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2017 Ford Escape Review and Road Test By Larry Nutson

2017 Ford Escape Review  (select to view enlarged photo)
2017 Ford Escape

2017 Ford Escape Review

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Ford has made some modest updates on the Escape for 2017. The front and rear have been restyled and there’s been some reduction in interior noise level as well as improvements in aerodynamics.

All-important safety updates now makes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane departure prevention optionally available. The Sync 3 infotainment system now has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smart phone integration.

And a first on any Ford, there’s a new FordPass App with SYNC Connect that allows drivers to lock, unlock and locate their vehicle, and to schedule remote starts—enabling interior cooling or heating, and check fuel level via a smartphone app.

2017 Ford Escape Review  (select to view enlarged photo)

I had a week’s time driving the top-of-the-line 2017 Escape Titanium. It was a front-drive model equipped with the new-for-2017 179HP 1.5-L turbocharged EcoBoost engine. I was a bit skeptical how this engine would perform, thinking if I were buying an Escape I’d go for the 245HP EcoBoost 2.0-L. It turned out my concern was short lived.

It so happened we needed to make a drive from Chicago to Southeast Michigan for a family event. The Escape was our road warrior with its1.5-L engine. It did a fine job of propelling us down the road in all kinds of traffic conditions with our three-person load and some luggage. Ford pairs a six-speed automatic with both this engine and the 2.0-L EcoBoost engine.

We managed to eek out 26 mpg on the overall 600 miles of our round trip while moving along with the prevailing flow of hurried weekend interstate travelers. The EPA test-cycle rating for 1.5-L engine in the FWD Escape is 26 mpg combined, with 23 city mpg and 30 highway mpg. With a little lighter load and slightly reduced cruising speed we would have been closer to the 30 mpg, in my opinion.

EPA test-cycle ratings for the 2.0-L EcoBoost FWD are very similar (22 mpg city. 29 mpg highway), so it might come down to opting for the larger engine if you frequently drive heavily loaded, in hilly terrain or perhaps tow.

The 1.5-L engine is equipped with a stop-start system, shutting the engine off when stopped at traffic lights to save fuel. The system worked very smoothly and I didn’t feel compelled to turn it off due to any annoyance like we’ve sometimes experienced on other brand vehicles.

Escape’s seating is comfortable and high for good outward view. The center console has been redesigned with plenty of space for mobile phones and other travel needs. A new push-button electronic parking brake, replacing the large, traditional hand-actuated parking brake, and repositioning the gear shifter rearward improves access to climate controls. In addition, a media bin has been added, offering access to a USB port and a covered power outlet. The redesign also features improved cup holders, two new storage bins and a larger center armrest.

2017 Ford Escape Review  (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

There’s plenty of cargo room in the Escape, as compact SUVs go, with 34 cubic feet behind the rear seat. It doubles to 68 cubic feet with the rear seat folded, making it very adequate for visits to the garden shop or home supply store. The rear liftgate on the Titanium trim is hands free, opening with just a swing of your foot under the rear bumper.

The Titanium FWD had a base price of $29,100 and topped out at $34,875 with the optional Technology Package, Panoramic Vista Roof, Adaptive Cruise Control, Navigation System, and a few other items.

The Tech Package includes Ford’s Active Park Assist System. This is the feature that will find the correct size parking space for you as you drive down a street and then do all the steering to get you parked with the driver operating throttle, brake and the transmission selector. It’s a pretty cool feature and a godsend to those who are parking-challenged. It does perpendicular parking as well, along with parallel.

A rear view camera, reverse sensing system and blind spot warning are all standard.

2017 Ford Escape Review  (select to view enlarged photo)

The Escape comes in S, SE and Titanium trims priced starting at $21,995. The SE and Titanium can be equipped with all-wheel-drive.

Detailed specs and product information on the 2017 Ford Escape can be found at You can shop other compact SUVs right here on The Auto Channel.

My Gen-Y daughter and her husband have a 2016 Escape and they’re very satisfied and it meets their needs. I think the Escape can fit well into many households no matter what the age of the driver. It’s a great vehicle for a young, new driver especially when equipped with the new driver-assistance safety features that might save them from an accident that all too often can plague the new driver.

The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have teamed up to provide an online, mobile- and tablet-friendly resource to help educate consumers. The website’s homepage lists the 28 technology and safety features present on vehicles today. This webpage is a great resource to consult when you are car shopping.

The good news for shoppers is that there are many very good compact SUVs on the market today. The 2017 Ford Escape with its updates continues to be a very viable consideration and should be on your shopping list.

© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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