There are plenty of liquids that, on a per gallon basis, cost more than gasoline.
Dump a gallon of ice cream, cologne, mildew remover or hydrogen peroxide into the tank of a vehicle and see how far you get. Besides, all of those things cost way more by the gallon than gasoline does.
And, aside from the hydrogen peroxide or cologne, neither will get the opposite sex to look twice at you.
Gasoline is a worthwhile investment.
A few gallons in your vehicle can get you to work to earn money to travel to a store to buy cologne or hydrogen peroxide to dye your hair blond. Then you can attract the opposite sex and enjoy yourself between work weeks.
See? Gasoline and cars. Perfect together.
But most of us lack the financial resources of Donald Trump, let alone Donald Trump's chauffeur. So, calculating how much we spend for gasoline in a new vehicle is essential in this era of ever-escalating gas prices.
Because one out of every two new-vehicle buyers buys a truck, it's time to consider smaller SUVs like the Ford Escape.
The Ford Escape is the best-seller in its class of small SUVs, and Ford is trying to maintain its lead by spiffing things up for 2005.
Of course, if you need to impress, you need new threads. This the Escape has.
Exterior changes include new front and rear fascias along with a new grille and revised headlamps. There also are new aluminum wheels to choose from, in case you need some bling. Overall, it certainly updates the Escape's look, improving its already handsome demeanor.
Inside, the changes are somewhat more dramatic. A new center console now houses the transmission lever, which was previously column-mounted. The console also benefits from larger cup holders, additional storage and a 12-volt power point. Seating has been revised, with Ford claiming that comfort has been improved.
While the new interior decor is welcome, the seat bottoms are shallow and the seat backs lacking in lower back support. At least the back seat is now a 60/40 split-folding seat - another improvement for 2005.
Ford was gracious enough to lend a brand pking new Escape XLS for testing, equipped with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder motor. It replaces the 2-liter four. That's the base Escape, at the bottom of a food chain that includes the XLT (which gets a 3-liter V-6), XLT Sport (same as the previous model but with sporting accoutrements), XLT No Boundaries (ditto the XLT but with outdoor-oriented trim and a skid plate), and the Limited (the full-zoot model).
All trim levels are available with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.
Our test vehicle was a front-driver. The XLS is the only Escape that can be had with a manual transmission. Ours had an automatic, which may seem like it might sentence any driver to life in the right lane, but that wasn't the case.
The 2.3-liter produces 153 horsepower, a 26 horsepower boost over the old 2-liter four. Combined with transmission improvements, it gave the Escape a surprising amount of mid-range punch. There was an occasional clunk when downshifting, but overall, the drivetrain felt refined and responsive for a large four. Thankfully, the motor employs a balance shaft, which quells vibration and helps hide the fact that this is merely a four-cylinder mill.
What's more, the Escape is among the best handling of the small SUVs. Steering is gratifyingly quick. The ride is extremely firm, but the result is good road feel. Body lean is well-controlled for cut and thrust driving. This was proven as I piloted the Escape down Chicago's notorious I-290. The Escape was perfect for braking when drivers cut one short, while equally adept at returning the favor.
A couple of complaints. Some of the interior materials seemed to be of lower quality. While not as bad as in previous models, it is still noticeable. Secondly, the audio system sound was, to put it kindly, mediocre. Finally, more sound deadening would help silence the road and tire noise.
The flip side to all this is good fuel economy and a very reasonable price tag.
The Escape let us escape trips to the gas pump, returning 21.5 mpg. In addition, the nicely loaded test vehicle, with keyless entry, power windows/locks/mirrors, a CD player, alarm, side air-bags and aluminum wheels came in under 22 big ones.
That leaves enough room to buy a few more gallons of hydrogen peroxide or cologne.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||November 12, 2004|
|Jim Flammang||Cars.com National||November 5, 2004|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||December 15, 2004|
|Larry Printz||The Morning Call and Mcall.com||November 7, 2004|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||November 6, 2004|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||July 18, 2004|
|Anita And Paul Lienert||The Detroit News||June 30, 2004|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||June 20, 2004|
|Bob Golfen||AZCentral.com||May 22, 2004|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||October 10, 2003|
|Jason Stein||February 6, 2005|
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