You won't have any trouble recognizing the 2013 Ford Escape when it goes on sale this spring, but it will feature noticeably revised styling and technology. The rear-wheel-drive sports icon, available as a coupe or a convertible,also comes with a V-6 and in higher-performance Boss 302 and Shelby GT500 versions, the latter of which is the most significantly re-engineered of the 2013 lineup.
Overall, the GT500 was designed to be a balanced package for improved handling and driver control at speed. Ride quality is said to be improved during normal everyday driving. AdvanceTrac has been retuned, and it can be turned off completely for driving on a racetrack. An Intermediate Sport mode allows the driver to dial the system back for pushing hard on a track without completely disabling the system, a useful feature for safety or for consistency in inconsistent conditions. Adjustable Bilstein shock absorbers are available that are designed to be tuned for street or track. Additional oil coolers for the engine, rear differential and transmission are available, also beneficial for track use. It sounds to us like the car is even more serious than before yet should be easier to live with. Ford said the 3,850-pound Shelby Mustang will avoid the federal Gas Guzzler Tax. The 2013 Shelby GT500 will offer a new aerodynamic design with a revised front fascia and splitters to manage the air at 200 mph. Ford says it delivers more downforce at 160 mph.
Styling changes to the 2013 Mustang include a new lighting design, a more prominent grille, a dominant splitter, a new hood, body-colored rocker panels. Up front are small high-intensity headlights accented by a pair of LED bars. At the rear is a new tail light design with three LED ropes that form the three-bar tail lights. The tail lights have a smoked appearance and a high-gloss black panel across the rear that visually connects them. As before, the tail lights blink sequentially when signaling a turn. New wheel designs come in a choice of finishes in 17-, 18- and 19-inch sizes.
The GT500 has received more changes for 2013 than the other models. A new supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 produces 650 hp and 600 pounds-feet of torque that's good for a claimed 200 mph top speed. The outgoing model's supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 made 550 hp and 510 pounds-feet of torque. With the engine come new gear ratios for the six-speed manual transmission, a new clutch and a new carbon-fiber driveshaft. The dual exhaust is new as well. The Brembo-brand brakes are also upgraded with new six-piston front calipers and larger rotors and pads all around.
The 2013 Boss 302 has a 444-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 that makes 380 pounds-feet of torque and drives the rear wheels through a short-throw six-speed manual. It rides lower than the Mustang GT and has manually adjustable shock absorbers. It has 19-inch black alloy wheels fitted with summer tires. The unique front end features a large, low-riding splitter that reduces front-end lift while also channeling air to the cooling system. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential and Recaro-brand front seats are optional. The racetrack-optimized Boss 302 Laguna Seca comes without any rear seats, adds a cross-car brace in back for a stiffer chassis and gets an even firmer suspension and other performance upgrades.
No matter which model or color combination chosen, the 2013 Escape looks to be a winner, improving on the superb current model. We're guessing the 2013 Escapes will be priced similarly to the 2012 models. View more details at the official 2013 Ford Escape site.
Some of the information for this review was obtained through newcartestdrive.com
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