The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. I’ve been in denial since the day I learned that not only are there few new front-wheel drive coupes that fit my budget. It became further evident I had fallen asleep at the wheel when it came to keeping up with automotive trends when I frantically searched for an acceptable replacement for my car, only to find even the modestly priced sedan was disappearing. The more I searched, the more I learned the reality I had been sleepwalking through. I had been driving around for years, blissfully unaware that SUVs like the 2022 Ford Escape are taking over while affordable coupes and sedans are going the way of vinyl records and DVRs. It was heartbreaking. Why didn’t I get a say in any of these decisions? Like so many other unforeseen departures, the end of my long-lived relationship with cars has arrived, and breaking up is most certainly hard to do.
At first, I wallowed in grief. I took my two-door bestie out for a comforting drive down memory lane and reminisced over all the roads I conquered because she was there for me. Over time it got easier. I snuck onto some car sales sites to see what was out there, only to revert back to my lack of acceptance. That is until I found a Ford Escape that swept me off my feet, and I never looked back. Every attribute I loved about my car was noticeably surpassed by this stunner. Looks, personality, intelligence, and performance. It had it all. I spent a full week getting to know every nuance about its features and options, only to find that I knew everything I needed to know about what I didn’t want to live without.
Beauty and Brains
My first impression of the 2022 Escape was noticing how really great-looking this car is. Naturally pleasing to the eye with sharp angles and a sleek design. I particularly enjoyed the SE Sport Appearance Package, just to show off a little. Like a chiseled, edgy rock star strutting down the road in all-black accents, it was hard to ignore. Styled up with pitch-black 19-inch wheels, window and beltline molding, front and rear lower bumpers, a high-gloss black grille with chrome surround, and high-gloss black mirror caps, the Sport Appearance Package is an affordable way to stand out. But if that’s not your type, your match is waiting with plenty of color options, including three new blues this year (Atlas Blue, Flight Blue, and Ice Blue). There are endless ways to build and accessorize your dream Escape.
Once I got past appearances, I found the presence of thoughtful intelligence and modern technological advances waiting to serve my every need. The Ford SYNC 3 system provides a valuable voice-activated information system. Offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, this system is designed to allow cruising in style with expert navigation, call processing, and music preferences all at my command through a large, easy-access touchscreen. The collection of USB-A, USB-C, and 12V outlets is nice, although I do wish the optional wireless charging pad was available on the SE trim instead of being restricted to the SEL and Titanium.
Safety is important to me, but I was put completely at ease with the standard Ford Co-Pilot360 system with pre-collision warnings, automatic braking, and lane keeping assist using sensitive camera and radar technology. No more awkward silence either. The FordPass Connect 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot ensures constant communication for up to 10 devices with access up to 50 feet outside the vehicle. Unfortunately, the Head-Up Display that projects everything you need to know right in front of your eyes is only an option on the top Titanium trim. As much as I wanted that feature, I wasn’t willing to upgrade from the SE trim, which already offered all the major safety features I was looking for.
Room to Breathe
Everyone needs a little space. Being a compact SUV, the 2022 Escape’s 37.5 cubic feet of space was the perfect increase for someone still adjusting from a lifetime in a smaller cabin. There’s also an option to add space by folding down the backseat–something my little two-door doesn’t allow. I have crammed massive amounts of planters into my car only to create a huge mess of soiled tan seating because they did not all fit into my trunk. This roomy feel would definitely make it easy to load a week’s worth of groceries!
If you have ever owned a coupe, you know that putting an adult in the backseats is considered a cruel and unusual form of punishment. However, an SUV can comfortably accommodate larger visitors, opening up road trip options I hadn’t considered before. Entering and exiting the Escape is also a breeze, with much better ground clearance than any sedan or coupe. I have had to help people out of my car’s low profile on many occasions. Not good for anyone’s back. This ground clearance is another huge benefit for northern snowbound drivers. Even the best front-wheel drive model has its limitations with feet of snow and plowed-in driveways. Add on the AWD option, and the days of being stuck in a bad situation are gone! You can go places you never even considered before with confidence and the freedom to do so.
Right On the Money
No one likes a cheapskate, but my primary concern when entertaining a newcomer is how it’s going to impact my wallet. From the upfront purchase cost to fuel consumption over the life of the vehicle, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the new Ford Escape is champagne dreams at a working-class price. My commitment-phobic nature tends to lean towards leasing with a great APR and buying outright when the time comes, but even the full purchase price is doable.
Depending on how far you’re willing to take things, there are four trims to choose from. The base S model starts at $26K, followed by the SE, SEL, and Titanium trims. The S is a little bare-bones for my taste, but the SE is great value, offering many more features for only a little more money. While a fully-equipped Titanium can get expensive, if you have the money, it will get you some really nice features (like that Head-Up Display I mentioned).
There will always be high-end, out of my league luxury sedans and sports cars, but like me, the average homeowner and head of household is not ready to drop that much money. The automotive world is trending towards affordable SUVs because we need them. They are small enough to still feel like a car with smooth handling and have humble good looks that are hard not to fall in love with. In hindsight, I wasted a lot of time holding onto my car’s shortcomings instead of embracing bigger, better traveling experiences. Take it from me. If you’re in the same new car holding pattern I found myself in, don’t settle for the comfortable and familiar. The 2022 Ford Escape is the easiest and best way out of what is no longer serving you, and you deserve it.