2017 Escape New Car Test Drive
The Ford Escape, unlike most compact crossovers, is more like a tall wagon with rakish styling and sporty handling. Competitors include the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5, but the Escape offers the most responsive steering, crispest handling, and best body control (the CX-5 is a close second). The Escape also has the firmest ride; you don't get that sporty handling for nothing.
The 2017 Ford Escape gets freshened for the model year. Revised styling in front gives it the striking family looks Ford recently copied from Aston Martin. That small styling revolution for Ford goes back to the 2013 Ford Fusion, but it isn't dated yet. In fact, it might never be; the Aston grille shape goes back 50 years.
There are two new engines, a 1.5-liter replacing a 1.6, and a new version of the 2.0-liter. The new engines don't make much more horsepower than before, now 179 hp for the 1.5-liter, and 245 hp for the 2.0 liter, but they are more efficient than before. There is also a 2.5-liter making 168 horsepower, which only comes with front-wheel drive.
All-wheel drive is available with the 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter engines.
There are new available infotainment and safety features for 2017 Ford Escape models. Ford's Sync Connect now enables remote access to the car's functions via smartphone. New safety systems for 2017 Escape include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with braking, lane keeping, active park assist that can steer the car into a parking space. A warning on the dash goes off if the car senses the driver is tired. Blind-spot monitoring continues to be available.
The 2016 Escape only received four stars overall for crashworthiness from the federal NHTSA, and a lowly Poor rating from the insurance industry's IIHS in the small overlap front test (hitting a telephone pole or edge of a wall).
Fuel mileage is decent but not a reason to buy the car. The three engines get about the same: the 1.5-liter is EPA-rated at 26 miles per gallon Combined, the 2.0-liter at 25 mpg, and the 2.5-liter at 24 mpg. If a purchase were measured on this just this basis, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost is the clear winner for us because it offers so much more power.
The 2017 Ford Escape comes in Escape S ($23,600), Escape SE ($25,100), and Escape Titanium ($26,850) models. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is available for Escape SE ($29,000) and Escape Titanium ($30,850). (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Available features include Sync 3 infotainment, navigation, HD and satellite radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, push-button start, tow package, panoramic sunroof.