Escaping Winter With a 2018 Ford Escape March 27, 2018 · 11 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
Although I try my best to embrace winter, this winter has been difficult. First it was extremely cold for weeks on end, and then we have been hit by blizzard after blizzard. My Dodge Avenger handles snow about as good as Spiderman handles Thanos, so I've had my fair share of snow-bank sleepovers, tow truck pickups and early morning public transit excursions. I don't mind the snow, but I mind it when it gets in the way of my car.
When I was asked to test drive a 2018 Ford Escape Titamium, I was relieved to give my little Dodge a break. The weather forecast predicted the "storm of the year" to be approaching, so it gave me the chance to see how a new vehicle handles storms compared to my current one, and maybe actually not get snowed in for the weekend.
If I was to compare last year's Ford Explorer to this year's Ford Escape, the biggest difference would be the size. The Explorer was large and bulky, and I felt like I was driving a Megazord. The Escape is a little smaller, a little more compact and a lot friendlier. I can sneak around vehicles more easily, instead of sitting behind cars like a giant, red mammoth waiting for them to move.
Another difference would be the colour. The Explorer was red, while the Escape was blue. I felt other vehicles were a lot less aggressive to drive around when I drove the Escape. When I drove the Explorer, I felt vehicles gave me a wider berth. Maybe it was something subconscious, but I felt less intimidating in the Escape.
Handling the Elements
When the "storm of the year" finally arrived, it wasn't that bad. Perhaps it was because I was driving a vehicle made for winter conditions (unlike my car), but it might have also been because the storm was more puff than snow. I drove around the city a bit and then decided to hit the highway, even though the RCMP had recommended no highway driving due to jackknifed semis and multi car collisions. Because of this, I only went about 5 minutes outside the city and pulled off into a gravel road before turning back.
The Escape handled the ice-covered streets flawlessly and wasn't bothered at all by the hurricane force winds. Only once did I feel a minor tug from the wheels as I plowed through an adolescent snow drift, but it was nothing compared to what my Dodge would have done (it probably would have gotten stuck).
I was very impressed by how it handled the snow and ice, so after a few days of warming, I decided to take it for another test. Once the highways were cleared, I headed out to the biggest, muddiest place I could find, the aptly named "Big Muddy" area.
I've only ever seen pictures of the massive geological formations so not only was I in awe as I approached them for the first time, I was in awe by how easily the Escape handled the three-inch-deep mud. Much like the ice and snow before, only once did the vehicle give me trouble, but it never got stuck. My Dodge, on the other hand, probably wouldn't have even come close to making it up the hill.
What I Liked About the Ford Escape
All in all, the Ford Escape was a really nice vehicle. It handled itself very well in the ice and snow, and then again in the immediate mud. The backup camera and collision sensors were great to have as well. It drove very smoothly and easily handled the various "sink-hole" like pot-holes that have opened around the city. After getting stuck various times in my car this winter, having a vehicle that could handle winter conditions was by far my favourite thing about it.
I also really liked the size of the vehicle. Although it was bigger than my car, it wasn't as massive as the Explorer and I felt a lot more comfortable in it. It was a nice upgrade from my car, and would be perfect for a family of four or five. It also has more than enough truck space for groceries, luggage or sporting equipment.
What I Didn't Like About the Ford Escape
Like the Explorer I had last year, I still feel Ford's collision sensor system is impressive, but could use some work. Last year my issue was grass causing the sensors to freak out, but this year my issue was ice. The storm had covered the vehicle in a thin layer of ice so whenever I turned my steering column left, the sensors on the left side of the car would light up as if I was about to hit something. The first few times I thought there was something there, but it also happened out in the country and there was nobody around. It was at that point I realized it was just the sensor was detecting ice on the vehicle.
I also wasn't a huge fan of the radio station dial controls. At first glance it looked like one of those old 1980s ashtrays. I didn't like the idea of a grooved interface to just change the station and I found it very clunky to use. Unfortunately, the station change on the steering wheel just jumps to pre-set favourites and doesn't go through all the channels, so I found myself forced to use the awkward ashtray radio station.
Like the Ford Explorer before, the Escape also had those bright blue headlights. I don't like having those lights behind me and I know other drivers don't either, but I admit they did help when driving out in the country at night. They may be the way of the future, but I still don't care for them.
This time Ford asked me to do something different while testing their vehicle. Although they still wanted me to drive it around, they also asked I do something positive with it and "pay it forward". I was struggling to think about what do when my sister texted me. Following the "storm of the century" her sidewalks had huge snow drifts covering them, and as a mother of two she couldn't go out and shovel. Her husband was out of the province for the weekend too, so she was alone with the kids. She asked me to come and help shovel her walk and in return she would order us a pizza.
Although I didn't really want to drive across the city to shovel somebody's walk, in the spirit of "paying it forward" I did anyway, and I know she really appreciated it.
The Escape was a good-sized vehicle for a family, and even works well for one person. I could fill its tank for less than $50 and it ran around 12 liters per 100 kilometers. It handled the winter and spring conditions flawlessly and even managed to make the pot holes less awful than usual. At around $40,000, this vehicle is a great option for somebody looking for a new ride.
I found the hands-free calling, collision sensors and GPS system very useful and, unlike the Explorer, it never blanked out on me while I was out in the country.
If I was looking for a new vehicle, either for city or country driving, I would consider the Ford Escape. It was a pleasant change from my current car, and it was a vast improvement over the Ford Explorer I drove last year. If I didn't have five years left to pay for my current car, the Escape would be on my radar as a potential alternative vehicle.
What do you think of the Ford Escape? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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