Saturday, November 09, 2013

Escort Passport Max review

A bit of marketing finesse was needed for the rollout of the Escort Passport Max. Positioning the newcomer was a delicate task; very profitable models already capped each of the company's two key product segments. The flagship Escort Passport 9500ix uses GPS to eliminate false alarms while protecting from red light and speed cameras. The Escort Redline is non-GPS, trading instead on its prodigious radar performance.

The Escort Passport Max aims to straddle both segments. It’s priced above its siblings, the lofty tariff justified by GPS and an undefined attribute nebulously called "HD performance".

The challenge was to establish a new segment for the Max but without cannibalizing too many sales from the Escort Passport 9500ix or Escort Redline.

The Escort ad copy hints at high performance but carefully avoids specifics.  Instead of clobbering both predecessors on sensitivity (radar warning range), the Escort Passport Max conceivably could be tuned to discreetly fall in between the 9500ix and Redline. I elected to wait before a test, racking up 1,500 miles with an early-production Max while giving Escort time to make any tweaks.

Once its firmware was finalized and the production lines were humming, I took a pair of Escort Passport Max units to our desert test site to measure performance. For comparison I took along a Passport 9500ix and an Escort Redline.

Judging from the results, my wait was worthwhile. And the test dispelled any speculation about whether the Max has competitive performance. See the review and test results to learn the truth about the Escort Max.