, the root cause is probably the heat inherent to a turbo charged engine. Over the Christmas holidays I helped swap in a used engine into a 2002 WRX (blew a rod through the block with 210k miles on it, oil starvation related), any and all vacuum/coolant hoses in close proximity to the turbo were cooked to a crisp and brittle as hell, snapping upon removal. To be fair, the car did make it 210k miles and could have gone further if the owner had stayed on top of checking the oil better. But seeing the added complexity and heat of a turbo, especially one as tightly packaged as a Subaru flat four, sours me on the notion of owning such a vehicle long term. BTW the turbo bearings did have excessive play in the shaft at that mileage and was not long for this world as it was.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    “By the end, I had given up, and restored to using a 3.5mm auxiliary cable with my brother operating the music.” I had the same experience.

    Also, like the poster above, I found the plasticky dash and console way to intrusive as well. It makes a tall person feel cramped.

    For comparison, I still have the previous generation Ford Escape clone a.k.a. the Mazda Tribute as my cargo hauler. It’s boxier design is more practical. With the dash further forward, it feels spacious.

    Last but not least, it has a manual transmission, which is unavailable in the redesigned Escape. So my next CUV little wagon will be either a CX-5 or a Subie Forester.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So at 21 mpg, is the extra cost and maintence of a tiny turbo engine really worth the development costs over a small V6 or non-clown car sized 4 cyclinder?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Wow, that fuel economy sucks. I’ve had two Escapes with the V6 both averaged about the same 21mpg. The older less powerful (200hp) with the 4-speed auto. The newer more powerful (240hp) with the 6-speed auto. This ecoboost 4 should be doing better

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      The closest things I have to this are my

      87 4×4 s10 blazer, with a 3.4l V6, 4-speed which gets about 23 avg

      And H3T with 33 inch a/t – w/ the 3.7 i5 and 5 speed manual that gets 21 itself. And that’s with full time 4WD

      And neither are driven softly, granted neither are driven often either.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Plus, the larger Duratec V6 is quieter and less buzzy at highway speeds than an overworked 1.6 liter 4 cylinder. Horses for courses.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Where is dot gov on this horrendous mileage? They seem to be able to police everything else in the industry and are happy tell OEMs what to do, why is a hair over 20mpg acceptable in an I4 “jacked up Focus”?

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        what, precisely, are you asking “dot gov” to do about it? So long as the numbers on the sticker are from a properly-performed test, there’s nothing to be done about it.

        “Your mileage may vary” is not just a meme.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Gov’t likes to regulate things to the hilt, why is this mileage acceptable in this type/class of vehicle?

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            so you’re asking the government to regulate how people drive their cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            A FWD I4 anything in 2014 should not average 21.7 MPG.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My sister in law gets 27 MPG in her 1.6T Escape. Your mileage may vary.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It certainly is a deal breaker for me

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            guy I work with gets about 21 in a 2.0T Fusion. Why? I rode with him and his driving style is “stomp on the gas until I have to stomp on the brake.”

            in her 2.0T Fusion, my mother averages 27-28 because she drives like a sane person.

            boosted/assisted engines are incredibly sensitive to what your right foot is doing. If you treat the gas pedal like an on/off switch, you deserve the low mpg you get.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            Derek didn’t mention the mix of highway to city driving, but the EPA rates this Escape at 23mpg city, so averaging a little under 22 despite being fully loaded with people and stuff, and being driven presumably aggressively at time (he mentioned getting as low as 11mpg) isn’t terrible.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            I have no desire to see govt get involved in ‘fixing’ anything. I like govt making standards, like a universal test for mpg, but let companies & the public do their thing.

            If there is outrage, why not point it to the companies for making such sensitive engines and the public for drinking the Kool-Aid?

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        A friend of mine bought a 2.0 turbo Escape and is getting around 21 city and 33 highway, but he drives like an old woman. i would never get that with my heavy foot. Turbo engines can get the advertised mileage when driven easily, but most people, myself included, don’t drive that way.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I currently drive a 2002 Mazda Tribute V6 AWD; 200/200 HP/tq is enough even for this young buck, especially since I achieved 23 mpg on an August road trip to Illinois and that sort of mileage might only be expected out of a FWD I4 stick-shift model (too bad there wasn’t a manual option for the V6). Of course, in the sub-zero temps right now, I’m lucky to even get 18…

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        I have an 05 Escape with the same 3.0 AWD and i’ve averaged 24 mpg on highway tripsa d 18 city, but now that it’s got 187K miles on it i’m getting more like 16 city and 21 highway. :(

    • 0 avatar
      jbreuckm

      Somehow, I’ve averaged 21.5 mpg with my Coyote 5.0 over the past 2 years. So, given the equivalent mileage between the 5.0 and the 1.6, the answer we’re looking for is…an MT Escape with the 5.0. MPG problem solved. I’d never buy one but the 4 people who did would love it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      ESPECIALLY considering the tester was FWD.

  • avatar
    Atum

    My dad rented a Captiva last week, and that was one of the most impressive vehicles I’d ever been in. The interior was nice, the seats were comfy, the interior was roomy, the performance was good, and plus, it only had 3K miles.

    There was an Escape at Enterprise of Hiram (which is huge if you’ve ever been to it) that had a panoramic sunroof. I was like “Dang, they must be spoiling their customers.”

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      “My dad rented a Captiva last week, and that was one of the most impressive vehicles I’d ever been in.”

      I…

      uh…

      what?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        LOLLLLLLZ. I know.

        Ever been in a loaded Accord, or similar? That’s assuredly more impressive. Also, let’s have someone give you a ride in a LUXURY car. Then you’ll see.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      So you’ve called the Explorer awful, but the Captiva is impressive? Even GM doesn’t think the Captiva is impressive. That’s why you can’t buy one new.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Your the first person I’ve heard that likes the Captiva

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        given the way he usually talks about his parents’ cars, I think we’re dealing with someone who isn’t old enough to drive yet.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        “You’re the first person I’ve heard that likes the Captiva”

        You got that right! I was forced to rent one of those last year. It’s a slow, fuel sucking, doesn’t do anything well turd of a car.

        Just when I think GM has made great strides, I get button-holed with this crapster on wheels, with a sunroof off the track and leaking like crazy no less, and the old GM creeps back into my consciousness.

    • 0 avatar
      Atum

      I’ll just confirm this now, and you can keep it at the back of your mind. Come back to this post if curious.

      I’m a high school student whose loved cars my whole life. No, I can’t drive. Therefore, I don’t judge vehicles by driving experience, and I already know I’ll be inheriting a basic Ranger regular cab, which is, well, boring. I judge vehicles from a passenger point of view, and use sources such as Consumer Reports, TrueDelta, and Edmunds to know how good a vehicle is. Is it comfy? Is it roomy? Is it safe? How I judge cars is how the general population judges cars.

      I’ve hinted the fact I’m only a teenager many times before. I said on a post “when I’m a legal adult”, another one “there’s someone at my school with a white Leaf”, and this Focus one from today “when the second gen Focus came out in elementary school”. I love writing, and I started writing the introduction part of a review of the Captiva. It doesn’t talk about how cars are to general teenagers; it’s a normal review from the point of view of the passenger.

      As with the Captiva, at Enterprise, the woman behind the desk told me I could choose that, an Altima, or a Malibu, and I purposely chose the Captiva, thinking it was going to be an awful vehicle. Everyone said bad things about it, so I believed the same, until my dad and I drove off the lot. Like Panthers, they depreciate crazily, so I wouldn’t mind buying one once I get the money or if the Ranger or Rogue breaks.

      And don’t ask about the profile picture. I wanted to throw the most important information out to you guys. Thanks, and have a good day.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        So tell us what your dad thought of the Captiva as it relates to other vehicles in this class that he has experienced. Did he like the way it handled? What about the power, good, bad? Would he buy one?

        • 0 avatar
          Atum

          He really liked the handling, and the EcoTec was pretty powerful. My dad normally drives a 2008 Rogue SL, which was being repaired due to a crash, and my mom drives a 2012 RAV4 Limited with the four-cylinder. So, power isn’t a priority of ours. My parents always buy new since my sister’s Ranger, which was purchased used, has had a good amount of problems, and the used Grand Caravan my mom had when I was born was a lemon. But, if the Captiva was new, I don’t know. It was a nice car. I’d need to check the reliability, fuel economy, etc. before telling my parents it’s a good choice for them.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            ” I’d need to check the reliability, fuel economy, etc. before telling my parents it’s a good choice for them.”

            yep. you definitely are a teenager.

            what makes you think your parents need car buying advice from someone who has never driven a car, never had to pay for a car, never had to pay the operating costs of a car, and never had to maintain a car?

          • 0 avatar
            TEXN3

            And you’re definitely an asshole. Instead of belittling, trying teaching using your wealth of knowledge.

            We were all in his place at one time, budding gearheads with the only knowledge we could consume! I hope my boys are as interested in cars as Atum when they reach his age. Even if all they’ll ride in are “appliance” cars and pickups.

            Just like consumers, Atum is using the same sources as most folks to help make an intelligent decision (maybe as requested by his family). I only burned my folks on one purchase, when I was a teenager… An E430 4matic wagon. Hey, it was cooler and faster than the Sable wagon they were replacing! I wish the internet was available at home back then (for car research, of course).

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Why not let the kid post some opinions around here without hanging him out to dry? Every teenager has a lot to learn about life, but he is polite and amiable, and demonstrates a far better command of the English language than most of his peers. So show some courtesy and just politely correct him when he gets stuff wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “Why not let the kid post some opinions around here without hanging him out to dry?”

            TTAC does let him post his opinions. TTAC also lets people respond to said opinions. If you want an echo chamber, start your own site.

            “Every teenager has a lot to learn”

            too bad they don’t know that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I’m glad your parents value your input. Whatever vehicle they choose next will be important to you because you’ll probably be driving it. Many parents are too busy to collect all the data needed to make a good car buying decision. It’s good that you have an interest in cars and can help them make a wise choice.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            jz, you’re such a peach. I think you’d be better served by an echo chamber, given your
            reaction to contrary opinions.

            I just noticed Derek’s response to you a few posts down. It’s awesome. Read it and take note.

      • 0 avatar

        Atum,

        Having been in your shoes less than a decade ago (including choosing the rental for my folks), it paints me to say this, but you really need to get seat time to form an accurate opinion on these matters.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          sorry, man, but you need to *own* a car before you can have an opinion worth listening to. Auto journalists don’t evaluate cars based on 3, 5, or 10 years of ownership. They go on a media drive for a couple of hours, or get a press car for a day. They pass judgement on a car based on attributes practically no car buyer cares one whit about. A Mazda 3 has a bit more precise handling than a Ford Focus or a Chevy Cruze? Demonstrate to me that even 2% of Mazda 3 owners even understand what that means.

          “Seat time” tells you how a car drives. “Ownership” tells you what a car is like to live with. “Seat time” gets people to buy VWs. “Ownership” convinces them they shouldn’t buy another one.

          and simply regurgitating Consumer Reports, True Delta, and Edmunds doesn’t mean you have the faintest clue what you’re talking about.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            Jz wrote: “Seat time” gets people to buy VWs. “Ownership” convinces them to not buy another one.”

            That’s a specuous statement. Millions of buyers each year around the world buy a car based on a fifteen minute test drive and VW products have no secret recipe that makes their cars more appealing during those fifteen minutes than any other brand. Apparently some VW product did you wrong sometime in your past. To paint every new VW as a ticking time bomb or some kind of ruse to the buyer is an extrapolation that is not warranted, anecdotal stories aside.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “VW products have no secret recipe that makes their cars more appealing during those fifteen minutes”

            Not true for me, fifteen minutes in a Sportwagen made every other $20K car feel like a cheap tin can. Hooked me right away. This was before the new Focus and Cruze and the Great Cheapening of the Jetta, though, so your point is probably largely true now.

          • 0 avatar

            jz78817,

            About a week ago, Jack sent me a note regarding some private correspondence I’ve been having. I’m paraphrasing here, but his message said “I know you’re a nice guy, but in your emails, you sound like a complete prick”.

            I’m sure you’re a decent guy offline, but right now, you’re hiding behind a computer screen and chewing out a high school sophomore who just wants to get in the discussion.

            You are correct – his opinions are pretty shaky given that he can’t legally drive. Most people don’t care about the qualitative minutiae of different cars. But chances are, if you read TTAC, you do.

            You’re also correct that most auto journalists have no idea what the hell they’re talking about – which is what I was getting at when I mentioned “seat time”.

            If you’d say in person exactly what you said to him – and I have a strong feeling you wouldn’t – then carry on. If not, go outside, take a deep breath, realize it has little bearing on your own life, and come back when you are ready to be civil, rather than petulant and condescending.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            message recieved. I’m going to step away for a while.

        • 0 avatar
          Atum

          Thanks for responding, Derek. Being one of the younger editors here, I think it was best for you out of the others to chime in. I’ll be getting my permit this year, so I’ll actually get to tell people about what it’s like to drive, even though the Ranger I’m getting isn’t that exciting, haha.

          As I read in the comment section of a post (I forgot what it was) when Lie2Me asked about Doug DeMuro, this is a place where truths come out. You all also needed to know the truth about me, Atum. I’m not a 65 year old classic car collector or a 40 year old Porsche dealer owner with five adopted kids; I’m just a teenager from Georgia. A good amount of readers are probably high-school and even middle-school aged and a handful of quiet TTAC users may be as well, but everyone is accepted here for who they are. A young woman wrote a piece about female stereotypes in the car world. A trauma surgeon posted pictures of severed limbs talking about the consequences of automobile accidents. There’s Doug DeMuro, probably my favorite writer of all time, but he sadly left. This place isn’t just about driving.

          However, I’ve been finding people cars for YEARS. That’s something that I won’t stop doing, since I’ve built up a reputation for doing it. Otherwise, I’ll take away everything you’ve told me. Will this make me leave the site? Heck no; I used to only read the Doug DeMuro pieces and the newer-model junkyard finds, but now I read almost everything. Will I quit commenting and just stay logged in? No. Everyone’s input is accepted, as I said above.

          Besides, with that Captiva review I was writing, I can’t finish stuff like that to save my life, let alone have it be any good. Thanks everyone, especially Derek, for responding to the truth, and have a good evening and (for me) extra day off. ~Atum.

          • 0 avatar

            Stick around. I’m here because I reached out to some people when I was your age, and they were kind enough to respond.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            Atum,

            Are you in Atlanta?

            I am a close, personal friend of Doug DeMuro (I swear to God); perhaps I can get his autograph for you.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            The Ranger you’re getting is what I wish I was driving. It is as simple as a hammer, has a plethora of spare parts in every self service yard, and is a every day truck. I would be excited for any MY of a Ranger for my first car.

            FWIW, I rented a Captiva when I was in Detroit at the beginning of December and it was miserable. The flimsy selector on the right hand side of the steering wheel almost made me run off the road and smoke a telephone pole. Buried USB port, horrible plastic interior, nut less engine… it made me long for the fisher price interior (without carpet) of my F150.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            u r teen an dont rite lik this?!?!

            How refreshing! Keep writing and improving your style; it will open a lot of doors, no matter what your choice of subject matter.

            As to the Captiva (formerly the last generation of the the “late” Saturn Vue), I think that the external style and packaging dimensions made it an attractive vehicle, but many who spent time with them realized that beauty was *truly* “skin deep”.

          • 0 avatar
            Atum

            Hey Derek, what’s your e-mail? I’d like to say some stuff people have asked in the comments, but don’t want to reveal publicly. Thanks. Sorry for making half the comments in this post talk about the truth about me.

            For others. David: I’m in a suburb, but I don’t need or want an autograph, haha. That’s kind of a stretch. Thanks for offering.

            Tresmonos: Yeah, it has terrific visibility, since it’s only a regular cab.

            Shaker: The public school system is helpful, haha. Thanks for the kind words.

            N8iveVA: Considering how it was, it probably was a great vehicle back then. Kind of like the 2012 RAV4 my mom has; it was great back in 2006, but it lacks a lot of features, such as navigation, found on many top-trim models.

          • 0 avatar

            derek at ttac dot com

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Hoo boy, you’re not supposed to have opinions like that. I know because I have them too. I just rented an MKZ and was really impressed. To be sure, it has a bit too much torque steer, but I loved the 3.7 V6 and the seats, easily better than the ones in my CTS.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      The Captiva was nice 6 years ago when it was the last Saturn Vue. Now it drives like a car designed over 6 years ago.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    I had the same trouble with my iPod in a Ford Focus I rented last year. Now the Cadillac ATS I rented last month was great. iPhone paired easily and I used the entire system without cracking a manual once.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Rented one out of Montrose, CO last year. It was really well equipped for a rental as well. Seats were strangely shaped, but not bad.

    The one thing that really stuck out was the seat heat. All the levels of heat were burning hot in both front seats, and the heated pad was only big enough to heat a really small section of the seat. It was sad. Didn’t inspire my faith in the rest of the vehicle.

  • avatar
    Dan

    It’s 400+ pounds heavier than a Camcord pushing another 10″ of air out of the way. Of course it gets SUV mileage.

    You can cheat the EPA with a tiny boosted motor, and Ford did, but you can’t cheat physics.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Point being made, is why does a compact CUV with lawn mower sized engine get such terrible mpg, while a midsize vehicle with more cyclinders and 3+l BOF 4wd that is older get better mpg?
      If a say 2.5l with more HP/TQ can get better avg mpg, why waste time with a turbo?

      If the new Tahoe (2014) is able to get 20+ avg, what does that say about a vehicle weighing half its weight with an engine lacking 4 cyclinders and 3.7 less displacement?

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        What makes you sure that GMs economy claims for the new Tahoe are any more realistic than Ford’s for the 2.0 EB?

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Because their claims on GMTxxx have never been unrealistic I doubt they’ll upset.
          Fords trying wholly new engines that have never been widely used on the American public.

      • 0 avatar
        fincar1

        Probably that the smaller engine has to work harder.

        I remember years ago when Popular Mechanics magazine did owner surveys of cars. For cars that had a choice of 6 or V8 engines, the reported gas mileage was usually about 1 mpg better for the 6. If there were reasons to choose the smaller engine, fuel economy wasn’t one of them.

        • 0 avatar
          Frankie the Hollywood Scum

          and by work harder you mean higher bmep per cylinder or what is really causing the problem is more heat. More heat per cylinder = higher part temps (including the close coupled catalytic converter). To keep the cat from melting and the exhaust valves from dropping into the piston the engineers need to run the engine very rich.

          The problem is more of a material science challenge than a physics problem.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “You can cheat the EPA with a tiny boosted motor, and Ford did, but you can’t cheat physics.”

      You can also cheat your naive customers who don’t think to look at the trip computer during the test drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        The Escape/Focus MPG difference matches well with my experience owning a GTI and a Tiguan. Both have the same 2.0Tsi engine. The Tiguan’s about 400lbs heaver, IIRC, and it uses a less efficient conventional autobox. But my GTI, with DSG, delivers 4-7 mpg better at the same speeds, even though the engine’s spinning 500-1000 rpm faster due to the gearing. What’s the big difference? Frontal area, primarily.

        I’m reminded of the testimony of many travel trailers owners on a forum I frequent. Towing a small fiberglass trailer, they get 15-18 mpg no matter what tow vehicle they use, including trucks, CUVs, SUVs and the occasional car. I’ve gotten 18 mpg with a 2.5 Subaru four, and with the 2.0T. So mpg seems determined by size of the load, not the size of the engine.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    C’mon, Derek…with all the money you saved slumming it out of Buffalo rather than being robbed blind at Pearson, I’m sure that more than made up for the poor mpg.

    Let’s see – put on the clothes you last used to clean the garage, pack, take the QEW to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, hit the factory outlet mall in Niagara Falls, NY, to buy your entire vacation wardrobe and ditch what you’re wearing in the Salvation Army donation bins (thank you very much – a pleasure doing business with you & yours), then drive to Buffalo International…I’m sure you saved hundreds, if not thousands.

    I will be returning some of those dollars in February at CIAS 2014…

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Was your fuel mileage figured with the car full of relatives and luggage? The point of a turbo is that it can sip under light load and deliver grunt (at the cost of thirst) when you need it. If you’re hauling 800 pounds, that turbo is going to be working.

    I’m not defending Ecoboost, just curious about the test conditions.

  • avatar
    red60r

    The EB Escape’s in-town mileage figure is pathetic unless it included a lot of full-throttle tests – my R-Design XC-60 does around 20 in suburban driving, only slightly worse, around 18 mpg, if that includes a lot of sitting at stoplights with the A/C on. Highway cruising runs about 25-27 with cruise set at 78 mph. The back area of the XC holds a lot of stuff if you are willing to stand suitcases on end and let them project into the rear-view field. That’s what the ultrasonic beeper is for.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Derek – good review. So in your opinion is the Escape a better drive (dynamically speaking) than the CX5?

  • avatar
    Acd

    Good choice in not taking any of the “upgrades” that the rental agent offered. I’ve rented several Escapes and enjoyed them, although I’ve also noticed poor fuel economy but it is a small price to pay not to have to drive a Captiva or sit in the plastic hell of a Traverse or Acadia rental grade interior.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I looked at the Escape before I bought my Ford C-Max Hybrid last year. Comparably equipped, the C-Max costs a little less than the 1.6 liter Ecoboost Escape. The interiors of the two vehicles look very similar, and probably share a lot of parts. The interior room of the C-Max passenger compartment is essentially the same size as the Escapes. The C-Max is down on cargo room, but the C-Max is quicker, quieter and delivers half again better gas mileage. Over 100,000, you’d save almost $7,500 in fuel costs with the C-Max. For that kind of scratch, you can rent an SUV for when you really need the luggage space.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’ve criticized many Fords, but not for their chassis’ or suspensions (which are now at least better if not best in class vis-a-vis their respective competitors), but I must say that the Escape rental I had disappointed in terms of a very plastic-y interior, terribly uncomfortable seats and a ride that was far worse and noisier than the Focus upon which it is based.

    Maybe it was the trim level.

    I do know that I much prefer the Equinox to the Escape. The Equinox rides better and is quieter, with GOBS more passenger space.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      if your rental was an “S” trim, then yes, it’s a dour griefbox.

      “S” seems to be the fleet special.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Even if it was an S I would have thought the plastics quality would be the same going from S to SE onwards. I thought the only difference between S and SE were equipment/options.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          it is the same. everything that is hard plastic in an S is hard plastic in a Titanium. Everything that is “soft-touch” in a Titanium is “soft-touch” in an S. The surface finishes are different.

          “plasticky” is just a catch-all term for “I don’t like the interior, but I can’t articulate why.”

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It was definitely a stripped down trim level, jz, as evidenced by the base trim seat fabric you mentioned.

            As is, it was still much better than either the Hyundai Tucson I was once stuck with or the Toyota RAV-4s I’ve had, which are probably the least comfortable CUVs relative to their reputation that exist.

  • avatar
    JKC

    I bought an AWD 2.0T Titanium trim Escape last April. The Titanium trim is very nice, and I’d put it up against any of its competitors. When I was shopping last spring, I looked at and drove a Forester, a CR-V, and a RAV-4. The Toyota seemed a bit crude, the Honda a bit bland. That said, the Honda had an impressively large cargo hold. The Subaru had the best visibility but that bloody CVT is garbage, and you can’t get a manual on the higher trim levels.

    So that left the Escape, and I don’t have any regrets about the purchase. My mileage has been in the mid-20′s, which is not spectacular, but not awful either. It does very well on long highway cruises. I have the tow package, and a small trailer for hardware store runs and the like which the car pulls without hesitation. I bought 4 Michelin X-Ice3 snow tires and it’s great in the snow and ice if you don’t drive like a complete idiot.

    Unscheduled repairs so far: none. (Knocking on wood…)

    As for those seat heaters, anyone else noticed that the control wheel is identical to the one VAG uses?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I had a escape rental a se I think for a week in calf and yes the mileage sucked about the same as Derek’s and all highway for me , the 2 biggest complaints were MY touch and damm did that Ford have wind noise, made my Jett’s TDI wagon seem like a S class as far a interior noise went, a real killer , I could not own one of these, my wife’s 8 year old pilot was more peaceful inside than this Dearborn wind tunnel.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Indeed, this is one of those cars that shows its flaws as you start removing options, so that a lesser-equipped SE isn’t nearly as appealing as a Titanium in comparison to other compact CUVs. But at a rental rate of $17 a day, I could cry myself a river and get over it…

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      the thing is that the materials aren’t any more “plasticky” in an S than they are in a Titanium. The difference is that in an S the trim bits are left matte black plastic (but grained) while the upper ones have a silver or other finish applique over them.

      the one thing I really don’t like about the lowest trim level is the seat fabrics. It’s one step above burlap.

    • 0 avatar

      It was literally the cheapest car to rent. An Accent was a couple dollars more per day. A full-size car was close to double. Not complaining at all.

  • avatar
    Nick

    ‘During the portion of my trip where I put the drivetrain through its paces, the Escape delivered an astonishing 11 mpg.’

    This was a review of a ’74 Country Squire with a 400M?

  • avatar
    red60r

    How else would you expect a 13-year-old to drive, Bubbeleh?

  • avatar
    walker42

    Great review. I too consider the CX5 and Escape to be in a class of their own. The 2.0L is really impressive but thirsty. Probably no worse than the 1.6L from your review. As you know fuel consumption on a turbo engine skyrockets when you drive it hard.

  • avatar

    I actually like the captiva. I test drove a turbo diesel once, and one of my friends has one, also the turbo diesel. He loves the car, even though he enjoyed major engine trouble on a trip to france, that seemed to have something to do with the VM Motori engine from that MY. There were several other owners with the same trouble. Basically the cam shaft broke in bits, or something.

    I don’t mind if a car drives like a car that’s six years old, I have never driven anything younger than that!
    *disclaimer: I am european. ;)

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I like small SUVs, but let’s face it, their tall butch look ruins an otherwise perfectly good unibody compact station wagon. The jacked-up body ruins your choice of handling or ride quality (eg kidney-busting BMW X3), ruins fuel economy (eg the Ford’s EcoLess 1.6T), and ruins interior quiet (eg noisy Hyundai Tucson).

    The Escape is for sure one of the nicest of the bunch. But Conslaw is right. Compared to a Ford Escape 1.6T, a Ford C-Max Hybrid is quicker, quieter, more comfortable, cheaper to buy and run, still offers an elevated seating position and ample space inside, and is easier to see out of and park.

    I guess people like the SUV look, but even that is dubious. Yes, a C-Max looks like a lowered potato, but an Escape looks like a lifted minivan. If we were rational, we’d drive MPVs, not mini SUVs.


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