KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

Whereas the outgoing Escape was the rugged SUV of the compact crossover set (in appearance, anyway), the all-new 2013 Ford Escape is one of the category’s sleekest and sportiest entries. Offering more fun-to-driveness than most buyers will tap, the new Escape also features the coolest set of technologies in the class.

You'll Like The 2013 Ford Escape If...

Standout stylingExcellent fuel economyGood technology packageSporty handling

You May Not Like The 2013 Ford Escape If...

Not as roomy as some rivalsNo V6No hybrid model

What's New

Totally revamped for 2013Hands-free power liftgate (operated by a foot wave)

Interior Features

The inside of the 2013 Ford Escape boasts such an impressive collection of materials, design and available features that it can feel a class above. Don’t try to pass it off as a mid-size SUV, though, because the Escape’s interior is among the category’s smaller cabins.

Exterior Features

The compact SUV segment is definitely developing a greater sense of style, and the 2013 Ford Escape furthers the trend. Exterior highlights that distinguish upper-tier Escape models include HID headlamps, fog lights, body-color mirrors and trim, dual chrome exhaust tips and big 19-inch wheels (which will eventually need to be re-wrapped in expensive 19-inch tires).

Driving Impressions

The new Ford Escape is the sporty compact car of compact SUVs – a title it shares with the new Mazda CX-5. Ford’s recent cars have impressed with European-like driving dynamics and feel, and the new Escape continues the trend. When outfitted with the 240-horsepower engine, there’s not a competitor that could keep up. Fortunately, the characteristics that contribute to the high fun-factor also help make the Escape a pleasure to drive to the store and the office. The 1.6- and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines are terrific, both delivering smooth, ready power around town, effortless cruising on the highway and – especially the 2.0 engine – plenty of passing power. It isn’t the softest-riding entry in the segment, but most will find it perfectly comfortable. The 2013 Ford Escape is arguably the best-driving compact SUV out there, but the styling, technology and fuel economy are what really set it apart.

Pricing Notes

The 2013 Ford Escape S starts at $23,295, but that’s with the least desirable of its three engine choices, black plastic exterior trim and covered steel wheels. Stepping up to the Escape SE remedies those shortcomings and adds things like Sync infotainment, but now you’re at $25,895 and two to three thousand higher than the better-outfitted Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 base models. At the other end of the price spectrum, a fully loaded Escape Titanium will top out at more than $37,000. While that’s almost $7,000 more than a loaded CR-V, it also includes a lot more power and technology. Looking down the road, we expect the new Escape to perform significantly better than its predecessor in the resale market. In other words, you’ll get more of your money back when it comes time to trade or sell.

Notable Equipment

At its base price of $23,295, the 2013 Ford Escape S features a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/Aux sound system, air conditioning, steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, the parent-friendly MyKey system, and a full complement of airbags and electronic safety features. Base model compromises include covered steel wheels and black plastic exterior trim elements.

Notable Options

A fully loaded 2013 Ford Escape Titanium can reach all the way past $37,000, but with enough cool features to embarrass many luxury cars. In addition to a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 4-wheel drive, leather seats and a panoramic moonroof, a top-tier Escape offers blind-spot warning, automatic parallel parking, an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, Sync with MyFord Touch, and a liftgate that opens with a wave of your foot. You could get the new Acura RDX for the same money, but you wouldn’t have as many cool features to play with.

Favorite Features

HANDS-FREE LIFTGATEWhen your hands are full of shopping bags, furniture or man things, you can just wave your foot under the rear bumper and the liftgate opens automatically. It’s Escape sign language for "open sesame."MYKEYFor teen drivers who always wanted a Big Brother, MyKey lets parents designate a key that will limit top speed, limit audio volume or even disable the audio system altogether until the seatbelts are buckled.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Ford Escape is the only compact SUV with a choice of three engines. It would be easier to recommend the excellent 240-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine if the 178-horsepower 1.6-liter version weren’t more affordable, more efficient, just as smooth, and still plenty powerful for most. The base 2.5-liter engine is probably just fine – we haven’t driven the latest iteration – but we’d buy a different compact SUV before buying the base Escape S with which that engine is paired. All three engines are paired with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, driving either the front wheels (FWD) or all four (4WD). If you want 4WD you’ll have to choose one of the EcoBoost engines. And if you want the Escape’s full towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, you’re into the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine (and the towing package eliminates the hands-free liftgate option).2.5-liter 4-cylinder168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpmEPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/311.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder178 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpmEPA estimated city/highway mpg: 23/33 (FWD), 22/30 (AWD)2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder240 @ 5,500 rpm270 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpmEPA estimated city/highway mpg: 22/30 (FWD), 21/28 (AWD)

Editors' Notes

All-new and totally rethought for 2013, Ford’s compact crossover SUV is now one of the segment’s style leaders, a fuel-efficiency expert and a total tech geek. Highlights include a choice of impressive engines, athletic suspension tuning and an updated version of the MyFord Touch infotainment system. But the first feature buyers will want to show their friends is a power liftgate they can open and close by waving a foot under the rear bumper. Compact SUV shoppers looking for maximum affordability or roominess will want to look elsewhere, but the 2013 Ford Escape is as a must-see for everyone else.

Road Test Video Reviews

2013 Ford Escape Owner Reviews

712 Reviews
46% 37% 13% 3% 1%
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My review title would be likes and dislikes of a 2013 Ford Escape.

2013 Ford Escape

My vehicle has the power I need and want and it runs smoothly. I like the idea of Bluetooth, but it does not have the backup camera. I would love to have the backup camera but my vehicle is small enough that I have no problem parking between two vehicles. If someone pulls too close, it is small enough to pull it out without trouble. It is easy on gas but it has a small gas tank and it seems like I have to fill up a lot, but I love my vehicle. It tells me if I have a low tire, but not which tire. It tells me when it is time to change my oil and I like that reminder. My vehicle has the heated seats which for the most part I do not use, but my daughter does because it helps her back. I would have liked to have had cloth seats. The leather seats can be uncomfortable when I wear shorts in the summer so I use a towel on the seat. I like how the dimmer switch is on the steering column so that I can use it conveniently. I like the features of my vehicle. My vehicle is not too big nor too small. I dislike the size of the tires. The tires are 18" and of course they cost more, but it handles nicely. The features that come in my vehicle are just right for me. My car was bought used so that I did not have the option of picking what I wanted, but am satisfied with what I have.

- Donna H

2013 ford escape: good enough if you can fix it.

2013 Ford Escape SE

The acceleration of our particular ford I'd rate as very good for an SUV and with over 120,000 miles we haven't had any major engine or transmission problems. We usually stick with the oil change schedule and top off other fluids as needed. The ride is very comfortable and you probably wouldn't feel a difference between going 70 to up around 85 miles per hour. The reliability has been pretty good too, which is essentially the only reason we still have it. The problems around the car mainly have to do with servicing the vehicle. The battery is almost impossible to get to and we had to totally replace the lugs on every tire due to a design flaw that ford will not take responsibility for. Once one of our seat belt receptacles was destroyed when we pushed the seats to their stowaway position but we didn't use that seat anyway. The undercarriage guard also falls completely off in every ford escape we have owned. Expect a lot of out of pocket costs for these types of small fixes and trim replacement.

- Rafael J

Wonderful car but could be better.

2013 Ford Escape Titanium

I very much like this vehicle. It has taken us from Seattle to Houston and Houston to Chicago. That in and of itself is amazing. We never had a problem during any of those road trips. I give this car a 4/5. I would have given it a 5 out of 5 but there are a few things that could be better. For example, if it had better storage up front. The middle console is so small and the side compartments in the door are also very small. Similar vehicles I have been in from same time frame have better storage. One 'feature' I don't like is that if the key is near the door it will auto open, which sounds convenient unless you are in the car with the key and want the doors to be locked while parked. They do auto lock while the car is moving. This can be unsafe for those who are more targeted by thieves. The car runs wonderful and has a lot of great features though. I especially love the kick feature for the back hatch to open when hands are full. The heated seats are wonderful.

- Amanda B

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