In the last year, the demand for more affordable, efficient, and overall greener vehicles has reached an all-time high. Here in Birmingham, auto dealers say interest in the alternative car market is gaining momentum-especially during weeks like this one, when commuters saw the cost of gasoline jump an average of ten cent per gallon, while also learning from a new report that Birmingham traffic congestion cost $458 million last year. We couldn’t have thought of a better week to test drive one of the market’s most fuel-efficient and sustainably made cars, the 2013 Ford Escape.
After learning that more and more automakers are jumping on board with meeting consumer demand for increased fuel efficiency, we were excited to hear that Ford in particular, is dedicating efforts to helping with greenhouse gas reduction and using a wide range of sustainable materials in its vehicle manufacturing. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised to learn about 85% of materials used to create Ford vehicles are recyclable.
The new Ford Escape, a compact SUV created with the intent to recover approximately 95% of its materials in the end-of-life-process, can hardly be compared to former models. In addition to the integration of Ford’s sustainable materials strategy, the Escape is sleek and sporty, and with plenty of interior room and high tech gadgets to “ooh” and “awe” over, this crossover is sure to appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers.
We were impressed to find that the cushions and fabrics used to create our extremely comfortable seats were made from soy-based polyurethane foam and post-industrial yarn. We also would have never guessed that the ample storage bins throughout, as well as the interior door panels were both made using wheat straw and other plant fiber-reinforced plastics.
Other sustainable aspects of the Ford Escape feature interior padding made with post-industrial cotton from recycled blue jeans, and biodegradable plastic parts made with sugars made from corn, beet and cane. Yet, as excited as we are about all of the green-minded thought behind building the new Ford Escape, we know that for some folks, when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle, there are additional priorities.
Ford’s new Escape is available in four different options: base S, SE, SEL and Titanium. With three engine choices, all termed “EcoBoost”, and offering 30 mpg or better on the highway, according to Ford estimates, we could easily see why this compact SUV is so appealing to those looking for better fuel efficiency. In fact, a salesman at Birmingham’s Adamson Ford, where we test drove the Ford Escape, said they don’t stay on the lot for very long, and when necessary, area Ford dealerships will often turn to each other for the highly sought after vehicle.
Once on the road, we took a drive around Railroad Park. Despite the bumpy terrain amid the surrounding construction site, the Escape drove incredibly smooth. And while the idea of a turbocharged engine might generate thoughts of loud, rapid acceleration, the Escape SEL ran very quiet. Its stadium style seating makes all the difference you’d imagine, and features like the Active Park Assist, which helps parallel park the car, and the blind spot warning system, are all affordable perks that come with the standard technology package.
Affordability, energy efficiency, and overall greener approaches are just a few of the top reasons attracting local consumers to the alternative vehicle market. Yet, with choices like the 2013 Ford Escape becoming more widely available locally, we’re excited to see Birmingham drivers realize the many benefits associated with Eco-driving.
Written by Kate Agliata