Recall Alert: 2013 Ford Escape

2013FordEscape

Vehicles Affected: Approximately 139,917 model-year 2013 Escape SUVs, manufactured between Oct. 5, 2011, and June 2, 2013, and equipped with a 1.6-liter engine.

The Problem: The engines may experience under-hood fires due to localized overheating of the engine cylinder head, leading to cracks causing oil leaks; engine oil that comes into contact with a hot engine surface could result in an engine-compartment fire. As of Nov. 18, Ford was aware of a dozen such fires in the U.S. and one in Canada. In addition, in those vehicles built between Oct. 5, 2011, and July 11, 2012, engine-compartment fuel lines may have been installed incorrectly when repaired under a previous recall, and could chafe and eventually leak fuel; this could cause a fire in the presence of an ignition source. According to USA Today, the U.S. action is part of a worldwide recall of more than 161,000 model-year 2013 Escapes. The automaker said it began getting engine-fire reports in late August, according to the newspaper. The SUV has been recalled seven times since it was redesigned and went on sale in spring 2012.

By Matt Schmitz | November 26, 2013 | Comments (4)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: October 2013

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As experts largely predicted, car shoppers shook off any hesitation from the federal government shutdown and bought enough new cars in the second half of October to drive the auto industry up about 11 percent by Halloween, judging by numbers from the largest seven automakers.

The Detroit Three led the pack, with sales up 13.9 percent. Nissan, Toyota and Honda gained 9.5 percent, while Hyundai-Kia were nearly flat with a 0.6 percent increase.

"Consumers showed resiliency in October with steady auto sales despite headwinds caused by the government shutdown," Toyota division GM Bill Fay said in a statement. Sales for the automaker's best-selling Camry ebbed, but a redesigned Corolla lifted Toyota's numbers. Honda saw a larger boom in the Civic, while shoppers shied away from the Accord; both cars had a strong October 2012. Nissan's popular Altima, meanwhile, fell 11.5 percent.

By Kelsey Mays | November 1, 2013 | Comments (11)

Which New SUV Is Comparable to the Saturn Vue?

"Which new SUV is comparable to the Saturn Vue? I am driving my fourth Saturn Vue and have been really frustrated at the thought of replacing it. I already looked at the Equinox but passed because it is not comparable — it's bigger and pricier. Then I saw the Chevrolet Captiva! Problem solved — or so I thought (fleet only). If I can't buy a Captiva, I will go to another brand. I buy new, so a used Captiva is not an option in my mind."

Sue

By Matt Schmitz | October 20, 2013 | Comments (1)

2014 Ford Escape: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Backup camera standard on all models; 1.6-liter engine standard on Titanium models (instead of 2.0-liter); SEL models are discontinued

Price change: Base S model increases $230, and SE models are up $480; prices on Titanium models have dropped by $1,270 because of a smaller standard engine

On sale: Since midsummer

Which you should buy, 2013 or 2014? 2014

The Escape was redesigned for 2013 and was a sales success for Ford, despite early quality issues and safety recalls.

For 2014, a backup camera is standard on all models, and an optional hands-free power liftgate that can be opened with a kicking motion is now grouped with a 3,500-pound towing package.The SEL trim level is no longer offered.

By Rick Popely | September 13, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford Updates Multimedia Systems, Again

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Ford’s latest update to its Sync and MyFord Touch systems aims to streamline voice recognition, enlarge on-screen buttons and simplify smartphone pairing. The updates also apply to MyLincoln Touch from Ford’s luxury division.

The Sync updates should simplify some of the system’s multistep voice commands, and MyFord Touch/MyLincoln Touch will get larger touch-sensitive areas along the four-quadrant home screen to reach specific menus (navigation or audio, for example), the Detroit News reports. Ford should unveil the free online download next week for Ford and Lincoln drivers with the system, the newspaper said.

It’s the latest in a string of updates Ford has sent to owners, either through mailed USB drives or online updates, for its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems. The largest came in November 2011, when Ford tried to simplify the system’s fonts and reduce lag with a major software update. We tested the new system, and it didn’t live up to its billing.

The updates come as Ford weathers criticism — from ours to J.D. Power and Associates’ quality scores — over its touch-capacitive controls. The automaker announced in June it would bring more buttons to future versions of MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch that would follow the layout in Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks. That system retains most buttons, as opposed to the button-avoidant panels in the Explorer and Edge SUVs.

Related
Ford to Add More Physical Buttons to MyFord Touch
Living with MyFord Touch on a 3,500-Mile Road Trip
More Ford News

By Kelsey Mays | August 6, 2013 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: July 2013

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The auto industry came off a June that saw the best sales rate since 2007, and the momentum appears to have run through July. Toyota had its best July since 2008; GM had its best July since 2007. Chrysler and Ford had their best July since 2006. Honda sales, up 20.9%, represented the best July since 2006. And Nissan and Hyundai-Kia had their best July ever. With the top seven automakers reporting numbers, sales are up 13.6%.

The 10 best-sellers changed little, with one car — the Ford Escape — dropping off the charts. The Toyota Corolla, whose 2014 redesign is waiting in the wings, replaced it.

A gallon of regular unleaded gained 15 cents in July, according to AAA, but small, fuel-efficient cars had a mixed month. The outgoing Corolla stayed flat, but rival Honda Civic gained nearly 30%. The Toyota Prius hybrid — ever the indicator of shoppers’ flight to fuel efficiency — gained a stunning 40% over an already-strong July 2012, mostly on the strength of the original Prius, which had a slight incentives uptick versus a year ago. The Chevrolet Cruze, meanwhile, piled on 70.2% in sales versus a slow July 2012 (sales were down 39.3% that month) thanks to higher year-over-year incentives on the compact sedan — and despite much lower dealer supply. The Ford Focus, meanwhile, stayed flat despite bigger incentives this year.

By Kelsey Mays | August 1, 2013 | Comments (13)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

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Once again there are scant changes to our list of most-read reviews: The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is still at No. 1, followed by the 2013 Chrysler Town & Country and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, respectively. The lone newcomer to the roster this week was the 2014 Acura RLX. The luxury midsize/full-size sedan that so confounded Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder makes its list debut at No. 4. Here's what else was popular:

1. 2013 Toyota RAV4
2. 2013 Chrysler Town & Country
3. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

4. 2014 Acura RLX
5. 2014 Subaru Forester
6. 2013 BMW 3 Series

7. 2014 Acura MDX
8. 2013 Ford Escape
9. 2013 Nissan Altima
10. 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

By Matt Schmitz | July 7, 2013 | Comments (0)

June's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

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June sales soared to the highest rate since 2007 as Detroit automakers piled on the deliveries, but foreign-based companies still had the balance of fastest-selling cars. Detroit automakers built just five of the 17 fastest sellers in June — a list long on SUVs and pickups, which accounted for more than two-thirds of its cars.

The redesigned Acura MDX, which hit dealerships June 20, rocketed to the top of the list. It took just five days to turn. So did the 2014 Ford Explorer and Escape, despite few changes for 2014 to the popular SUVs. Further down the list, perennial fast-sellers from Audi (the Q5 and Q7) ranked alongside new regulars like the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Hyundai Santa Fe.

BMW's gambit on an entry-level 3 Series appears to have paid off: The new 320i averaged just 14 days to sell. The sport sedan, which has similar equipment to last year's 328i but 60 fewer horsepower in exchange for a starting price that's $2,320 lower, including destination, accounts for 11% of all new 2013 3 Series inventory on Cars.com. It went on sale last spring — and each car stayed on dealer lots about as long as "Pacific Rim" appears likely to stay in theaters.

That's well below the month's overall average of 59 days to sell, which tracks near May 2013's 56 days. It's a bit slower than June 2012's 53 days.

Some slow-moving redesigns fall below that average. Hyundai's full-size Azera sedan, redesigned for 2013, averaged 82 days in June to sell. Ditto the redesigned Acura RDX and all-new Cadillac ATS, which sat on dealer lots an average of 87 days and 90 days, respectively. Sales results, however, were mixed: The ATS was Cadillac's second-best-selling model for the month, and RDX sales rose 30.2%. Only the Azera fell, with sales at a trickle — just 813 cars for the month, or one-eighth as many as the rival Toyota Avalon.

Here are June 2013's fastest- and slowest-selling cars:

By Kelsey Mays | July 3, 2013 | Comments (4)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: June 2013

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Ford and Nissan led the charge into Independence Day weekend with Ford reporting its best June since 2006 and Nissan logging its strongest month since Thomas Jefferson wore diapers. (OK, it was Nissan's best June in the U.S. ever, and Jefferson probably wore some kind of swaddling clothes.) June sales, in fact, played out like a children's T-ball game. Almost everyone got a pat on the back.

"The fundamentals for continued industry gains in new-vehicle sales remain intact," Chrysler sales chief Reid Bigland said in a company statement this morning. GM head economist Mustafa Mohatarem agreed: Americans "believe — with good justification — that the economic expansion is going to continue," he said in a separate statement.

Both are right. From consumer confidence to new-home construction, major June indicators suggested higher auto sales. That's exactly what happened: Sales for the top seven automakers increased 8.8%.

By Kelsey Mays | July 2, 2013 | Comments (10)

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

2013ToyotaRAV4

Not only did the No. 1 placeholder go unchanged on this week's list of most-read reviews — that, of course, belongs to long-term top-spot tenant the 2013 Toyota RAV4 — but the entire top six slots were identical to the previous week. In fact, the only thing substantially different this week was the return of the 2013 Nissan Altima at No. 7 after it dropped out of sight for a week. Here's what else was popular:

1. 2013 Toyota RAV4
2. 2013 Chrysler Town & Country
3. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
4. 2014 Subaru Forester

5. 2014 Acura MDX
6. 2013 Ford Escape
7. 2013 Nissan Altima

8. 2013 BMW 3 Series
9. 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
10. 2013 Honda Accord
By Matt Schmitz | June 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

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