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> General Chat > NEWS: Escape wins BEST SMALL SUV Award !!!
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WhatsNew
News and Info

Registered: Jan 2002
Location:
Posts: 341

And The Smart Money Winner Is . . .

<a href="http://escape-central.com>Ford Escape</a>
Built Ford Tough...
Ford Escape Wins
Best Small SUV Award!


: : : Escape Central News : : : SmartMoney Magazine : : :

A FEW YEARS AGO... the small SUV category barely existed. Today it's fiercely competitive, with a wide range of choices. But most people use small SUVs to hit the mall, not the mud, so we focused on five popular SUVs built on a car (not a truck) chassis, rating them on such factors as power, value, styling, ride, comfort and cargo space to select a SmartMoney Award winner.



    The Contenders...

    Ultimately... the Ford Escape and all of its competition in our best small SUV test (the Toyoto RAV, the Honda CRV, the Saturn VUE and the Hyundai Santa Fe) are about compromises — after all, by their very definition, crossover SUVs have to balance the right elements of both cars and sport-utes.



    Toyota RAV4
    With the smallest engine of this bunch, the RAV4 also is the lightest of these SUVs. It's sprightly from a stop but strains when passing on the highway or climbing hills. It also corners nimbly. The interior is uncluttered and attractive. Exterior styling has made great strides since the original jellybean-like RAV4, though it still looks rather Ňcute-ute.Ó While the low cargo floor makes loading easier, the tailgate that swings to the side, rather than up, is annoying in tight quarters. The rear seat's 50/50 split means that when you load long objects only one passenger can ride in the back.



    Saturn VUE
    The vue is part of Saturn's new focus on making its products as compelling as its buying experience, but it's just not compelling enough. The VUE is also the first small SUV to offer electric (versus hydraulic) power steering, which is meant to make maneuvering easier. The effect, though, is just the opposite. Steering feels rather numb at low speeds and, combined with a large turning radius for a car this size, makes squeezing into a tight parking spot unexpectedly difficult.



    Hyundai Santa Fe GLS
    Aesthetically, Hyundai's SUV does have several good sides: Its curvy styling is pleasing (albeit not particularly SUV-like) from all angles except the front. Unfortunately, the oddly bulging headlamps bring to mind the flared nostrils of a pig. But the interior is attractive and the dash well laid out. And you get plenty of features for a low price. The downside: This SUV is a bit of a snooze to drive compared with the Ford Escape or RAV4. Even with the V-6, acceleration can be sluggish, since the Santa Fe weighs a portly 3,752 pounds.



    Honda CR-V EX
    For all that the CR-V does right, the first impression when one slips into the driver's seat almost ruins it. The quirky layout of the controls, all in cheap-looking plastic, makes the car seem spartan. Besides the dash layout, I had a few other minor styling quibbles, such as the swing-out rear gate similar to the RAV4's (though it does have a flip-up rear windshield for loading small items). But on the upside, the CR-V offers some unique features that families with young children will appreciate, including a cargo floor that morphs into a removable picnic table and rear seats that slide forward and back to adjust cargo and leg room.



The Winner...

Ford Escape... In this case Ford happens to strike just the right balance with its popular Escape. Like the other four reviewed here, it has full-time four-wheel drive (power is directed to the front wheels under most conditions, shifting to all four wheels only when the system detects slippage). But unlike the other four SUVs, it offers decent towing capacity (up to 3,500 pounds) and a four-wheel-drive lock mode, ideal for mud or ice.

Plus... it actually looks the part of a rugged SUV. Considering that utility vehicles owe their popularity more to their sporty looks than to their actual off-road capabilities, it's surprising how many automakers opt for a softer station-wagon-on-steroids look for their crossovers. Not Ford. The Escape resembles the popular Explorer, albeit shrunken a bit. Inside, the theme continues; my test vehicle had the best interior of this group, with tan leather on the steering wheel and seats.


____Escape V6 features a class leading 201 Horsepower
____


The Escape also features the brawniest engine, a 3-liter V-6 that delivers a full 201 hp, by far the best in this group. And it's just as maneuverable and responsive as the rest of the crossovers, with tight steering and an independent suspension front and rear.










(C) WhatsNew @ Escape-Central
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WhatsNew is offline Old Post 04-05-2003 08:45 PM
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SullyND
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Congrats on 100 posts Whatsnew, what no nanners for you?

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Old Post 04-05-2003 10:15 PM
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FARSCAPE
Platinum Member

Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sacramento.California
Posts: 630

Lightbulb

Of course, we already knew that it was the best Small SUV Good to know that others feel the same.


__________________
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FARSCAPE is offline Old Post 04-05-2003 10:28 PM
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Decker
4th Gear

Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Denver
Posts: 434

Thumbs up

I think it's the horsepower. I really liked everything about the Escapes that I have test driven, but the standout for me is the power. These things have great acceleration. I'm trying to wait for the 2004's to come out but It's getting frustrating waiting everytime I see another one on the road and all of these I just got my Escape posts!


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Decker is offline Old Post 04-06-2003 06:06 PM
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enormus
3rd Gear

Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 221

Appearance vs. Power

There are many things I prefer about the Escape to other small SUVs, but "appearance" and "power" are definitely the two most important qualities to me that it possesses. I looked at many of the so-called cute-utes during my presale research. I found a number to be downright ugly including the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Saturn VUE (although I think the Nissan Murano and Honda Element have a new standard for ugliness). I liked the appearance of the RAV4 and the Jeep Liberty, but lack of power and poor gas mileage, respectively, ruled them out. In the end, the Escape had just what I was looking for. Not too big, simple, truck good looks, and a V6 with decent gas mileage. Once I saw the XLT in Dark Shadow Grey in person, there was no turning back.


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enormus is offline Old Post 04-07-2003 04:03 AM
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JustJerk
Platinum Member

Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Mental Institution on Long Island
Posts: 1566

There was one small problem with that study; they forgot to include the Tribute! The article title would have said “MAZDA TRIBUTE Wins Best Small SUV Award!"


__________________
2003 Mazda Tribute ES 4WD
Pebble Ash Metallic w/ Dark Flint Leather
Options:Luxury Package,Cold Package,All-Weather Mats,Auto-Dimming mirror.
MODS

WetherTech WeatherFlectors
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Decals - Mazda, Zoom-Zoom, American Flag, No Fear, Jerk Inside, NY Giants Helmet, NY Giants Logo, BigBlueTailgate.com, 4X4, and more



Jest- something done or said in a playful joking manner

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JustJerk is offline Old Post 04-07-2003 05:46 PM
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Yabi
4th Gear

Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
Posts: 474

Oh no sir, Escapes is best... you go zoom zoom with your mazda and make room for the BEST! =)


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Yabi is offline Old Post 04-07-2003 08:24 PM
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wheelman123
1st Gear

Registered: Nov 2002
Location: Oak Lawn IL (SW of Chicago)
Posts: 39

Built Mazda Tough...
Mazda Tribute Wins
Best Small SUV Award!



We all know who got the better genes.....


2003 Mazda Tribute
Redfire Metallic...

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wheelman123 is offline Old Post 04-09-2003 09:19 PM
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Decker
4th Gear

Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Denver
Posts: 434

quote:
Originally posted by JustJerk
There was one small problem with that study; they forgot to include the Tribute! The article title would have said “MAZDA TRIBUTE Wins Best Small SUV Award!"


Well I wouldn't mind owning a Tribute. I like the looks but the one negative is that the Mazda dealers in this area seem to be tougher about giving in on anything when it comes to pricing for the Tribs. I don't know if this is just because Ford dealers are gettting higher volumes or what but the Mazda dealers are kind of snobby.

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Decker is offline Old Post 07-15-2003 11:49 PM
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JustJerk
Platinum Member

Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Mental Institution on Long Island
Posts: 1566

quote:
Originally posted by Decker
Mazda dealers are kind of snobby.
Gotta love being upper class!


__________________
2003 Mazda Tribute ES 4WD
Pebble Ash Metallic w/ Dark Flint Leather
Options:Luxury Package,Cold Package,All-Weather Mats,Auto-Dimming mirror.
MODS

WetherTech WeatherFlectors
WeatherTech Easy-OnTM Stone and Bug Deflector
Clear Side Markers
DIY - Interior Bike Rack
DIY - Main & Lower Grille Guard
DIY - Cabin Air Filter
Cee Bailey's Sunshields
Evolution 4 Car Cover
Chrome Tribute License Plate Holder
3rd Brake light cover
12" Polished Billet Antenna
Decals - Mazda, Zoom-Zoom, American Flag, No Fear, Jerk Inside, NY Giants Helmet, NY Giants Logo, BigBlueTailgate.com, 4X4, and more



Jest- something done or said in a playful joking manner

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JustJerk is offline Old Post 07-16-2003 12:24 AM
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FLCalling
Platinum Overdrive

Registered: Oct 2001
Location: Eastern Iowa
Posts: 2112

My Son owns both a Mazda 600 and a Tribute. He finds the Mazda dealership STUPID! and ususally calls then Ford dealership to get the correct fix on his Tribute!

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FLCalling is offline Old Post 08-12-2003 10:14 PM
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mi-escape
Platinum Member

Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 1907

quote:
Originally posted by JustJerk
Gotta love being upper class!


JustJerk,

If only buying a Tribute actually got you there....

The truth of the matter is, no version of the Escape or Tribute is intended for an "upper class" driver. They are squarely middle-class vehicles and the cater to a wide spectrum of the middle-class.

The survey on incomes kind of proves that. The majority of owners were around 60,000 or less in income. Only a small minority were above that mark.

Until Lincoln or Landrover gets the Escape/Tribute platform, I don't believe any small SUV from Ford, Mazda or Mercury will be intended for the upper-class.

If your intention is to suggest that the Tribute is more refined, I would say possibly in ride only. The Escape Limited provides a much more refined vehicle look inside and out.


__________________
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2002.5 Escape XLT 4x4 Midnight Edition

Safety & Security Accessories:
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Apperance Modifications:
Limited Door Handles * Limited Rear Liftgate Latch Cover

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mi-escape is offline Old Post 08-13-2003 07:31 AM
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sbkim
Platinum Member

Registered: Jul 2002
Location: Bergen County NJ
Posts: 746

"The Escape Limited provides a much more refined vehicle look inside and out"

I couldn't agree more. IMHO, Tribute color scheme is too stationwagon like. Granted, I am very jealous of that speedo bezel...


__________________
2002 Escape Midnight 4x4
2008 Range Rover Sport Supercharged
2008 997 TT

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sbkim is offline Old Post 08-13-2003 08:47 PM
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GatorJ
Platinum Overdrive

Registered: Apr 2002
Location: FL
Posts: 4495

quote:
Originally posted by mi-escape
If your intention is to suggest that the Tribute is more refined, I would say possibly in ride only.



To the contrary, almost every authoritative automotive magazine that evaluated the Escape and its sister vehicle, the Tribute, preferred the Escape's ride, finding the Tribute's to be unduly harsh.


__________________
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GatorJ is offline Old Post 08-14-2003 07:07 AM
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