The Ford Escape receives a few notable updates for 2017. It also offers a handsome presentation, a roomy cabin for five and generous cargo space. Three trim levels (S, SE and Titanium) and three engine choices are available for Ford’s compact SUV.
The 2017 Ford Escape benefits from a mid-cycle refresh. Exterior changes include updated front and rear fascias and a redesigned hood. Inside, the Escape has a new electronic parking brake. The gear shift lever has been repositioned and a storage bin has been added to the base of the center stack. Updates have been made to the steering wheel, cup holders, center armrest and glove box.
While the base engine remains the same as it was in the 2016 model, the other two engine choices have been replaced with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four cylinder and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with twin-scroll technology. Both feature start/stop technology as standard equipment, which shuts off the engine during stops to conserve fuel.
On the tech front, new safety features include lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control with a forward collision system.
The Escape’s sleek appearance is not unlike that of a sporty hatchback. For 2017, this Ford features an all-new trapezoidal grille along with a sculpted hood. The wraparound headlights and taillights with available LED elements provide an upscale look.
The Escape offers six wheel designs and sizes ranging from 17 to 19 inches. Steel wheels are standard, and painted aluminum and machined aluminum wheels are among the available choices.
Standard features include daytime running lamps, LED tail lamps and a manual liftgate. Available features include body-color door handles, a silver or gloss-black grille, heated side mirrors, LED signature lighting, fog lamps, dual chrome exhaust tips, rain-sensing wipers and privacy glass.
A power liftgate is available on SE models and standard on the Titanium trim. The Escape Titanium can be upgraded with a hands-free gesture-operated liftgate. The system is useful, but we found the arrangement in the Hyundai Tucson is easier to use.
Offering room for five, the 2017 Escape makes excellent use of its interior space, and the front bucket seats are firm and supportive. The rear seat accommodates three, although two will fit more comfortably. Cloth seats are standard, while leather seats are included with the Titanium trim.
All models provide a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, power accessories and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. Available features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a compass and outside temperature display, The Titanium model has push-button start, remote start, an automatic dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, ambient lighting and a 110-volt outlet. Options exclusive to the Titanium include a heated steering wheel. A panoramic sunroof is available on all Escapes except the base model.
Standard cargo space is excellent, measuring 34 cubic feet behind the second-row seat. Behind the first row, there is 68 cubic feet of storage room, nearly matching the capacity of the midsize Ford Edge.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is standard on the S trim, and a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder is included with the SE and Titanium editions. Also available with the SE and Titanium trims is a twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All three engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on all trims, and all-wheel drive is available on SE and Titanium models.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine makes 168 horsepower and has an output of 170 pound-feet of torque. Models equipped with the standard engine make an EPA-estimated 21/29 mpg city/highway.
The 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine creates 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, the Escape delivers an EPA-estimated 23/30 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive an 22/28 mpg with all-wheel drive. The powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine makes 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. The EPA assigns this engine a rating of 22/29 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 20/27 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Our test vehicle was equipped with the twin-scroll turbocharged engine. With this engine, there is one turbocharger present with the twin scrolls gathering exhaust from cylinder pairs in a rotating progression, which helps eliminate turbo lag.
The Escape is fast out of the gate. Its available all-wheel drive system enhances handling as up to 100 percent of the available power is shifted between the axles. Consider all-wheel drive a bonus, especially if your driving habits lean toward the performance side.
The larger 19-inch wheels result in a harsh ride at times, but opting for the 17-inch wheels should eliminate that concern. Otherwise, most drivers should find the Escape provides snappy steering, confident handling and superior body control.
For 2017, the Sync 3 infotainment system is available with the Ford Escape, and it’s infinitely superior to the MyFord Touch system that’s found in earlier models. All Escapes have at least the basic Sync voice recognition, communication and entertainment system. Unfortunately, Sync 3 isn’t available with the base model. It’s standard on the Titanium and optional on the SE.
Sync 3 includes new hardware, new software, quicker execution and design that’s more user-friendly. Infotainment systems in models such as the Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sportage once had an edge, but with Sync 3, Ford has closed the gap.
AppLink supplies smartphone integration with more than 70 apps, which can be controlled by Sync 3’s interface. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are now present, improving the previous Siri-only integration.
Both the S and SE trims come with a six-speaker audio system. The Titanium brings in a 10-speaker audio system from Sony and offers superior sound quality throughout the cabin.
All 2017 Escapes are outfitted with a suite of air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag. A rearview camera, traction and stability control and a post-crash alert system are standard.
On the SE trim, an equipment package brings in blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Titanium trim offers lane keeping assist, bi-xenon headlights and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.
The 2017 Escape garnered a perfect five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Escape received top scores of Good in most Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests. The only exception was the small overlap test, where it received a slightly lower Acceptable rating.
Ford offers the 2017 Escape in S ($23,600), SE ($25,100) and Titanium ($29,100) trims, and there’s an $895 destination fee. Upgrading to all-wheel drive (not available on the S) adds $1,750 to your price. Opt for the high-performance engine and you’ll tack on another $1,295.
Our test Escape Titanium included the performance engine, all-wheel drive and the 301A equipment group ($1,995) that’s comprised of upgraded safety features, a heated steering wheel and automatic high beams. As delivered, this model retails for $34,285.
The SE trim is a very good place to start when shopping the 2017 Escape. Add in all-wheel drive, opt for the standard engine and choose the 201A equipment group package ($1,395) that adds an upgraded audio system, Sync 3 and blind spot monitoring, and your total reaches $28,390. Even with the optional power liftgate ($495) your final cost remains just below $29,000 before incentives are taken. At this point, you’re in the ballpark of other well-equipped SUVs, including the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V.
The refreshed Ford Escape is a strong competitor in a hot segment as it delivers an attractive package inside and out. The twin-scroll engine supplies a level of power that’s both impressive and satisfying.
Competing models such as the 2017 Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 should also be cross-shopped. All in all, the 2017 Escape is a hard model to beat.