In the ultra-competitive world of SUVs, the Ford Escape has done quite well for itself. It’s the biggest seller of the Blue Oval’s SUV offerings and second only to the wildly popular F-150 beneath good ol’ Henry’s large lineup umbrella.
Ford has taken a strong offering and made it even better, both inside and out. With over 20 different competitor models for consumers to choose, this mid-cycle refresh shows that the 2017 Escape’s appeal is stronger than ever, complete with new engines, better looks, advanced technology and a well-designed cabin.
On the outside, the grill features a refined, sporty look. 17” wheels come standard along with six different choices of rims, and the LED tail lights and available LED day running lights give the Escape a refined, attractive look.
I’ve always like the appearance of the Escape, and the 2017 model sees a bit of proverbial “fat” trimmed, giving it a handsome stance and keeping it current and attractive against its competitors. Yes, it’s still easily identifiable as an Escape, as the full redesign isn’t due for a few years.
Beneath the hood is where most of the changes appear. Ford says it best: “Some drivers want maximum fuel efficiency, while others desire more punch at the pedal.”
Two new EcoBoost engines highlight the 2017 Escape and there are three engine choices available for drivers, all routed through a six-speed automatic gearbox, and are as follows:
- A carryover 2.5L, four cylinder motor producing 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque via a FWD drivetrain. Fuel ratings are 9.8 L/100km combined.
- A 1.5L EcoBoost, four cylinder giving out 179 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque available in FWD and AWD. Fuel ratings for this are 9.1 L/100km combined for the FWD and 9.8 L/100km combined for the AWD.
- And finally, the powerful 2.0 Twin-Scroll EcoBoost, four cylinder engine churning out 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque that runs on premium gasoline. FWD fuel ratings are 9.4 L/100km and AWD combined is 10.2 L/100km combined.
I had the 1.5 AWD offering for a week and was quite happy with the “get-up-and-go” factor, along with quickly getting up to speed for highway conditions, as well as with cruising on rural roads north of the city.
There’s very little road noise, making the drive that much more enjoyable. Cornering and handling are respectable considering the height of this popular class of vehicle, and the Torque Vectoring Control definitely helps keep the Escape balanced. Available on EcoBoost engines is the automatic start/stop function to help save fuel, and surprisingly, the Escape’s idle-off system is quiet when it jumps back to life, unlike others which are clunky and loud. All vehicles hold 61.3 litres of fuel.
Personally, I’d like to do away with the 2.5L offering as there’s fuel savings to be had with the 1.5 Ecoboost and the fact that the output between the 2.5L and 1.5L are close.
Inside, Ford has refined the cabin by getting rid of the lever-based parking brake and replacing it with a space-saving electronic one, along with rejigging the centre console allowing for more storage space (because we keep accumulating more things the more time we spend in our car, so Ford gave us a helping hand), along with a very comfortable, redesigned steering wheel.
The interior is spacious and seating is comfortable in both the leather and cloth seats. Available options include heated front seats and steering wheel to keep you warm as you battle colder temperatures.
Armed with SYNC3 (standard on the Titanium, available on the SE), the much improved available 8” touchscreen infotainment system is a breeze to operate and is keeping up with the times by being compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Yes, previous SYNC models had some kinks to iron out, but the current iteration is vastly improved and helps keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel, just like Jim Morrison intended. There’s even a new mobile app, Ford Pass, which lets you start/stop the engine and check the location and fuel levels of your car, along with other nifty features.
As Ford encourages you to fully utilize this vehicle (I think that’s where the utility part comes in) for whatever you do, be it urban or rural, there’s a generous 1,925L of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Oh, and speaking of which, full marks, Ford, for designing the 60/40 split rear seats to fold flat, making ski/Ikea/camping/moving excursions easier. The utilitarianism of the 2017 Escape will be well appreciated, that’s for certain.
Tech-wise, the new model sees new safety offerings available, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and departure warnings, along with upgrades to the park assist feature, and there’s still the Blind Spot Monitoring System and the very cool “kick beneath the tailgate to open the doors because my hands are full of stuff and I can’t reach my keys” feature.
Ford’s subtle cosmetic upgrades shown in the 2017 Escape will keep buyers interested while the two EcoBoost engines and technological boosts will help them escape (sorry, couldn’t help myself) against their strong import competitors.
Available in three trims - S, SE and Titanium - with plenty of goodies on to pick from on the option sheet, potential Escape drivers have many configuration options. Expect the mid-trim SE to be the hot seller, as was the case with the outgoing year’s model.
Priced from about $25,000 for the entry S to nearly $34,000 for the top of the line Titanium (before options/taxes/etc), Ford gives you plenty of bang for your buck, regardless of trim choice.
With the SUV/CUV market accounting for a consistent increase in overall vehicle sales in Canada, the 2017 Escape has strengthened its presence in this segment. If you’re in the market for an SUV that’s good looking, fuel efficient and tech heavy, definitely take the new Escape out for a spin or few.
Enjoy the full gallery below: