$10,286 - $14,066

2013 Ford Escape Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Ford Escape was new.


Performance: 8.0

While reviewers think the 2013 Ford Escape’s base engine is nothing special, they find few faults with the Escape’s optional turbocharged Ecoboost engines. Both Ecoboost engines have plenty of power for passing and merging, as well as good fuel economy ratings. Reviewers compare the Escape’s handling with the handling of the Ford Focus, which is a small car. That’s a big compliment for a crossover SUV.

  • "As you might expect, the Escape drives like a giant Focus with a higher center of gravity. It's planted, feels secure, and is even a little fun." -- Car and Driver
  • "Verdict: The best compact SUV in the mainstream segment, with the handling of the Mazda CX-5 and the quietness of premium-segment models." -- MSNBC
  • "Escape SE is very quiet on the highway with little wind or road noise. The 1.6-liter engine is very refined and nearly silent at cruise. The 2.0-liter engine is louder overall with more exhaust noise than expected, but not enough to be intrusive. The 2.0 engine quiets down on the highway." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Ford Escape offers three inline four-cylinder engines, all of which are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that reviewers say is smooth. The V6 engine from the 2012 Escape is no longer offered. The base 2013 Escape comes with a 168-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. While this engine has good fuel economy ratings of 22/31 mpg city/highway, reviewers suggest bypassing it for either of the turbocharged Ecoboost engines.

The first Ecoboost engine is a 178-horsepower 1.6-liter engine that reviewers say has good power for traveling uphill and passing on the highway. More than one test driver says the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine turns the Escape into a “little hot rod," but they add that the horsepower gain will probably be superfluous for the average shopper. Models with either Ecoboost engine can be equipped with four-wheel drive. When paired with four-wheel drive, the 1.6-liter engine is more fuel-efficient than the 2.0-liter engine, averaging 22/30 mpg city/highway, which is very good for the class.

  • "The turbo 1.6-liter doesn't feel nearly as quick overall as the 2.0-liter, but its 184 lb-ft move the Escape off the line briskly. Most customers will be happy with the low-end shove of the 1.6-liter and won't find the 240-horse engine necessary." -- Car and Driver
  • "With the 1.6-liter engine, Escape feels energetic from a stop with more than adequate power for highway merging. The 2.0-liter engine is stronger overall and turns Escape into a practical little hot rod. Both engines have fine throttle response, and the 6-speed automatic shifts smoothly and provides timely downshifts." -- Consumer Guide
  • "This bigger motor transforms the Escape into a little hot rod. It's quite a lot of fun to pitch a 2.0-liter Escape into a corner and let the all-wheel-drive system sort out the power and pull you through without any drama or tire scrub. It's easy to hustle this Escape around town." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Let's just say if you buy an Escape with the 2.5-liter engine and you're not a fleet purchaser I will judge you harshly." -- Jalopnik

Handling and Braking

According to reviewers, one of the 2013 Ford Escape’s best qualities is its handling. They say it drives a lot like a larger version of the Ford Focus, but with a more secure, planted feel. The brakes received mixed reviews, with some critics calling them strong and others calling them weak.

  • "The Escape rides well, whether it's on the SE model's seventeen-inch wheels or the Titanium model's nineteen-inchers. … In other words, an Escape with a more powerful engine and larger tires should ride and handle similarly to one with a less powerful engine and smaller tires." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Braking is strong with an easy-to-modulate pedal." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We found the 2.0-liter Escape Titanium with its large 19-inch tires and additional 200 pounds of heft (thanks to the all-wheel drive) to be the smoother ride and better handler." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "If handling is a priority you can hardly do better in an affordable crossover." -- Jalopnik 
  • "The brakes on the SE were touchy on initial application at low speeds, but pedal stroke was still long, and they didn't feel particularly powerful." -- Inside Line
  • "Models riding on 19-inch wheels exhibit some impact harshness; we'd recommend the 17-inchers for those desiring a slightly more comfortable ride. No matter the wheel-and-tire package, though, there is excessive road noise on coarse road surfaces." -- Car and Driver

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