So often it is easy to notice all the SUV owners and wonder why on earth they’re everywhere. Recent times has shown a huge trend towards a high riding hatch, all the way to a high riding wagon. Ford is catering for all sizes of SUV and we might have found the sweet spot.

The Ford Escape sits in the mid-size SUV space, it’s small enough to go anywhere without a fuss yet capable enough to fit the family and even partake in some gentle off road behaviour. Powered by a turbo diesel engine the Escape has power down low and capable of towing if required. We managed to achieve and average close to 7L/100km which was a little higher than expected for a diesel. The dual-clutch automatic gearbox feels smooth and keeps highway cruising quiet and paddle shifters are even available if you’re feeling a little sporty. The shifter for the automatic gearbox though is in an extremely awkward position. It is easy to access but it gets in the way of the infotainment and car controls, we found ourselves hitting the shifter far too often.

From an infotainment and interior features list, the 8 inch screen handles and displays Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with ease, DAB digital radio and more. Climate control and heated seats round out the important elements towards creature comforts. Vents are also available in the rear with a 12 volt port for rear passengers too. The seating is comfortable and adjustable via easy electric toggles, looking above you’ve see the large glass roof with sunroof and blind. This lets in so much lovely light and a view of the stars at night.

Passengers in the rear will appreciate the fold down tables and cup holders, handy for holding an iPad on long trips or eating some Maccas. The electric opening rear boot can be opened at the push of a button or by waving your foot under the car, handy for when you’ve hands are loaded. The space in the boot is also impressive, easily capable of swallowing luggage and flat folding rear seats mean there isn’t much that won’t fit in this SUV.

Driving the Escape immediately tells you why this segment is popular. You’re sitting high enough to have confidence over the cars around you, enough ground clearance that you’re not afraid to pop the car onto the grass in the park or up a dirt covered hill. The Escape doesn’t feel like an SUV, it’s like driving the Ford Focus with a booster seat. It handles rather well and will only surprise you the more you encourage it to do more.

Walking around the car, it reminds me of a tough little brother. The large grill at the front looks menacing and the dual rear exhausts add to a sporty look. The 19 inch wheels with low profile tyres keep the Escape from looking like an off road warrior but they’re large enough to handle the simple challenges. At less than $50,000 this SUV is a great option for the growing family who value portability over serious off road capability. It’s a little from column A and a little from column B, it’ll take you to all the places you want to C.