Ford Canada recently loaned me a 2013 Ford Escape Titanium edition for a week. I’ve been fortunate lately to be able to try out a number of new vehicles and of all the ones I’ve recently driven, the Escape impressed me the most from a tech perspective.
Here’s three reasons why I was impressed, aside from the comfortable ride:
Ford’s SYNC technology has been available for a while now but I’ve never had a chance to check it out. It was very clean, bright and elegantly designed interface…it really feels like a modern ‘operating system’ for your car. There are even additional apps you can install to extend the functionality of the system.
I’ve been long frustrated that in car tech has always lagged WAY behind smartphone tech. I get that the lead times on vehicle design can be years ahead of a shipping model.
The SYNC system seems to be the first system that is on par with and even understands my smartphone right out of the gate, not to mention the vehicle had a number of connection points including multiple USB ports, SD card slot, 12V power ports and even a 110V power outlet in the back.
Once I paired my iPhone 5 with the SYNC via bluetooth, I was given a number of options for connecting the vehicle up with wifi…and was impressed with the connectivity options. You can tether your phone or you can plug in a USB internet stick and make the car a wireless hub for all passengers. Having a data enabled system gives you a number of other features on your main display for everything from more detailed navigation options like nearest gas station, movie theatre and even the ski conditions for nearby mountain slopes.
Even the GPS navigation system looked and worked great:
Just about everything is also voice controlled as well. This worked really well for me and I never had any recognition problems with the various tasks I asked it to do.
It may sound silly, but I actually used this feature MANY times during the week I had with the Escape. By having the key fob on your person, walk up to the rear of the Escape and ‘swipe’ your foot under the rear bumper and the door opens, handsfree. Perfect when you have your hands full of grocery bags or luggage. No need to double click or hold a keyfob button, simply a proximity sensor gets triggered and you can put your stuff down in the back hasslefree. Great for the rainy week I had as well! It’s such a simple idea and makes so much sense…I expect everyone to adopt this feature in all vehicles.
Active Parking Assist
Probably one of the coolest features of the Escape was the Active Parking Assist…the car practically parrallel parks itself! You do still need to work the gas/brake pedals but it’s so easy to park into really tight spots without any trouble. It really feels like this is the future of driving and I suspect that it won’t be long before you don’t even need to work the pedals and it will do all the work for you. Watch my hands in this brief video and my ‘handsfree’ parking job. The spot was pretty tight, don’t let the GoPro wide angle view fool you as I drove around for 10 minutes to find a perfect, ‘tricky’ spot to get this clip.
It will also tell you if the spot is TOO tight to fit so you won’t waste your time trying. I must have tried this feature a dozen times just for fun. My only complaint would be the location of the parking button should be moved to the steering wheel from the lower centre console for easier access.
Those are just three reasons why I was really impressed with the Escape. I already miss the SYNC features.
My thanks again to Ford Canada for the opportunity to try out the Escape.