With its small SUV design and well-engineered suspension, the Ford Escape makes for a great all-around driver, but the Sync 3 infotainment system takes it beyond the ordinary.
With a length just under 15 feet, the Escape is Ford's smallest SUV in the US.
It received a major update in the 2013 model year, shedding traditional SUV looks for a more modern appearance, and converging with the European Kuga model.
Ford offers the Escape with three engine choices, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the last of which is pictured here.
With its 2-liter engine option, the Escape gets 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, more than most cars in the segment.
The Escape is a front-wheel-drive platform but is also available with all-wheel drive.
Although a fixed suspension, the Escape exhibits excellent ride quality.
A panoramic sunroof is available, although that option is not included here.
At upper trim levels, a powered liftgate can be operated with the key fob, or hands-free by kicking under the rear bumper.
Leather, power adjustable seats add to the comfort.
The rear seats fold down to maximize the cargo area.
With the rear seats folded down, the Escape boasts 67.8 cubic feet of cargo area.
Ford's dashboard design includes a big pod for vents and electronics in the center.
The new Sync 3 infotainment system replaces the prior MyFord Touch system, with a huge improvement in responsiveness and app compatibility.
Electric power steering in the Escape is quick and responsive.
Among the analog gauges, Ford includes a small LCD on the instrument cluster.
The six-speed automatic transmission includes sport and manual modes.
The backup camera shows trajectory and distance lines.
The new Sync 3 system includes a home screen with navigation, phone and audio, along with a persistent menu bar across the bottom.
Maps include 3D-rendered buildings in some cities.
Route guidance offers useful graphics to show upcoming turns.
The destination screen includes saved positions for home and work, which automatically show the time to those locations.
You can search for addresses or businesses from this one screen.
Search results come up quickly, although this system lacks online destination search.
Ford shows all of its audio sources, including apps, on one screen.
HD radio includes multiple channels from a single station.
The audio playback screen uses a similar format for apps and local media.
The music library screen lets you select music from devices plugged into the car's USB ports.
All of the active apps can be found on one screen.
Spotify uses a similarly formatted screen for current tracks as onboard media sources.
The Spotify submenu lets you search for artists and view your favorites.
The hands-free phone screen is simple to use, and lets you browse your phone's contact list.
Ford includes Sirius Travel Link, with data sources, such as fuel prices, brought in through satellite radio.
With Sync 3, Ford adds an excellent infotainment system to an already great car.