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2013 Ford Escape

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

178.100” x 66.300”


Front-wheel drive



The good:

  • Improved interior quality
  • Projected mpg increase
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Automated parking option
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Instrument panel

The bad:

  • Cheap-looking plastic along wheel arches
  • Many unlabeled buttons on base model
  • MyFord Touch option is controversial
  • High center console

5 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2013 Ford Escape trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best SUVs for 2024

Notable features

  • Escape's first full redesign
  • Seats five
  • Choice of three engines
  • Six-speed automatic
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Progressive styling

2013 Ford Escape review: Our expert's take

By David Thomas

Ford has released a series of good-looking cars with excellent mileage lately. But whether it’s the too-cramped Fiesta interior or the sluggish transmission on the Focus, these otherwise spectacular mainstream vehicles have had a few serious flaws.

The redesigned 2013 Escape is different: No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find anything significantly wrong with it.

A duo of new turbo engines offer better performance than the competition, the interior is roomy and comfortable, high-tech gadgetry works well, and it even looks cool. All of this comes with a premium price in a competitive segment.

If you’re OK with the price of admission, the new Ford Escape is ready for you, and you won’t be disappointed.

It comes in four trims: base S, SE, SEL and Titanium. See the 2012 and redesigned 2013 Escapes compared here.

At the heart of the Ford Escape’s success are three engine choices, all offering 30 mpg or better on the highway, according to Ford estimates.

The just-right engine choice is the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with estimated fuel economy of 23/33 mpg city/highway. That’s just slightly better than the 23/31 mpg in the Honda CR-V and 22/32 mpg in the Chevy Equinox. Mazda’s new CX-5 bests the class at 26/35 mpg but with significantly less power.

The mileage figures will draw people in, and the little engine offers little turbo eccentricities. Acceleration is smooth as you move through the gears with the six-speed automatic transmission. Passing power isn’t robust despite figures of 178 horsepower and 183 pounds-feet of torque, but there isn’t the same straining that you’d feel in the similarly powered CR-V and Equinox with four-cylinders. They don’t have turbos.

The larger turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is supposed to be the 2012 Escape’s V-6 replacement. I tested it previously in the much larger and heavier Ford Edge SUV and thought it offered a V-6-like smoothness there; it was similar to what the 1.6-liter exhibited in the smaller Ford Escape. Perhaps all the added power — 240 hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque — would mean the Escape would be a hot little performer — similar to Kia’s turbocharged Sportage.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

The 2.0-liter was smooth. No consumer is going to complain about this. It’s what you want when you’re taking a highway on-ramp or passing at speed. If you like to launch from a stoplight or gun the engine for a burst of speed on demand, it doesn’t deliver.

The 2.0-liter is a noticeable step up from the 1.6-liter because you don’t experience the limited straining the smaller engine faces going up hills and during hard acceleration at top speeds, but I doubt most buyers will consider moving up to the larger engine. There isn’t enough of a performance gain to warrant the extra cost. However, estimated mileage for the 2.0 is excellent at 22/30 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Ford calls all of its turbo engines EcoBoost, a marketing term to be sure. Shoppers should understand that the term doesn’t mean anything more than the model they are looking at features a traditional turbocharged engine — not a hybrid or some other fuel-saving technology.

Without driving the 2.5-liter base engine — a carryover from the previous generation — it’s hard to say what that will deliver. It was coarse before, but Ford has revised it to get considerably better mileage. It’s estimated to get 30 mpg on the highway versus the outgoing engine’s 28 mpg.

While power is usually the first performance factor that shoppers focus on, the Escape excels in the steering and handling department, too. Ford wanted the new crossover to be sporty in nature, and it’s about as sporty as you can expect in this class. The meaty steering wheel requires a slightly above-average amount of effort to turn, but there’s a nice springiness as it returns to center and, like the engine, every turn felt smooth. There’s that word again.

For some reason, Ford mapped out a test-drive route of more than 100 miles with a majority of them taking us through some of the twistiest roads in Northern California. These roads showed off how well the car handled, but it’s unlikely many consumers will pilot roads like this on more than a rare occasion. The 17-inch wheels on the front-wheel-drive 1.6-liter version squealed a bit through tight turns, but the Escape feels incredibly solid, a trait I’ve noticed in even Ford’s smallest car, the Fiesta.

The Ford Escape’s ride is a pleasant mix of firmness — to help with the handling chops and because of the rigid chassis — and damped road imperfections. There were many stretches of road with strings of potholes, which reminded me of my sweet home Chicago, and the Escape covered them without bucking passengers or sending sharp jolts.

Perhaps the one flaw in the performance department is the road noise. Over various surfaces, from concrete highways to aging pavement, my co-driver and I both thought the Escape was a bit noisier than the competition, especially the new CR-V and Equinox. It’s not a glaring problem and it certainly isn’t as raucous as the Sportage or Hyundai Tucson, but it’s something to pay attention to on a test drive.

If the exterior paints the Ford Escape as a sleek, futuristic SUV, the interior conjures images of a sports-car cockpit. Ford has done this before with the Fiesta, Focus and even the Taurus, but all three sacrifice some comfort to deliver that atmosphere. The center console in those cars is so wide that your right knee sits uncomfortably close to it. They just feel cramped.

Not so in the Escape. I adjusted my seat and the standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel quickly and felt comfortable with plenty of headroom, dispelling my fears of claustrophobia. Shoulder room is 56 inches and hip room is 54.8 inches. Both compare favorably to what I find to be spacious: the CR-V’s 58.6 and 54.5 inches, and the Equinox’s 55.8 and 54.6 inches, respectively.

Even better, when I hopped in the backseat directly behind my adjusted driver’s seat position, my knees had inches of space in front of them. At 36.8 inches of legroom, the Escape trails the CR-V’s 38.3, but by referencing photos of both to check my memory, the Escape shows more room for my knees than the Honda. The Equinox has 39.9 inches of rear legroom but that’s due to an adjustable second row that can slide backward and forward. Both the Escape and CR-V have a fixed second row.

The cloth seats in the SE tester were incredibly comfortable after nearly 90 minutes of seat time. The leather buckets in the Titanium trim we piloted for the second half of the day felt a tad firm for my partner, but I thought they were more than acceptable for the amount of time we had been driving.

Driver and passengers will find the exceptionally well-fitted cabin adorned with fewer buttons that are more simply laid out than other recent Fords. Both test vehicles were equipped with MyFord Touch and navigation systems, which add a large 8-inch touch-screen in the center of the dashboard.

We have discussed — seemingly endlessly — some of the flaws of this system, but perhaps familiarity breeds some sort of satisfaction. During our trip, with the map screen in use most of the time, it proved to be on par with the competition in clarity and speed between screens. I found using the Home button on the steering wheel to be an aggravation saver, bringing up the familiar screen with four quadrants of info in much larger type than in past versions.

Buttons — whether they turn up the vent speed or lower the windows — feel great to the touch, but they’re a bit on the small side for my taste. It’s a minor complaint that most shoppers likely won’t notice unless their digits are on the large side.

Cargo and towing
A major selling point of any crossover, SUV, wagon, minivan or other utility vehicle is cargo capacity. In small crossovers, you want a fair amount of space and the second-row seats to be easy to fold. The Ford Escape delivers on both.

The outgoing model’s two-step folding seats have been replaced with an easy-to-use single-step process. Flip a lever at the bottom of either side of the rear seats and they flip forward quickly. Returning the seats upright is a little more troublesome. There’s still one lever to pull, but it takes significant strength to push them back up. The fully extended cargo floor is flat, with a piece of material to cover the gap at the bottom of the seatbacks. This should make loading large cargo hassle-free.

The low cargo floor height also helps. At just above my knee, the cargo floor is easily accessible. That means heaving heavy objects will require less effort as will letting your canine companions in and out of the cargo area.

At 34.3 cubic feet with the second row in place and 68.1 cubic feet with the rear seats down, the Escape is again very competitive in the class. The CR-V is rated at 37.2 and 70.9 cubic feet; the Equinox at 31.5 and 63.7, and Mazda’s new CX-5 at 34.1 and 64.8. The surprisingly huge Toyota RAV4 still leads at 36.4 and 73.

No matter the numbers, there should be ample cargo room for shoppers in this class, and the ease of use is a big win.

Ford made cargo access even easier with an optional power liftgate. Not only can the gate open with a key fob button or release of the latch, but also it has a new feature: kick your foot at the air under the rear bumper and the liftgate will open. Supposedly, this is great for people with lots of groceries in their hands who are unable to reach a fob or the latch. I can imagine myself loaded with goods kicking out my foot … and falling on my rump. My yoga-class-attending wife, who saw the feature on a reality TV show promotion, thought it was the greatest idea she’d seen in some time. What do I know?

Towing isn’t a top priority for most shoppers in this class, but Ford says current Escape owners wanted some capability. They will have to opt for the 2.0-liter model with an optional tow package to trailer 3,500 pounds. That’s identical to the V-6 Equinox.

Features and pricing
When you review a lot of cars, you deal with a lot of numbers, but the most important numbers to any shopper always have dollar signs in front of them. Ford has delivered a terrific vehicle in the Escape, and the base S model with the 2.5-liter engine comes with a competitive starting price of $22,470 before destination charges of $825.

The standard features are enough to get by on and include a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, six-speaker stereo and 17-inch steel wheels with plastic covers. Most important is a standard six-speed automatic transmission. This slate of features isn’t as competitive as those found on the Honda’s CR-V LX that costs $22,495 and has a more efficient engine. The CR-V comes with Bluetooth connectivity, USB input, a backup camera and steering-wheel controls at that price.

The Ford Escape SE starts at $25,070 and adds a significant amount of features and the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. It’s what you get if you want fog lamps, Ford’s Sync system, MyFord system with a 4-inch screen, body-colored door handles and mirrors, a rear-center armrest, automatic headlights, a chrome-accented grille, Sirius Satellite Radio, steering-wheel audio controls and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Move up to the SEL trim at $27,870 and the speaker count goes up to nine; there are more chrome accents outside and the shift knob and steering wheel are wrapped in leather. It also adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, puddle lamps, MyFord Touch, power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, universal garage door opener and 18-inch wheels. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is an additional $1,095 on both the SE and SEL.

The top-of-the-line Titanium trim comes only with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine at $30,370. It adds HD radio, passive entry and push-button start, remote start, premium leather seats, tonneau cover, roof rails, high-intensity-discharge headlights, a power liftgate, reverse sensing system, Sony stereo system and 19-inch wheels.

All of these prices are for front-wheel-drive models. All-wheel drive adds $1,750 for the 1.6- and 2.0-liter SE and SEL as well as the 2.0 Titanium.

Our front-wheel-drive 1.6 SE tester cost $29,015 and came with options like a large panoramic sunroof — not really a necessity — power liftgate and the MyFord Touch system with navigation. Getting that close to $30,000 for a four-cylinder crossover seemed high to me considering that the CR-V tops out at $28,745 with front-wheel drive. However, the four-cylinder Equinox can climb to $33,960. A fully loaded Ford Escape SEL with the 1.6-liter engine and front-wheel drive comes to $32,950 with add-ons similar to the Equinox but with the larger panoramic roof and kick feature on the tailgate.

The Ford Escape is too new to have been crash-tested by either the federal government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

It comes standard with the usual assortment of airbags as well as driver’s knee airbag.

Optional safety equipment includes blind spot warning system as well as cross-traffic alert that senses traffic passing behind you like in a mall parking lot. A forward collision system and backup camera are optional.

Escape in the market
Ford continues its winning ways in the styling department. The attractive package should help bring in both Escape loyalists and folks driving the competition. There isn’t much competition that can top the mileage, performance, comfort or interior size, either.

Like most buying decisions, the Ford Escape’s success may likely come down to the sticker price.

Send David an email  


Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior 4.1
  • Performance 4.1
  • Value 3.8
  • Exterior 4.4
  • Reliability 3.8
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews


Driver's seat Causes Injury

I had this car for about 2 years before replacing it, and I was happy to see it go. It's a cute car with decent horsepower, but other than that, I mostly have bad things to report. There are several negative things I could say about this car, but the reason I'm writing the review is to warn others that the driver's seat can cause certain people severely painful spinal/tailbone damage. I know two other Escape owners this has happened to, so it's not just me! There's some sort of a metal piece deep in the seat that you can't really feel noticeably, but it irritates your tailbone while driving. One of the first days I did a significant amount of driving in it, I was in such pain I almost had to go to the doctor. I could barely walk! And this is NOT a normal, "I'm a little sore because I drove a lot" pain. This is serious, scary pain. The only way I was able to continue driving this car was with a thick pillow placed on the seat. I once spent 13 hours sitting on a rusted metal bench on a 3rd class train in Thailand, and I didn't have the pain the seat in the 2013 Escape caused me. A car shouldn't cause its driver bodily harm. On top of that, this car is also a pain in the butt to use in a variety of other ways. The dashboard is NOT intuitive and it was a massive difficulty trying to figure out something as simple as playing my mp3 player. Zillions of confusing menus, no help from the manual...AND as if that wasn't enough, this car repeatedly had coolant leaks the entire time I had it. I'd fix a coolant leak (not cheap) and a few weeks to a few months later, the "low coolant" light would ding on again. Drove me MAD! I'm so happy to have sold this hunk of metal and replaced it with a Honda. Don't buy this car unless you're a masochist who enjoys suffering.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 1.0
  • Interior 1.0
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Exterior 4.0
  • Reliability 2.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Having fun
  • Does not recommend this car
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful. Did you?
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Speedy lil SUV

Very reliable, 2.0 ecoboost will fly. It’s too fast at times and tires slip. FWD not AWD. Holds up well. Good little SUV. Comfortable seats.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior 4.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 4.0
  • Exterior 4.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does recommend this car
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful. Did you?
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Ford Escape

Has 17 recalls , I have 15 of them that happened to my vehicle, called Ford and they said there is nothing they can do , I don’t feel safe driving this car anymore

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 1.0
  • Interior 1.0
  • Performance 1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Exterior 1.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Transporting family
  • Does not recommend this car
23 people out of 23 found this review helpful. Did you?
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See all 478 consumer reviews


Based on the 2013 Ford Escape base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
Combined side rating rear seat
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
Overall rating
Overall side crash rating
Risk of rollover
Rollover rating
Side barrier rating
Side barrier rating driver
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
Side pole rating driver front seat


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Ford Blue Advantage Blue
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles
Hybrid electric
96 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Fords and many non-Ford vehicles up to 10 years old with less than 150,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
90-Day/4,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty
Dealer certification required
139-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

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