2017 Ford Escape gives the people what they want [w/video]

Updated Styling, Better Tech, And Improved Storage Round Out Mid-Cycle Refresh

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Fun fact: The Escape is Ford's second best-selling vehicle right now, behind the F-150 pickup. Some 306,212 Escapes found homes in 2014, putting the Escape right behind the Honda CR-V in the incredibly popular small crossover segment. Ford is on track to sell even more Escapes in 2015, and that's before this heavily refreshed model even hits dealers.

The theme for the 2017 Escape refresh is giving the customers what they want. This redesign is an execution of Ford listening to customers who asked for more interior space, better storage solutions, and improved design. That's all found in this new model – it looks a lot nicer, and appears larger to our eyes, though it's still roughly the same size. Most of the sheetmetal is totally new, with only the roof, windshield, rear glass, and doors carrying over. Ford says its customers "equate quietness to quality," and to that end, improved insulation, more aerodynamic side mirrors, acoustic glass, and an underbody shield add to the Escape's already quiet ride. Other new or revised exterior features include LED taillamps, redesigned wheels, active grille shutters, and a windshield wiper defroster.

Larger changes are found inside. There's a redesigned steering wheel that not only looks better, but feels good in our hands. The center stack is redone to incorporate two cupholders and a phone slot, as well as an improved armrest. There's an electronic parking brake in place of the old lever, which saves space. The vents are reworked, the USB ports are now capable of a two-amp fast charge, and of course, Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system lives in the big center screen. With the 2017 Escape, Ford launches its Sync Connect app, allowing owners to check the fuel level, lock and unlock the doors, and start the engine remotely.

Powertrain options are largely carryover, with three engines on offer. The base Escape S uses a naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter inline-four, there's a 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder in place of the previous 1.6, and at the top end is Ford's 2.0-liter EcoBoost four, with 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. A sport appearance pack is available for 2017, and a bunch of improved safety features are available, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and more.

Ford's been known to do more than just the usual nip/tuck in its mid-cycle refreshes, and that's exactly what we have here. But if it keeps the Escape selling like hotcakes, then that's a win-win for everyone involved. Read all the details in Ford's press blast, below.

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Ford Launching Technology-Packed New Escape; More Connectivity, Innovative Features Make Driving Safer, Easier

- New Ford Escape gives SUV customers even more of what they want – additional innovative features to make their daily drive safer and easier, greater connectivity, two new EcoBoost® engines and technology that saves fuel in heavy traffic

- Escape is first Ford vehicle in the world with SYNC® Connect – customers can unlock and lock their doors, start engine, even locate vehicle through smartphone app

- Driver-assist technologies including enhanced active park assist, lane-keeping system, and adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with brake support make driving easier and safer

- Environmentally friendly Auto Start-Stop standard with Escape's two new EcoBoost engines – a 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter twin-scroll; technology shuts off engine in common stops so the vehicle uses no gas, improving fuel economy by 4 percent to 6 percent in stop-and-go traffic

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17, 2015 – The popular Ford Escape SUV is newly engineered to make customers feel unstoppable – with even more driver-assist technologies to help enable safer and easier driving, new mobile connectivity that allows owners to interact with their vehicle from anywhere through a smartphone app, and two new efficient EcoBoost® engines.

The new Escape is the first Ford vehicle in the world with available SYNC® Connect, allowing users to unlock doors, check fuel level and even locate where a vehicle is parked.

To help drivers feel more confident behind the wheel, driver-assist technologies available for the new Escape include adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with brake support, a lane-keeping system and enhanced active park assist. That's all packed in a vehicle that has been redesigned from the inside out, including a driver and front passenger area upgraded with more storage space and mobile device charge ports.

"The compact SUV segment is the largest and most competitive in the United States, and the new Escape delivers even more of what our customers want – more technology they can really use to make their daily drive safer and easier," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas.

SYNC Connect keeps drivers in touch with remote vehicle access

Need to lock your new Escape from across town? There is an app for that.

With SYNC Connect, owners can remotely start their vehicle and schedule future starts, as well as lock and unlock their Escape using their smartphones. The technology provides vehicle location, as well as Vehicle Health Report notifications of pending service requirements, including oil changes.

SYNC Connect, available with SYNC® 3 for the new Escape, comes with free activation for five years. A user enables the system through a two-step authentication process designed to protect personal information. SYNC 3 features faster performance, conversational voice recognition, intuitive smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface.
Driver-assist technologies SUV drivers want

Other driver-assist features available help make the daily commute safer and easier for drivers of the new Ford Escape:

- Adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with brake support: Sensors detect when Escape is approaching a slow-moving vehicle, and adjust cruise control accordingly
- Enhanced active park assist: Provides steering assistance to park the vehicle in a parallel or reverse perpendicular parking spot, and pull out from tight parallel parking spots; driver controls brake, accelerator and shifter. Technology includes side park distance control
- Lane-keeping system: The system includes lane-keeping alert, which alerts drivers when they drift unintentionally from their lane, and lane-keeping aid, which provides steering assistance to guide an unintentionally drifting vehicle back into its lane
- Driver Alert System: Using data from the lane-keeping system, the Driver Alert System can detect signs of fatigued driving and provide a warning on the instrument cluster
Already available driver-assist features for the new Escape include:
- Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert: BLIS® can alert drivers when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot in a neighboring lane. An indicator light provides a warning in the side mirror corresponding to the side on which the vehicle is approaching
- Hill-start assist: The feature holds the vehicle stationary on a hill long enough for the driver to transition from brake to gas pedal
- Auto high-beam control: System automatically switches from high to low beams, and vice versa, depending on ambient lighting
- Hands-free, foot-activated liftgate: Opens liftgate with the simple kick of a key fob-carrying customer's foot beneath rear bumper – perfect for those whose hands are loaded with gear

Two new EcoBoost engines with Auto Start-Stop

Escape is the first Ford vehicle to make Auto Start-Stop standard with either of two EcoBoost engines new to the model – a 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter twin-scroll. The technology senses when the vehicle is sitting idle and shuts off the engine to conserve fuel, resulting in a 4 percent to 6 percent improvement in fuel economy in stop-and-go traffic. The engine restarts automatically – in less than half a second – when the driver releases the brake pedal.

"Auto Start-Stop is the equivalent of turning off the lights when you leave a room, or turning off a water faucet when you're done washing dishes," said Milton Wong, Escape chief engineer. "It's a high-tech approach to more efficient driving."

Escape SE and Titanium trim levels come standard with the new 1.5-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost, while the powerful new twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost is optional. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the line, with new paddle-shift technology available for Escape SE and Titanium.

The twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost delivers 245 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque, along with greater efficiency and improved noise, vibration and harshness performance.

New pistons provide a higher, more efficient compression ratio, and a newly designed, integrated exhaust manifold is optimized for the twin-scroll turbo system.

The aluminum-block, twin-cam 1.5-liter EcoBoost with integrated exhaust manifold is projected to deliver horsepower and torque output comparable to the 1.6-liter – an expected 180 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque.

Along with the new EcoBoost offerings, the 2.5-liter i-VCT four-cylinder engine carries over as standard equipment for the Escape S series.
Three trim levels, with new Sport Appearance Package

Escape customers can continue to select from S, SE and Titanium trim levels, as well as a new Sport Appearance Package available for SE and Titanium.
Charcoal Black with subtle Deep Space black trim is available for Escape Titanium. Salerno leather seats feature a unique horizontal pattern. Titanium customers can also opt for Medium Stone seats to contrast with the black interior.

Escape will be offered in three new colors – Canyon Ridge, White Gold and Lightning Blue. Six new wheel designs are also available.

Built to lead in a growing segment

Overall SUV sales continue to trend higher – both in North America and around the world. SUVs now account for about one third of the U.S. auto industry, a number Ford projects will grow to 40 percent by 2020. In the United States, SUV sales are expected to exceed 5 million units in 2015 for the first time ever.

Small SUVs play an increasingly larger role, and Escape remains one of the most popular. Since its launch in 2000, more than 3 million units have been sold in the United States, including a record 306,212 Escape vehicles in North America in 2014. Ford expects Escape sales this year will exceed that figure.

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