The Blue Oval team still offers a better way to Escape, with three fuel conscious models from their SUV stable: a 1.5-liter and a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged EcoBoost, as well as a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder with iVCT.
The carryover 2.5-liter motor still delivers 168 horsepower and 170 lbs.-ft. of torque. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost is a bit more powerful, with 179 horsepower and 177 lbs.-ft. of torque. The most potent mill of the three is the 2.0-liter engine, that pumps out 245 horsepower and 275 lbs.-ft. of torque. All three powerplants are DOHC, 16-valve four cylinder units. The 2.5-liter engine comes with electronic sequential multiport fuel injection, while the other two are direct injected. All powerplants connect to a specially calibrated, electronically controlled six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. It does have a manual mode, and gears driving force to either the front wheels or to Ford’s Intelligent 4-Wheel Drive system. This particular Ford Escale SE is a front-wheel drive model.
The 2017 Ford Escape is available in three levels of trim: The base model Ford Escape S; the Ford Escape SE; and the cream-of-the-crop Ford Escape Titanium. If you’re looking for a hybrid version, this won’t be the car for you. The Escape Hybrid was dropped from the lineup in 2013. Despite that, the Ford Escape has been the best selling SUV in America, and the company’s goal is to continue raising the bar even higher with enhanced efficiency and technology.
My test 2017 Ford Escape SE was powered by the 1.5-liter EcoBoost unit. The exterior was sprayed in Canyon Ridge (Bronze) Metallic, while the interior is Charcoal and Black. The base price for the Ford Escape SE is $25,250. However, this model has some optional equipment that brought the final price to $29,975. Options included the SE Technology Package, voice-activated navigation system, power liftgate, and the Sport Appearance Package.
From the standpoint of visual appeal, the 2017 Ford Escape SE’s exterior styling has been revised from the previous model. It reflects an evolution in Ford’s design language. It’s still a far cry from the original, boxy Escape form and adopts a look that is more youthful and athletic. Some styling cues display elements that replicate those found in other closely-related Ford models.
The nose showcases a large lower grille flanked by side air inlets that house the integrated fog lamps and signals. Farther up is a recessed grille just below the sculpted hood’s leading edge that is centered between jewel-like wrap-around headlamps. The profile is sleek and aerodynamic, with outer hood character lines flowing into the “A” pillars, which border the sharply raked windshield, and lead onto the curved roofline that travels in a declining rearward line to the reverse angled “D” pillar. Wheel wells are accented by prominent fender arches front and rear, with shoulder and rocker character lines that rise aft suggesting motion even when the Escape is at a standstill. From the rear, the Escape features a large gate window that dips into and follows the total surround shoulder line and incorporates the wraparound taillamps. Dual exhaust tips finish off the sporty rear image.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Moving into the cabin, this latest iteration Escape’s interior provides a modern and optimally user-friendly layout with sensible control placement. For instance, drivers can now shift using paddle shifters, replacing the thumb switch on the left side of the gear selector knob. The navigation and information screen is also large and easy to read. Materials feature a soft touch, with the fit and finish well executed and symmetrically balanced. The seats provide heightened comfort and support.
Technology abounds in the Ford Escape SE. Drivers can open the available power liftgate by running their foot under the front bumper. Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system enhances personal connectivity and entertainment for occupants. An optional active Park Assist automatically parks the vehicle without any steering input from the driver. Add the Blind Spot Information System, Curve Control, Torque Vectoring Control and the Escape’s capability borders on autonomous.
This 2017 Ford Escape SE FWD not only delivers a pleasing effect in terms of its looks. It also serves up features and equipment that enhance the total driving experience, along with sporty handling characteristics. Performance delivered by the 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-banger is perfectly adequate with pleasing acceleration and smooth shifting. The steering provides reassuring on-center feel. The ride quality is comfortable – firm and stable without being too harsh.
TFLCAR’S TAKE: The 2017 Escape in any of its trim levels truly represents a smart CUV in a sensibly sized and affordable format. Pressing hard as members of the press often do, mileage results that generally fell short of the projected levels. However, once the Ford Escape SE is fully broken in and driven in “real-world” conditions, it’s likely that drivers can hit the car’s estimated mileage figures. Final assembly of the 2017 Ford Escape takes place at Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant.
To see how the Escape stacks up against the competition, check out the video below. Here, the 2017 model squares off against its two main rivals: the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Ford Escape SE FWD
|Price as Tested:||$29,975|
|Engine:||1.5-liter, direct-injected EcoBoost inline-4 w/ Auto Stop/Start|
|Horsepower:||179 hp @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque:||177 lbs.-ft. @ 2,500 RPM|
|Transmission:||6-speed SelectShift automatic|
|Suspension:||Front: Independent MacPherson strut w/ stabilizer bar and twin-tube shocks
Rear: Independent double-later, semi trailing arm w/ stabilizer bar and twin-tube shocks
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs w/ ABS, EBC and AdvanceTrac Roll Stability Control|
|Tires:||Continential ContiProContact P235/45 R19 95H|
|Fuel capacity:||15.4 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||23 City/30 Highway MPG|
|Width:||72.4 inches (excluding mirrors)|
|Turning Circle:||38.8 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,526 pounds|