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Los Angeles, CA
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The Ford Escape returns one year after an extensive 2013 redesign which gave it bold styling that is similar to the Focus as well as improved fuel economy and safety ratings.
For 2014, the Escape keeps the same engine options, the most exciting being a pair of “EcoBoost” engines which promise the power and acceleration that buyers want from a larger engine, while maintaining the fuel efficiency of a smaller motor by way of turbocharging and other technical tricks. It really is a perfect marriage that gives the Escape a leg-up on much of the competition. The smaller of the EcoBoost engines is a 173-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder, while a more powerful 237-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder replaces the old V-6 offering.
Inside, the Escape’s cabin has better fit and finish versus the outgoing model and offers very good cargo room and comfort. It also offers plenty of technology options including MyFord Touch and SYNC voice commands. The rear liftgate can also perform a cool party trick, with an optional powered rear liftgate that you can open by waving a foot under the rear bumper as long as you have the key fob in your pocket. No more struggling with packages or groceries in the rain.
Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...
Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.
How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?
Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.
How can you determine what's in your best interest?
Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.
In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.
How do you tell them apart?
If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?
With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.
Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.
How can you maximize your value?
The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.
Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.
How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?
Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.
Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.
How can you benefit from that?
We use your ZIP code to find accredited dealers in your area who will quote you their best internet price.