2017 Ford Escape Titanium
Buckle up as we have a go in Ford’s reboot of the popular Escape
So Ford finally gave up on the MyFord Touch infotainment system?
As the sun sets on the MyFord Touch era, a new day dawns with SYNC 3, its revamped replacement. Actually, revamped isn’t the proper term- re-imagined or re-thought more aptly describes the new tech. MyFord Touch did show some promise but it was plagued by complex menu layers, poor response times or other miscellaneous gremlins that reared their heads often- we cringingly recall driving a Focus whose screen went completely blank while the stereo was cranked at almost full volume for a good chunk of a long trip. SYNC 3 appears to have been designed by those who conceive operating systems for smartphones, meaning that it’s clean and intuitive right off the bat for most folks. Pleasing graphics, super fast responses to your commands and cool stuff like pinch to zoom on maps make for a genuinely pleasurable user experience. It just might be the new standard to which all others are judged, regardless if you’re comparing it to cars within its class or vehicles that cost much more.
Roger that. What else is different?
The changes are not easily seen when you clap eyes on the 2017 Escape, but park beside a 2016 vintage and the nips and tucks are much more obvious. Because it’s a mid-cycle refresh, there isn’t anything profoundly different, but the subtle tweaks go a long way. The front end is significantly more handsome with its projector beam headlamps and corporate Ford grille- gone is the trapezoidal theme of before. Taillights ditch the flowing design for sqaurish motif and the one detail that does carry over are those pseudo porthole fender vents that look much better on a 1990’s Buick then they do on the Escape. Inside it’s the same- a relocated gear selector, a much better looking steering wheel and SYNC 3 round out the major changes in the cabin. Under the hood, the outgoing 1.6 litre shrinks by 10 cubic centimeters to 1.5 and the top rung 2.0 turbo which our tester was endowed with gets a slight bump in power to 245 horsepower and a robust 275 lbs/ft. of torque. This current generation of Escape is the most popular vehicle in the Ford lineup if you don’t count the F-150 so while some alterations are welcome, they had to be careful not to alienate their loyal customer base.
How’s the drive?
The Escape feels kind of like an enlarged Focus with increased ground clearance which means it drives quite well. Our tester wore 19” wheels and tires which didn’t have much of a negative effect on ride quality and with the new shocks that are part of the overhaul, it handles fairly well for what it is. Steering is precise and the brakes scrub off speed with alacrity. As good as the Escape is, it still has some work to do if it’s going to mount a serious challenge to CX-5 which is the class of the field where diving dynamics are concerend. Most folks who will pout the Escape in their driveway will find its attributes more than satisfying, however.
They’ve really stocked the Escape with features, haven’t they?
Our top spec tester had everything you could ever want- collision warning system, self-parking, a heated steering wheel and an incredibly handy foot activated hands-free power rear liftgate. They also throw in a banging Sony stereo with Sirius radio, lane keeping assist and climate control system that blows colder than a Northern Ontario winter that is much appreciated after the Escape has languished in a parking lot with no shade on a sweltering day.
Are there any areas where total greatness escapes the Escape?
Ah, very clever. But yes, there some components of the Escape experience that could use a little work. There is a higher than expected level of wind noise when you’re on the highway. And speaking of which, even with a good amount of highway driving during our time with the Escape, we couldn’t manage any better than 12.4L/100km in fuel consumption, meaning we spent more time in the ‘boost’ camp rather than ‘eco’. Ford quotes 10.2 for combined fuel economy- your mileage will certainly vary as ours clearly did. The other issue boils sown to dollars and cents, and at $41,939 our loaded Titanium example lends credence to the adage you pay for what you get- in this case, quite a lot, but $41 large is at the upper end of the pricing spectrum within the segment. Both of those niggles can be addressed by speccing a lower trim level with the 1.5 under the hood instead of the 2.0 turbo which should net a bit of savings at the pump with no major loss in power. Whichever direction you decide to head in, you’ll agree that Ford’s winning formula will show no signs of abatement in the crossover marketplace.
2017 Ford Escape Titanium- Specifications
- Price as tested: $41,939
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger CUV
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four, DOHC, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 245 @ 5,500 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 275 @ 3,000 rpm
- Curb weight: 1,708 kg (3,765 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 12.4L/100km (19 mpg)