It’s been a long summer but one of the highlights was spending some time with the 2014 Ford Escape. I reviewed in 2013 and the SUV is essentially the same. Instead of just driving it around Saskatoon (done that before), I decided to take it on the road. This is after all where a crossover is supposed to come in useful isn’t it (that and as a hockey kid taxi). So the four of us got up really early one Sunday and took a long one day drive from Saskatoon to Drumheller and back. It’s around 1000km in a day if you are keeping track. At the end of the trip we were going to either love or hate the 2014 Ford Escape.
We packed relatively light. Even though it was a brand new vehicle we tossed our emergency kit in the back, three camera bags, a cooler, and some extra jackets in case the weather forecast was horribly wrong. That took up about 5% of the rear cargo space.
After hitting Rosetown for breakfast where we met this old-timer, we made a brief stop at Alsask to show the kids the old NORAD radar dome
We got into Drumheller at about noon where the Ford Escape met this guy. I know I signed something that stopped people from smoking in the Ford Escape, I couldn’t remember if I was covered by stampeding dinosaurs. So I sent Mark and Oliver up to deal with the T-Rex.
After an epic struggle, they subdued the beat and saved the Escape.
I have driven from Saskatoon to Calgary many times and each time (generally at Hanna), I would get out and feel the pain in my back after four long hours of driving. This time it was completely different and here is why With the Escape, there was none of that. The air conditioner kept the kids cool while the heated seats kept Wendy and I feeling a lot more comfortable. If only they had a back massage feature.
After lunch we checked the GPS for directions to the Atlas Coal Mine. It couldn’t find it. It found every other little attraction in Drumheller but missed this one. Obviously Ford downloads these attractions from a database but I was surprised a National Historic Site was not on it. Ironically enough Siri with it’s much despised Apple Maps found us a way and we arrived after our failed conversation with Ford Sync. Apple 1 – Ford Sync 0.
Once at the Atlas Coal Mine, I discovered the true value of the Ford Escape. We explored an abandoned wooden bridge (which was home to rattlesnakes) and was almost completely rotten.
Explored the mine site
Wendy stumbled onto a model shoot
We took a mine tour
Climbed the “walk from hell” (this is important)
Where I tore my right quad and put myself in incredible pain (not all Ford reviews have happy endings). After heading back down the “walk from hell” (it’s what the miners called it), I limped back to the waiting Ford Escape while the family kept exploring (thanks guys!)
The pain was incredible, my leg was almost useless and I limped back to the vehicle in incredible pain. I got in and actually had to lift my leg inside, turned on the Escape, turned on the a/c and turned on the heated seat. It didn’t take away the pain but facing a five hour trip back to Saskatoon and realizing how much better it made my leg feel, it was amazing. (and made me add a tensor bandage and A535 to my emergency kit) when I got back into Drumheller.
I felt good enough to limp out and explore the Star Mine Suspension Bridge in Rosedale. While I never recommend walking on a moving suspension bridge with a torn quad, the heat kept it from getting really bad.
18 hours after, one rattlesnake sighting, two provinces, one radar dome, one torn quad, 1000 kms, three McDonald’s and one A&W run later, we rolled back into Saskatoon. Instead of whining and complaining despite being well past their bedtimes, the boys hopped out the car and Oliver said that was fun. He then hugged the Ford Escape goodnight. Yeah you read that right, after an 18 hour day, my six year old hugged the Escape.
It was then I realized why you want a 2014 Ford Escape. It is a lot of fun to drive in the city and the highway. It’s safe and like I wrote about the 2013 Ford Escape, it saved my families life when a guy lost control on icy roads. It looks great. Sirius XM radio is a lot of fun.
All of that is amazing but you buy one because the Escape facilitates fun times together with others. Whether that is an epic road trip with family or a weekend getaway with friends, it made a great trip better. It made a long day seem shorter. It made an improbable one day trip possible. It is small enough to be fun to drive but large enough that you can bring people along. It is everything a SUV should be. Since the first time I drove the Ford Escape, I fell in love with it and said that it was my favourite vehicle to drive. Since then it has become my families favourite vehicle as well. It facilitates fun.
You can read all about the technical specs here but in the end, they add up to one thing; great times spent together.
- I have been reviewing Ford cars for three years. Oliver is now six and since her first saw the Ford Sync GPS display, he has been fascinated. He sits in the back seat on a painful angle the entire time so he can see the display. That hasn’t changed. I hope to review a Ford car in 2015 just to see how long this continues. It’s weird. Of course the one advantage of Ford Sync GPS screens is not navigation but the fact that you never hear, “Are we there yet?”
- The bad thing about turn by turn instructions is that if you deviate off your course to take the scenic route (which I did), everyone panics and start back seat driving. Wendy is chirping at me, the boys are chirping at me. Sync is telling to “turn right, turn right, turn right”. I’m like, I just want see some scenery! EVERYONE CALM DOWN and Sync is still going, “turn right, turn right, turn right”. Why does no one trust me?!
- The Escape is fast. Shockingly fast for a SUV. Very comfortable to drive on a two lane highway. When I wanted to pass, I could.
- The Sync still crashes. Every Ford vehicle I have reviewed has had something go wrong with the Sync. The last time it wasn’t that bad but it asked me to go to a dealer. Turning the Escape off and on rebooted it (it is from Microsoft after all). Instead of asking me to go to a dealer, it should just say, restart your car. It’s not a big thing but I can’t believe it still does this. Then again, Microsoft. I should be used to it by now.
- Speaking of taking the scenic route, you will take more of them. The handling of the Escape is great and it kind of calls out for winding roads and rolling hills. A lot of fun.
- Even though the body design is older, it still turns heads. As I was limping towards the Star Mine Suspension Bridge someone turned and said, “that is a nice looking SUV”.
If you want more information about a Ford Escape, check out Ford’s website or stop by any Ford dealer (like Jubilee Ford or Merlin Ford Lincoln in Saskatoon)
Also thanks to Wendy for taking some of the better photos from this trip. She posted some of her favourites to her weblog.