2017 Ford Escape is Turbocharged Goodness

2017 Ford Escape (Aaron)

The Ford Escape saw a bit of a styling update for 2017 along with a new EcoBoost engine and some technological updates. The Escape remains sporty, fun, and economical. It remains a top choice in the compact crossover segment.

The manufacturer says

2017 Escape is smarter than ever. Available technology can alert you to unintentional lane drift, warn you of a vehicle in your blind spot, auto-maneuver you into (or out of) a tight parking spot, or open the available hands-free, foot-operated liftgate with just a gentle kick under the rear bumper. And the EcoBoost® engines feature Auto Start-Stop Technology to help save fuel when you're driving in the city.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Ford
  • Year, Model: 2017 Escape
  • Class, Type: Compact crossover
  • Base Price: $23,600
  • MSRP as tested: $33,915
  • Availability: Now

Overview

On the outside, the 2017 Ford Escape is a great-looking compact crossover that blends the sporty styling of Ford’s sedans with the size and capability of the company’s sport utilities. The Escape has a great look that has a lot of appeal. Inside, things see some changes to bring the Escape forward to today’s expectation, with more storage cubbies and niches for gadgets and gear.

Technology is a big selling point in this fast-growing segment and the Escape sees changes there as well. Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment is now available in the 2017 Escape, adding a lot of connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford’s new FordPass with Sync Connect is also available, allowing a lot of control through your smart phone to set various things such as valet mode, limited speeds and range for teenagers, and the like.

Safety and driver assistance options see a lot of change in the new Escape as well. Lane-departure and forward collision alerts are now available and Ford seems to have tweaked the adaptive cruise to make it more suitable to everyday driving, compared to when we last used this.

Finally, engine options have changed a bit for 2017 with the Escape now having three choices, all of which mate to a six-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a 24 mpg combined EPA rating in front-wheel drive and 22 mpg combined in all-wheeldrive. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine carries over from last year, but sees some tweaks so that output is slightly higher while fuel economy remains about the same at 25 mpg combined (22 city, 29 highway) in FWD and 23 mpg combined in AWD. A new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine is now being offered, with this tiny four-cylinder putting out 179 horsepower with an EPA rating of 26 mpg combined (23/30) or 24 mpg combined with AWD.

In the real world, of course, those numbers are negotiable. Our 2.0L AWD test model received only 20 mpg all told due to heavy crosswinds and a couple of days of bad weather. We noted that the vehicle struggled under these conditions to stay at our freeway cruise speed, telling us that the tow rating given to the 2017 Escape is likely only to be used very occasionally.

What we like

Very well done interior with plenty of room.

Fun drive dynamic around town and on twisty highways.

What we don't

EcoBoost engine can struggle if heavily loaded.

Not as fuel efficient as some competitors.

Conclusions

Overall, the 2017 Ford Escape is a comfortable, fun-driving little crossover with enough fuel efficiency to please most buyers in this segment. The interior is roomier than expected and cargo hauling is more versatile than might be considered at first glance. Unless fuel economy is your primary goal, we recommend staying with the 2.0L EcoBoost as your engine of choice.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The Escape was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of 276 miles were put on the vehicle in varied driving conditions with various passenger loads.

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