Itâ€™s been a long summer but one of the highlights was spending some time with the 2014 Ford Escape. Â I reviewed in 2013 and the SUV is essentially the same. Â Instead of just driving it around Saskatoon (done that before), I decided to take it on the road. Â This is after all where a crossover is supposed to come in useful isnâ€™t it (that and as a hockey kid taxi). Â So the four of us got up really early one Sunday and took a long one day drive from Saskatoon to Drumheller and back.Â Â Itâ€™s around 1000km in a day if you are keeping track. Â At the end of the trip we were going to either love or hate the 2014 Ford Escape.
We packed relatively light. Â 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. Â 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 Â
We got into Drumheller at about noon where the Ford Escape met this guy. Â I know I signed something that stopped people from smoking in the Ford Escape, I couldnâ€™t remember if I was covered by stampeding dinosaurs. Â 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. Â This time it was completely different and here is why Â With the Escape, there was none of that. Â The air conditioner kept the kids cool while the heated seats kept Wendy and I feeling a lot more comfortable. Â If only they had a back massage feature.
After lunch we checked the GPS for directions to the Atlas Coal Mine. Â It couldnâ€™t find it. Â It found every other little attraction in Drumheller but missed this one. Â Obviously Ford downloads these attractions from a database but I was surprised a National Historic Site was not on it. Â Ironically enough Siri with itâ€™s much despised Apple Maps found us a way and we arrived after our failed conversation with Ford Sync. Â Apple 1 – Ford Sync 0.
Once at the Atlas Coal Mine, I discovered the true value of the Ford Escape. Â 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 â€œwalk from hellâ€ (this is important)
Where I tore my right quad and put myself in incredible pain (not all Ford reviews have happy endings). Â After heading back down the â€œwalk from hellâ€ (itâ€™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. Â 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. Â It didnâ€™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. Â 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 McDonaldâ€™s and one A&W run later, we rolled back into Saskatoon. Â Instead of whining and complaining despite being well past their bedtimes, the boys hopped out the car and Oliver said that was fun. Â He then hugged the Ford Escape goodnight. Â Yeah you read that right, after an 18 hour day, my six year old hugged the Escape. Â
It was then I realized why you want a 2014 Ford Escape. Â It is a lot of fun to drive in the city and the highway. Â Itâ€™s safe and like I wrote about the 2013 Ford Escape, it saved my families life when a guy lost control on icy roads. Â It looks great. Â 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. Â Whether that is an epic road trip with family or a weekend getaway with friends, it made a great trip better. Â It made a long day seem shorter. Â It made an improbable one day trip possible. Â It is small enough to be fun to drive but large enough that you can bring people along. Â It is everything a SUV should be. Â 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. Â Since then it has become my families favourite vehicle as well. Â 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. Â Oliver is now six and since her first saw the Ford Sync GPS display, he has been fascinated. Â He sits in the back seat on a painful angle the entire time so he can see the display. Â That hasnâ€™t changed. Â I hope to review a Ford car in 2015 just to see how long this continues. Â Itâ€™s weird. Â Of course the one advantage of Ford Sync GPS screens is not navigation but the fact that you never hear, â€œAre we there yet?â€
- 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. Â Wendy is chirping at me, the boys are chirping at me. Â Sync is telling to â€œturn right, turn right, turn rightâ€. Â Iâ€™m like, I just want see some scenery! Â EVERYONE CALM DOWN and Sync is still going, â€œturn right, turn right, turn rightâ€. Â Why does no one trust me?!
- The Escape is fast. Â Shockingly fast for a SUV. Â Very comfortable to drive on a two lane highway. Â When I wanted to pass, I could.
- The Sync still crashes. Â Every Ford vehicle I have reviewed has had something go wrong with the Sync. Â The last time it wasnâ€™t that bad but it asked me to go to a dealer. Â Turning the Escape off and on rebooted it (it is from Microsoft after all). Â Instead of asking me to go to a dealer, it should just say, restart your car. Â Itâ€™s not a big thing but I canâ€™t believe it still does this. Â Then again, Microsoft. Â I should be used to it by now.
- Speaking of taking the scenic route, you will take more of them. Â The handling of the Escape is great and it kind of calls out for winding roads and rolling hills. Â A lot of fun.
- Even though the body design is older, it still turns heads. Â As I was limping towards the Star Mine Suspension Bridge someone turned and said, â€œthat is a nice looking SUVâ€. Â
If you want more information about a Ford Escape, check out Fordâ€™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. Â She posted some of her favourites to her weblog.