Small SUVs and crossovers are the hottest segment in America and here’s one families will want to check out. Ford gave the popular Escape crossover some updates for 2017, and we saw why families should take a look. It offers refreshed styling, sporty handling, and upgraded power.
Recently, we drove the 2017 Ford Escape SE 4WD, with the newly-modified 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
The 2017 Ford Escape gets freshened with revised front styling, some minor interior improvements, and a newly available 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The modified 2.0-liter engine makes a bit more power. There are also new available infotainment and safety features for 2017.
Features & Options
We drove the 2017 Ford Escape SE 4WD 2.0L ($26,850) that came with a new engine, nicer wheels, and a ten-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. It also came standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a keyless entry keypad, rear privacy glass, dual-zone automatic climate control, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, rear air vents, a rear center armrest, and satellite radio.
The SE Technology package ($1,395) added LED daytime running lights, roof rails, rear parking sensors, a 110-volt household-style power outlet, the upgraded Sync 3 technology interface (including an 8-inch touchscreen), a nine-speaker sound system with dual USB ports, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The SE Leather Comfort package ($1,595) added leather upholstery and heated front seats.
The EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbo engine added $1,295. Also available is a hands-free power lift gate ($495).
Total MSRP of our tester, including destination: $33,020.
The upgraded leather seats may seem like a luxury, but we can’t speak highly enough of this optional feature. The front seats are so comfy, you will think you are in your family room recliner, they are that soft. The rest of the interior is stylish and modern with a two-tone color scheme. There’s lots of soft-touch materials throughout and the quality is first rate for a non-luxury crossover.
The Escape features Ford’s Sync Connect, enabling remote access to the car’s functions via smartphone. The sound system, climate control, and other vehicle systems are easy to understand and use, unlike many new vehicle technologies.
There’s a generous amount of space inside, considering the raked roofline that can limit headroom. Rear headroom is surprisingly good, and even though Ford says the Escape is a five-seater, there’s realistically just enough space for two adults to fit comfortably. When you need extra cargo room, the seats fold flat easily with a convenient handle located on the side of the rear seat. Folded flat, there is 68 cubic feet of cargo space.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
This Escape tester came with the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, developing 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque. It comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels.
With all-wheel-drive, it gets an EPA estimated 20/27 city/highway and 23 combined.
The Escape’s new EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbo is the engine to get in our opinion. It does cost an additional $1,295, but it’s worth it if you want a little extra performance. We drove through Colorado’s high-country, and the turbo makes quick work of the thin air. It had plenty of power as we continued up I-70 into the mountains west of Denver.
The Ford EcoBoost engine comes mated to a very capable 6-speed automatic transmission that is a fine match for the turbo’s extra power range. It has smooth shifts and is programmed for a good mix of acceleration and fuel mileage. We also had paddle shifters, making it more engaging for driving enthusiasts in the family.
We thought the Escape had engaging driving dynamics and was sportier than most small crossovers on the market, except for the Mazda3. The Escape offers up crisp steering, responsive handling, and good body control in the tight mountain corners. It delivered a smooth ride on the open road and soaked up the bumps easily. The available AWD is worth it if you live in cold climates too. It sends power from the front to rear wheels, up to 100 percent in either direction, where ever the traction is needed.
The 2017 Ford Escape is a capable family hauler and has the power needed for those weekend trips into the mountains. It offers a comfortable cabin and if you get the upgraded leather, it’s an especially comfortable ride. If you want a little extra power, get the 2.0-liter EcoBoost. You won’t be sorry.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy