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2017 Ford Review - 2017 Ford Escape By Larry Nutson

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2017 Ford Escape
Sweet Sixteen

4 Star Rating From The Auto Channel

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

Did you know that Ford’s number two big seller is the Escape? In this truck-centric U.S. auto industry it follows the F-150 in sales.

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The Escape is also celebrating its sixteenth birthday this year, having first come on the auto-scene in 2001 ( Side By Side By Side By Side 4 Car Comparagraph 2001-2017 Ford Escape). For 2017 the Escape has gotten a mid-cycle refresh with a nicely improved exterior design and many interior upgrades.

The front and rear have been restyled and there’s been some reduction in interior noise level as well as improvements in aerodynamics. Up front there’s a new grille and headlight design along with lower valence updates with fog lights and air intakes. In the rear the liftgate is reshaped and there are new taillights.

On the inside the transmission gear selector and electronic parking brake are new and they allow for better packaging that provides better storage space. Upgraded materials give the Escape an overall higher quality look and feel.

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All-important safety updates now makes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane departure prevention optionally available. A rear view camera, reverse sensing system and blind spot warning are all standard. The Sync 3 infotainment system now has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smart phone integration. The 8-inch touch screen has a pinch to zoom feature and the overall interface is much better.

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. The Escape is the first Ford to have this.

My recent drive in the Escape was the second with the 2017 model. Previously it was in the top-of-the-line 2017 Escape Titanium. Now I was in the SE trim level with front-drive and the new-for-2017 179HP 1.5-L turbocharged EcoBoost engine. The Titanium I drove also had the same drivetrain.

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The Escape is available in S, SE and Titanium trims and is priced starting at $23,750. The SE and Titanium can be equipped with all-wheel-drive.

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There are three engine choices for 2017. The 168-HP 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder comes only on the front-drive Escape S. The SE and Titanium can be had with either the 1.5-L turbo or a 245-HP 2.0-L turbo EcoBoost 4-cylinder. The only transmission is a six-speed automatic and the SE and Titanium have all-wheel-drive as an option.

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. EPA test-cycle ratings for the 2.0-L EcoBoost FWD are very similar at 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. If you’re towing (up to 3500 lbs) the bigger engine would be my recommendation.

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.

The Escape carries five and has a 60/40 split-fold rear seat for cargo-carrying versatility. An available hands free liftgate, opening with just a swing of your foot under the rear bumper, opens up 34 cubic feet of cargo space that expands to 68 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.

A 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.

There’s also a new Sport Appearance Package available on the SE and Titanium that includes 19-inch black-painted aluminum wheels and lots of exterior black trim instead of being bright and polished. Halogen projector headlamps, LED signature daytime running lamps, black-tinted taillamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter and sporty V-shaped partial leather-trimmed seats complete the package.

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

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I’ve always enjoyed the Escape in all my drive experiences. 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. Older, active-lifestyle empty nesters who have downsized to urban living will find the Escape the perfect size for getting around town but also roomy enough for another couple in the rear seat or for weekend getaways.

The 2017 Ford Escape with its updates continues to be a very viable consideration in the compact SUV segment and should be on your shopping list if you are in the market.

By the way, it’s built in the U.S. in Louisville, Kentucky home town of The Auto Channel corporate headquaters.

© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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