My wife felt that it was time to replace my Jeep Wrangler with something more "practical", so I got a (used 2013) Ford Escape Titanium. Mission Accomplished? Drivetrain: My Ford has the 2.0 Liter Turbo. At low RPMs it pulls very well for a 4 cylinder. When you crush the (over sensitive) throttle it makes the front tires chirp and squirm while making wonderful noises. Perfect for humiliating kids with slammed Integras, if you are into that. Definitely get the 2 liter unless something is more important to you than fun. The 6 speed auto-shifter is quick and clever, has a good pushbutton shift mode, and so well integrated that I'm almost fine with not having a stick. Handling: This car drives like a Focus' older, slightly softer brother. This puts it well ahead of most compact cars. Steering is precise, cornering is flat, brakes are fine. The handling limits are clearly further out than I am willing to push. Summary: Can you fetch groceries? Take 2 people and a month's worth of camping stuff across the country? Get 30 MPG highway with good behavior? Sure, it does that stuff. But it does everything with such.. infectious enthusiasm that the errands seem less important than the drive. This car is a Hoot!
Exterior: The exterior is very modern in a euro sort of way, leaning in the direction of "too much". Mine has a metalflake green color called "ginger-ale". It was on the dealer's the lot next to an ordinary blue Escape that I was also interested in and the paint sort of made the choice for me. I have seen other metalflake colors, and they are definitely worth checking out. Interior: The interior has a tasteful design with a lot of surface variations and soft surfaces. Whilst we were shopping we looked at a number of compact cars and CUVs and the Escape is clearly above average for that class. As a direct comparison, the interior is much classier than a friend's CR-V of similar vintage. Whether it rises to the level of "Titanium", whatever that means, I can't say. Certainly, you won't be mistaking it for a BMW. Seats: The multi-way power leather seats have nice bolstering, and are very ccmfortable at least up to 6'2" and 200lb (the largest passenger I have carried so far). If you are more the 90th percentile type you will want to give them a good try before buying. There is plenty of space in the cabin for larger, cushier seats and maybe Ford fits them in other models? Climate: I have to call out the A/C in this car. It works ok, but does not have the sheer power that you may associate with American cars. Also, maybe due to the cozy cabin, distribution of cold air from the vents is not terrific. Visibility: Visibility is very good forward, the hood drops away like a VW, and the top of the windshield does not intrude. Visibility is also good to the sides except where the low and annoying "A" pillars are. View to the rear is less good, and the backup camera is appreciated. Going back to Honda comparisons - kudos to Honda for mostly keeping large windows in their designs. Noise: From the outside, the turbo engine (direct injected) is a pretty noisy beast, but the sounds that Ford allows inside are muted (or quietly sporty when pushed). Other wind and road noise is well controlled. Interior noise compares very well with other small cars I have driven, and presents more like larger, fancier vehicles.
Gadgets: On the electronics and gadgets front, things are mixed. For (reasons) the Titanium has lots of gadgets. For example, there are four different ways to activate the electric locks. As another example (if you haven't seen this) you can open the tailgate by sticking your foot under the rear bumper while carrying the key fob. These gadgets rely on a host of sensors, touch, sonar, visual, radar (who knows?) but the thing to know is that some of it (including the important stuff) works great; and some of it (like the tailgate thing) lives in the land between flaky and utterly random. If this was a Honda, I would be disappointed. But come on, I bought a used Ford! So I'm just amused, though I do wonder if the first owner felt the same way. He probably paid a bit more than I did. Audio: The audio is good enough for a car, and will play pretty loud. Your taste may vary, so try before you buy. It plays fine from a phone (either kind) or a flash drive stuck in one of the USB slots. Ford Touch: From the reviews, and my low opinion of Microsoft, I expected My Ford Touch to be a mess. And yet, I considered only Escapes that had it (so now you know about me). In the event, the current release of the software has been solid. I think I can compare it fairly to an Android phone. To be sure, the UI is not pretty, and sometimes shows some weird lack of thought, but it runs reliably and I'm generally quite content. The navigation works, but is not nearly as pleasant as the software on my phone (Navigon). Summary: Like driving the car, the electronics are also a Hoot!