2nd Look: 2018 Ford Escape

US News & World Report ranks the Ford Escape 8th among Compact SUVs.

“The Escape is one of the best all-around performers in the class, with sporty handling, a firm suspension system, good steering feedback, and a composed ride on smooth roads.”

Okay, but let’s see how they compare the Escape against two others that they liked better.

“Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Toyota RAV4?
The Toyota RAV4’s middle-of-the-road performance makes the Ford Escape the more engaging SUV to drive between these two. The RAV4 delivers a comfortable ride and decent power from its lone available engine, but the Escape’s athletic handling and potent available engines set it apart. The RAV4 does offer some advantages over the Escape: It comes standard with loads of advanced safety features, and its cargo area is even larger than the Escape’s. Choosing between these two is a matter of personal preference.”

Bottom line: Escape is much more fun to drive. RAV4 is better for people who don’t like driving. Yet the RAV4 is ranked 6th, above the Escape.

“Which Is Better: Ford Escape or Honda CR-V?
The Escape has plenty of cargo space and a decent amount of passenger room, but the Honda CR-V outdoes it and is the better choice in most cases. Even taller passengers have plenty of room to stretch out in the Honda’s back row, and the its cargo area is among the most expansive in the class. Additionally, the CR-V is more fuel-efficient than the Escape, and it delivers a smoother ride. If you’re looking for an engaging ride, however, you’ll prefer the Ford.”

Bottom line: Honda has more room for big people and gets better fuel mileage. But the Escape is just so damn much fun to drive… Still, the boring CR-V is ranked No. 1.

Here’s the thing: I love (live) to drive. First and foremost, I look for a fun driving experience in any vehicle. In a compact SUV, obviously space in storage and seating is primary, but if it’s no fun to drive, I can’t live with it.

The Ford Escape is a Ford Focus dressed up as a sport-ute. It is built on the same platform with same dimensions, except that it’s about 8 inches taller. The Escape retains the Focus’ European-style handling and suspension, which is so much fun in the smaller vehicle.

The Titanium edition is the priciest version of the Escape, but well worth it. This is where you get the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine featured in the exciting Focus ST model (245 HP). You also get the upscale interior and amenities that are normally included in optional packages for the lesser versions.

  2018 Focus SE Hatchback 2019 Escape Titanium
Wheelbase 104.3″ 105.9″
Length 171.7″ 178.1″
Height 57.8″ 66.3″
Width (including mirrors) 80.5″ 81.8″
Track width (front) 61.2″ 61.5″

So, with the Titanium edition Escape, you get a really good driving experience in a vehicle with plenty of acceleration, excellent handling, plenty of cargo space, and an interior environment that’s better than my own livingroom. Plus too many other goodies to list here.

See: https://www.ford.com/suvs-crossovers/escape/models/escape-titanium/

See my original review of the 2018 Ford Escape Titanium here.

SPRING. Time for… football?!?

The NFL Draft is coming up. Training camp is still four months away and the preseason doesn’t start until August 8th. But I can’t help looking ahead.

2019’s schedule, just released, seems to favor the Eagles BIGLY.

Each year, the Eagles always play two games against each of the other three teams in the NFC East Division. The Giants were woeful last year, and I seriously doubt that they’ll get much better in the course of one offseason. They traded their great receiver Beckham to oblivion and they’re still arguing over whether Eli Manning can still play quarterback. The Redskins were underachievers, but that’s their reputation of late. The Cowboys won the division but, once again, were unable to do anything with it.

[The Cowboys have now won exactly THREE playoff games since they last won Super Bowl XXX after the 1995 season. That’s 23 years of frustration for Dallas fans. They’re beginning to understand how Eagles fans felt before 2017, except that their record of those 23 years has been absolute mediocrity. I expect that the Eagles and Cowboys will still swap wins this year.]

In 2019, all NFC East teams play the teams from the AFC East Division and the NFC North Division, plus two random teams based upon their divisional standings from last year. As 2nd place finisher in the NFC East, the Eagles will play the 2nd place teams from two other divisions: the Falcons and the Seahawks. Dallas gets the Saints and the Rams (both 1st place teams), while the Redskins and Giants get 3rd and 4th place teams, respectively.

Of the 16 games on the Eagles’ schedule, only 5 are against teams that finished last year with a better record than the Eagles (and that includes the stinkin’ Cowboys, twice). The AFC East has the New England Patriots and three teams that struggled. The NFC North has the Chicago Bears and three teams under .500.

Worth noting that the Eagles have a stretch of three games on the road in October, followed by three straight games at home in November.

As always, the wild card is whether the team (and especially now Carson Wentz) can stay relatively healthy. If they do, and if Wentz can trust his wide receivers as in days past, the offense should have no problem scoring points. And, as one genius sportscaster pointed out, “The only way to win games is to score more points than the other guys.”

Here’s how I break out the season:

Sep 8 Washington Redskins 7-9 W
Having the Redskins here in Philly for Game One gets the Eagles off to a good start.

Sep 15 @ Atlanta Falcons 7-9 W
Eagles just seem to have the Falcons’ number. They come close, but the Eagles seem to have a way of dashing their dreams. Even in Atlanta

Sep 22 Detroit Lions 6-10 W
I think the Lions are still looking to put together a team. A win.

Sep 26 @ Green Bay Packers 6-9-1 W
I waffle about this one. Yes, it’s IN Green Bay, but the Packers come down to the state of Aaron Rogers. Our defense makes him uncomfortable all day and the Eagles come out with a win

Oct 6 New York Jets 4-12 W
Another “trap game.” The Jets have new uniforms and may not recognize themselves. Still, they are pathetic. Five straight wins to start the season.

Oct 13 @ Minnesota Vikings 8-7-1 L
Revenge for the Vikings. Eagles are starting to believe they’re all that, and the Vikings remind them that they still have to play the game.

Oct 20 @ Dallas Cowboys 10-6 L
Still nursing from a loss, the Eagles go down to Dallas and give away a close one.

Oct 27 @ Buffalo Bills 6-10 W
Playing the Bills can make a team healthy. Bills will be no trouble.

Nov 3 Chicago Bears 12-4 L
The Bears come into Philly and take one from the Birds. Are they for real? I don’t know, but I’m giving them this game.

Nov 10 BYE

Nov 17 New England Patriots 11-5 W
The Patriots are coming off of a BYE, too, and I’m hoping that they’re looking past the Eagles to their game against the Cowboys the following week. Even so, the Eagles HATE these guys. And it’s on our turf.

Nov 24 Seattle Seahawks 10-6 L
Seattle beats the Eagles until they don’t. And they will. A loss for the Eagles at home.

Dec 1 @ Miami Dolphins 7-9 W
Eagles go to Miami at a nice time of year. Assuming that they show up for business, they win this one.

Dec 9 New York Giants 5-11 W
The Giants stink. They flat-out stink.

Dec 15 @ Washington Redskins 7-9 W
Washington’s season is probably over at this point. Eagles need to keep their eye on the road and win this one, setting up a game for the division title.

Dec 22 Dallas Cowboys 10-6 W
Unless they totally screw things up again, the Cowboys should have a record on par with the Eagles. This game will determine the division crown.

Dec 29 @ New York Giants 5-11 W (or L, if nothing to play for)
Eagles coast into the playoffs with an easy win against the Gints.

OKAY. I just gave the Eagles a 12-4 record, a division title, and possibly even a BYE for the first round of the playoffs. I’ve also given them five straight wins to start the season, five straight wins to finish the season. They will not win five straight. 11-5 is acceptable, but a 10-6 record is a FAIL, especially if it means Dallas wins the division again.

We’ve only got four months to argue.