The Escape is one of Ford’s bestselling models, second only to the F-Series, and it’s also one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market. It’s not difficult to see why. The Escape boasts a roomy interior, fun driving dynamics, and excellent cargo room. First released for the 2001 model year, this SUV is now in its third generation. For 2017, Ford has completely refreshed the model, updating its exterior styling, improving the interior layout, and offering two new engine options.
Buyers will be able to choose from three different trim levels: the base S, the sportier SE, and the premium Titanium version. The starting MSRP for a base model is $23,750, while the SE has a starting price of $26,145. The Titanium starts out at $30,145, but with all of the upgrades and extra features included, this version can come in at around $38,000.
The Escape has two rows of seating, and five people can fit comfortably. Its interior is spacious and well-designed. Escape fans may notice that the interior materials are of better quality than in previous versions. In addition, the 2017 model features a larger and more comfortable center armrest. Also new is an electronic parking brake, which allows for easier access to the climate controls and frees up room in the center console for larger cup holders and more storage space. With the seats up, the Escape’s usable storage area measures 34.3 cubic feet. If you put them down, the volume increases to 67.8 cubic feet.
The exterior has also been redesigned. Most notably, Ford has updated the grille, and it now has an aggressive, hexagonal shape. The back bumper and taillights have a squarer appearance than previous incarnations. A hands-free power liftgate is available on the Titanium trim. Opt for the new sport package on the SE or Titanium, and you’ll get blacked out accents, black 19-inch wheels, and a darkened grille inset. Three new paint colors are available for 2017: Canyon Ridge, White Gold and Lightning Blue. Eight colors are available overall. The Escape has a wheelbase of 105.9, a length of 178.1, and a height of 66.3 inches.
Performance and Fuel Economy
Escape buyers will be able to choose from three different engines, all which come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The base S trim level has a 2.5L iVCT that delivers 168 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. Although some drivers may find this engine to be too weak for them, it gets decent gas mileage for an SUV. The S trim offers an estimated 21 city/29 highway mpg. However, the base model only comes with front-wheel drive. If you want all-wheel drive, you’ll need to upgrade to the SE or Titanium. Towing capacity of the base model is around 1,500 lbs.
The SE and Titanium models come standard with a 1.5L turbocharged EcoBoost engine that puts out 179 horsepower with 177 lb.-ft. of torque. It gets 23 city/30 highway mpg (FWD) or 22 city/28 highway mpg (AWD). If you crave more power under the hood, you can upgrade to the new 2.0L turbocharged engine. Although it will cost you an extra $1,295, this engine offers the best performance and acceleration, creating 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is only slightly lower than the 1.5L. It gets an estimated 22 city/29 highway mpg (FWD) and 20 city/27 highway mpg (AWD). Add on an optional tow package, and the towing capacity with this engine is an impressive 3,500 lbs.
Also standard on the upper trim levels is an automatic stop-start feature. This will shut your engine off when you come to a complete stop and turn it back on when you put your foot on the gas. This can increase your fuel efficiency while driving in the city, as you won’t waste as much gas if you need to stop frequently at lights. It can be switched off if you’re uncomfortable driving with it.
The 2017 Escape offers an impressive array of technology features. Buyers can enjoy an 8-inch touchscreen with Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system. It includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which makes it easy to use the apps on your smartphone while driving. The touchscreen layout will be similar to the layout on your phone, making it simpler to navigate through the options. Ford has improved their voice recognition system and made it easier to zoom in on the navigation system’s maps.
The new FordPass with Sync Connect is a very attractive option. When you connect to the app, you’ll be able to find your Escape in the parking lot, check the fuel level, and start the engine remotely. It even allows you to schedule maintenance at the dealership and request roadside assistance.
This year’s Escape also uses technology to create a safer driving experience. Some of the most advanced safety features on the market are available, including:
• Adaptive cruise control
• Lane-keep assist
• Forward collision warning
• Hill-start assist
• Blind spot warning
How it Compares
The compact SUV category is a fast-growing segment of the automotive market. The Escape competes with a number of other models, including the Toyota Rav4, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, and Mazda CX-5. The CR-V is perhaps the most popular option on the market, and it beats the Escape when it comes to cargo volume. With the rear seats down, the CR-V offers 75.8 ft cubic feet of space, which is a full eight feet more than the Escape. The Tucson and the Rav4, meanwhile, get better fuel economy.
In terms of style, the Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage are sportier. However, the Escape and the Sportage are the only big names in the segment that have been updated for 2017. For many buyers, the exterior style on the other models may seem outdated. The Escape also outshines the competitors in terms of towing capacity. Its most powerful engine can tow up to 3,500 lbs. The CR-V and Rav4 both have a maximum capacity of 1,500 lbs.
Pros and Cons
With its roomy interior and top-notch infotainment system, the 2017 Escape is a great option for buyers looking for a compact SUV that’s functional for driving on a daily basis. The plethora of safety features available will give you peace of mind whether you’re making a long trip on the highway or navigating city streets. This model is especially attractive if you want a powerful engine that allows you to tow a lot of weight.
There aren’t many cons to choosing the Escape. It may have less room than the CR-V, but most drivers will find the cargo space adequate. If you place a strong priority on fuel economy, the Hyundai Tucson may be a better option, as it outperforms the Escape in this area.