I had the opportunity to drive a 2014 Ford Escape this past week as a rental car. Overall, I would say it was a positive experience, and if we were in the market for another vehicle, I think this would be on the short list of vehicles to consider.
One of the first considerations for me is room: does this vehicle have enough room for me and my family? And do I feel cramped or crowded in the vehicle, or am I comfortable? I would definitely say that I felt comfortable and had plenty of room in the Escape. I was able to push the seat back far enough to give me comfortable room in the driver’s seat, yet I had an adult ride behind me in the back seat, and they had plenty of leg room for themselves. Also, I didn’t feel cramped getting in and out of the car, as can sometimes happen on smaller vehicles, and I didn’t feel cramped from side to side.
Yes, I am a tech nerd, but in a car, I think the technology really has to make sense. Technology has to serve a useful function, and I think Ford has found a good balance. The Microsoft Sync technology worked quite well with my iPhone, and even though I didn’t take advantage of all of the features (because it was just a rental car), I found that I missed the features once I turned the car back in. I loved the USB plug that allowed me to charge my phone while also connecting it to the vehicle’s sound system. I loved the Bluetooth connection for phone calls, and the voice-activated controls which made it easy to keep my eyes on the road.
As a guy who is now driving his second Chevrolet Avalanche (which I love, because why else would I now own a second one?), I do have an interest in fuel efficiency, and I think the Ford Escape does well here. Ford estimates that the Escape will get 22 MPG on the road and 31 MPG on the highway, and I would say that I at least saw those results, if not better. So imagine my joy at finding a vehicle with plenty of room and good technology that also gets good gas mileage.
I put this under the heading of safety, but my issue is with one specific feature that was missing on the vehicle that I drove — a backup camera. I’ve had a backup camera as a feature on a couple of our vehicles now, and I would definitely put it at the “necessity” level on bigger vehicles. Perhaps Ford offers this as an additional feature, but I was surprised that with all the other technology offered on the version I drove that a backup camera wasn’t also included.
While fuel efficiency was excellent, I was disappointed in the fuel capacity. The Ford Escape is listed as having a 15-gallon tank, but I found that if I filled the tank after receiving the Empty warning, I was putting in only about 11 gallons. It just seems odd to me that I would get an Empty warning, and notice of fewer than 50 miles remaining, when I should actually have 4 gallons left in the tank, which should equate to 88-124 miles of driving still available. Now I’m trying to bear in mind that I’m used to a 31-gallon tank on my Avalanche, but it still didn’t seem to add up.
As an example, I’ve had to make a few trips recently to Indianapolis. In my Avalanche, I can drive from my home in Flint, Michigan to Indianapolis and back almost to Lansing, Michigan on one tank of gas. That’s roughly 540 miles, so assuming I put in 28 gallons, that’s just over 19 MPG in the Avalanche. Granted, that tank of gas would cost $98 at $3.50 per gallon.
In the Escape, I could only drive from my home in Flint, Michigan to Fort Wayne, Indiana before having to refuel. That’s roughly 200 miles, so assuming I put in 11 gallons, that’s only 18 MPG in the Escape. I still can’t figure out what was going on. I filled up the tank before leaving the Flint area, drove to Fort Wayne, and put in 11 gallons.
However, I was able to drive from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis and back to Angola, Indiana, and put in another 11 gallons. That trip from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis and back to Angola is roughly 300 miles, so if I put in 11 gallons, that would be 27 MPG, which is better than the previous tank, and more in line with what I expect. Still, to be limited to 300 miles on a tank of gas seems like an awful lot of stopping on a long-distance trip.
To summarize, it was a good driving experience, and I would have no reservations about buying a Ford Escape, but I’d like to see them put a little bigger gas tank, even if it just goes to an 18-gallon tank.