New Ford Escape: Price, Style and Competition

January 26th, 2012

2013 Ford Escape, left side view

Ford has announced tentative pricing for its 2013 Escape in four trim levels. Starting prices range from about $22,500 (depending on your zip code) for the base car to $36-37,000 for the Titanium, all fitted out with stuff you might love but don’t need.

A good description of what’s in each trim regarding engines, drivetrains and likely fuel economy is here. No more V6, and no more hybrid. Either the 1.6- or 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder will give you a choice of FWD or optional AWD.

Ford’s new design language (or a dialectical variant) continues the Focus look in this car, and I think it’s pretty bad. Not that the old Escape was a beauty—it was clunky and boxy, with absolutely no flair—but this car looks like a tarted-up CR-V that, like much of the competition, can’t decide whether it’s a crossover or a small SUV. The front end is a horror show.

It seems to be smaller inside than the former version, and Ford is gambling that this more carlike version will do better than the old hauler, which sold almost 2 million units and kept on selling well even in its last two years.

2013 Ford Escape, rear left viewAs to competition, why wouldn’t you go to Hyundai (the Santa Fe) or Kia (the Sportage) or even Toyota (the RAV4)—all of which have better styling and better pricing? Some, like the Sportage, have more power. Check out some great values in our for-sale listings.

Ford is touting the EcoBoost engine, which does give more power with greater fuel economy, but at the expense of turbo complexity and a (recommended) premium fuel requirement. The new Escape uses a bunch of recycled eco-friendly materials that will appeal to some.

The production strategy behind the Escape is Ford’s “world car” or “one-car” concept—it wants to build similar vehicles off one platform worldwide. These include the Focus, the upcoming C-Max, the Vertrek concept and the Kuga (in Europe). Up to 10 models will use this “C-family” platform.

That will certainly mean lower production costs for Ford. The danger is too great a similarity in product—kind of like rebadging on a grand scale. The company has tried world cars before and should know better than to let these new cars be simply clones.

But the C-Segment is a very competitive market, maybe the most competitive, and it will be interesting to see if the new Escape can meet or beat out its competitors.

Yes, I’m skeptical about the 2013 Escape. Do you think it can succeed—and if so, why?

—jgoods

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  1. Jim Redd
    | #1

    That picture looks squeezed. Photos I’ve seen of the new Escape aren’t quite so ‘stubby.’ I think it’s a really smart looking car and I think Ford will compete nicely against the likes of Honda and Toyota with it. However, getting into the mid to upper $30s is insane. Top level pricing should just hit $30K, not approach $40k!

  2. Justin Clarke
    | #2

    I agree with you Jim. The pricing is getting crazy. With that price range it looks like you will be paying 30k for the Escape with AWD the larger 2.0 and a XLT type trim that has many comforts but will be slim on the “nice to haves”. I think they restyling looks good and the Escape needed a freshening up. However, the rear tail light are not that fantastic, but it does tend to flow with the rest of the cars styling cues. I hope this does succeed. Ford did good with having the hybrid option and a V6 option. But, I do see where two variants of the ecoboost can get rid of the need for the V6, but maybe not so much with the Hybrid.

  3. Randy
    | #3

    I really like the rear 3/4 view of the Escape. However, I think Ford’s making a mistake with extending the Cylon front end styling to this vehicle. Chevy’s turned virtually all their vehicles into Malibu look alikes, and when people get tired of the look (and they will) then sales will bomb. Ford also seems to consistently price their vehicles higher than the competition, and although I’ve often priced them, I’ve never bought one because I didn’t think it was a good value.

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