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2013 Escape: tow package or no tow package?

I’m planning to buy a 2013 Ford Escape with the 2.0 liter Ecoboost engine. I’m considering getting it equipped with the Class II trailer tow package. I’ve never needed to tow anything before, but then again, I’ve never had a vehicle that could tow anything. It’s really in the category of it-would-be-nice-to-have-if-I-ever-need-it. The option costs a little under $400.00.

The other option is to get it without the tow package (my dealer is having difficulty finding an Escape in the trim and configuration I want with tow package) and get it as an after-market add-on if I ever need it. I’m wondering, is an after-market tow package as effective and capable as the factory version? What about sway control? Can that capability be added as an after-market option? In short, what am I giving up if I don’t get the tow package from the factory?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies!

Hold out for a factory tow package. Its far better than a add on. Cheaper too. With a factory tow package you will a trans cooler, a tow/haul option on the sifter ( I think Ford does this?). Factory wiring for the trailer. There is more to it than just putting on a hitch.

There really is no such animal as an aftermarket tow package. Since the new Escape is really a smaller vehicle, a factory tow package is the way to go. It should include a larger capacity radiator, larger transmission cooler, and sturdier suspension components. Perhaps even tires with higer load capacity.

Lot’s of options are overpriced junk, but the tow package is a bargin and makes for a more robust vehicle. Even if you never tow anything it is worth the money.

Do your homework…The tow package might include a lower gear ratio, which will reduce your gas mileage whether you are towing anything or not. Also, 2 liter engines are very limited in towing ability, anything over 750 pounds will start to overtax the engine no matter what the sales brochures claim…

If you PLAN on towing, then yes, by all means get the factory package. Get the larger engine too…

+1 to Caddyman’s comments.

Factory tow packages, like many factory “offroad” packages, frequently include a lower final drive gear ratio. Most of the folks who get the offroad packages apparently like them because of the snazzy decals announcing the vehicle’s offroad capability, despite the reality that they will never take the vehicle offroad, and will pay dearly with their wallets at every fill-up, due to the decreased gas mileage. Additionally, if the vehicle will be used for a lot of expressway driving, they may actually reduce the lifespan of the engine, due to higher-than-normal revs.

There is a definite benefit to having a trans cooler, even if you never tow anything, and even if you only tow a few times, that factory wiring connector for a trailer is a nice thing to have. But, if you have to accept a lower final drive gear ratio as part of the package, you might want to reconsider the package unless you know for sure that you will be doing some towing.

You need to decide now, what weights you might tow. For the average utility trailer and small fishing boats, you need nothing more then a dealer or towing specialist installed hitch. For anything more, get a vehical designed for towing. I commend you putting a hitch on. You car car’s hitch will be good for bike racks and maybe a small trailer and load way under the 2000 lbs. That’s it…do nothing more, regardless of the optimistic 3500 lb rating of the package. An Escape is an SUV wannabe. When you start towing weights approaching the weight of a vehicle, do it with a purpose use vehicle designed from the bottom up for towing…

Get the factory package,money well spent,If you keep a ball in it it will add alot of protection to the back of the vehicle.Get a dedicated 4or5x8 trailer to use with it and dont overload it,it will be very handy(I wouldnt haul much more then 1200# with it,you will probaly wonder how you could along without it before-about as handy as a pickup)-Kevin

I want to swim against the flow here. You say you are not sure you will need it or not. There are a lot of options that one “might” need. So do you reallly plan on needing to tow on a regular basis? If you think this is going to be once in a blue moon thing, then skip the tow package and rent a truck for whenever the need arises. This might also give you a bit of bargaining leverage with the dealer too.
“Eh, yea, I want the tow package but if you cut me a deal today I might just take one without it”, doesn’t hurt to ask, you might get another $200 off the price.

VDC and Caddyman makes some good points about tow packages. Why bother if it does include a lower gear ratio and fewer mpg on an option seldom used. The standard hitch is enough for what the chassis was designed to tow…less then 2k.

See what the package includes, for class 2, a small receiver and connection might be it lights and hitch, if it adds trans and or oil cooler go for it.

A quick look shows that the factory tow package is entirely external additions of a hitch and sway control. These can also be bought aftermarket for around $190 + shipping (hitch, sway bar and plug-play light wiring). The hitch and anti-sway bar are bolt on options. OEM is always easiest and best but you can add towing to your 2.0L Ecoboost Escape at any time, relatively easily.

I’m sure you could get the factory package at a later date as well.

Pehaps an unnecessary feature, I don’t think Trailer Sway Control can be added. It is programmed into the electronic stability control system of the vehicle.

The 2.0L used in the new Escape is a turbo and has 270 lb/ft of torque, on a very flat torque curve. This engine can easily outgrunt most current V6’s. It’s not lacking for power.

Sway control bars are sold for this vehicle. They are most often combined with WD hitches but also used independently with short wheelbase vehicles. A simple but effective bar with springs to combat sway.

A sway control bar seems like a reasonable substitute for what Ford is offering but not quite the same.

The towing package takes the capacity from 2000 to 3500 lbs, with no change in final drive ratio. I’d get it, no question. It’s easy to need to tow more than 2000 lbs.

An Escape at only 3500 lbs it self, is a frame less, gut less tow vehicle. Framed vehicles are much easier to use load distribution hitches making them more capable IMO, of pushing this weight limit. It’s not just about motor capability, it’s about safety. Don’t bother with the tow package and don’t be tempted to tow more then the standard light fare. Especially with a vehicle whose pedigree includes the Pinto…just kidding, but Ford has a history IMO… I have towed lots of 3500lbs. boat loads and even well equipped 4runners, mid size trucks and mid size tractors required care and preparation…don’t even think about it with an Escape on the highway at speed. Being a frameless front drive derivative compact SUV, It’s the tail wagging the dog.

I’m not sure the super duty truck version is what is on this particular vehicle’s tow package. You’re right, they’re not the same but that does not mean the integrated sway control is superior. We can only speculate but if I could only choose one method, I would prefer something that begins to counteract the problem before it is felt at the wheels of the tow vehicle. The best case would be to have both. I’ve towed big RV type campers with and without sway bar controls and the difference is dramatic. Never experienced the Super Duty version though. Not really interested in testing it out either after this experience-

I was towing a '69 Jag on a dolly behind a small pickup truck once. I was much younger and willing to take risks back then :wink: I hit a bump in the road @ 40 mph and it quickly got out of hand. It started as a small sway but before I could regain control, the steering was going lock to lock and we were briefly on two wheels in the truck. Some moron passed me while this was going on! The guy in the passenger seat was white as a ghost. Could have been looking in a mirror based on how I felt. It broke the rope we had tied to the steering wheel (prior to steering locks). I’ll never forget that experience and it was the last time I used a dolly…