Let the sun shine in

2013 Ford Escape SE

Price: $27,360

If the Escape appears surprisingly contemporary, it's because Ford completely redesigned it for 2013. It now looks more like the rest of Ford's crossover family. In addition to drastically improving Escape's curbside appeal, the makeover stretched the wheelbase by nearly 3 inches, creating more passenger space. The SE benefits from the new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that's a member of the Ford EcoBoost engine family. Delivering 178 horsepower, it and the six-speed automatic transmission conspire to deliver an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Seven airbags help protect passengers. Ford doesn't require an expensive options package to add the panoramic roof. It's a standalone extra that adds $1,395 to the cost.