Once we landed in Florida, I was pretty much done with traveling but we had several more hours to go by car. I booked a rental car through Priceline and was able to secure a full size car for $35 dollars per day plus applicable taxes and fees (which, let me tell you, there are a lot of). Our reservation was for Budget Rental Car and I was excited to try a Ford Taurus out for a test drive. When we went to check in, they didn’t have enough full size cars so they asked if a Ford Escape would be a suitable alternative. Having driven a SUV for the last six years, I was actually pretty happy that we ended up in the Escape. You know what really grinds my gears? When companies nickel and dime you for every little thing. It’s ridiculous. I prepaid for car rental, less the expense of borrowing a car seat from them (which is an entirely different story) but still ended up with about 80 dollars in charges. Add to that the fact that they strongly (and when I say strongly I meant they laid it on pretty thick…pretty, pretty thick) suggested that I get one of several different add-on options which would have added a couple hundred dollars onto my bill at the end of my rental. Why do companies pull crap like this? It’s ridiculous. I wish they would have one price up front which included taxes and erroneous fees so that you know what to expect when you drive away.
My absolute favorite (said in the most sarcastic tone possible) “option” they “offered me was a pass to use on Florida’s toll roads. All you have to do is move the device to the “on” position and go. The company charges a $2.95 “convienience” fee to use the device but when you look into how it works…it doesn’t save you from the tolls. The driver is still responsible for paying all toll fees but the pass makes it quicker to get through the line. Oh, and if you elect to use the device, they charge you EVERY day until the rental is complete (whether you use it or not). Good idea, Budget, good…idea.
Now onto the fun part…
I love the Ford Escape. Seriously. Budget put me in a 2012 Ford Escape SEL with Ecoboost as my rental car and I thought I’d give it a quick review. You might be asking yourself…what makes me qualified to give my opinion on this vehicle? In the last 11 years, I’ve driven (long-term) a Chevy Malibu, Oldsmobile LS 88 (I’m not proud of it, but it happened), 2006 Ford Escape, Saturn Vue, and my current vehicle a 2011 Kia Sorento. I’ve also been able to test drive (through rentals and borrows) the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Tahoe, Dodge Journey, Dodge Durango, and Chrysler 300. In my most recent job, most of my clients were car dealerships so I’ve done some research on current cars, driving habits, etc. Now all that said…onto the review:
The 2012 Ford Escape SEL with Ecoboost is a GREAT drive.
I would like to own one (someday).
Things I loved:
-The pedal was pretty light which is a huge difference from the 2006 model that I owned.
-The Ecoboost is amazing. In the four hour + drive that we had today, we used just about half a tank of gas. It is absolutely unreal.
-It is so spacious. The legroom is incredible and the head room is great too. The only thing I was a little “iffy” about was the fact that there isn’t a ton of horizontal space on the center console so if you’re used to sharing that space with your spouse (like I am) it takes a little getting used to. I think that’s a very minor issue that you wouldn’t even notice in time but it was worth mentioning.
-The dual climate control available in the SEL is wonderful. I like to keep the car cool when I drive and so I set my side to 68 degrees while the husband felt comfortable with his 71 degree setting.
-It gets really good pickup.
-The turning radius is really great. I had to make a quick U-turn when we got onto the island because we missed our turn and it was really smooth.
-It’s sleek. Oh so sleek. I might even feel inclined to call it sexy. Bottom line: It’s a nice looking car.
-It is so quiet. C slept comfortably and that’s something I appreciate in a vehicle. This is also pretty different from the 2006 model.
-It comes equipped with a USB plugin AND A/V plugin to use on the huge screen (which uses touchscreen technology for navigation, entertainment, etc).
Things I didn’t like:
-I don’t think (and I might be wrong on this) that the model I am driving this week is AWD which, for someone living in Florida, isn’t a big deal but for us central Midwesterners, it’s necessary. I’m sure that you could purchase an AWD model so it’s a nonissue.
-My 2011 Kia Sorento has a feature where you can drive the vehicle in either Automatic or Manual. I haven’t used the Manual much but the husband said that’s an option he would have liked to see in the Escape.
All in all it’s a great car and I really like it. I highly suggest that any of my friends who are looking to purchase a new SUV take this for a test drive. I promise you’ll be as impressed by it as I am.
Kudos to you if you made it through this entire post. I owe you a cookie. I’ll leave you with this, the question of the day: What do you like most about traveling?