By Bob Nagy
KBB Expert Rating: 8.3
Strategically updated for 2017, the Ford Escape becomes an even more attractive alternative in the popular compact-SUV segment that includes the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and Toyota RAV4. Tasteful but effective exterior restyling enhances the Escape’s curb appeal while a comprehensive remake of its roomy, comfortable 5-passenger cabin elevates both visual sophistication and user-friendliness. Available in S/SE/Titanium trims and front- or all-wheel drive, the 2017 Escape also introduces a host of advanced tech touches including Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system with Sync Connect along with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This versatile Ford offers three engines -- including two new, more powerful and more efficient EcoBoost 4-cylinders -- that help the Escape retain its best-in-class tow ratings.
Buyers in the market for a stylish compact SUV that’s roomy, comfortable and capable with state-of-the-art infotainment features and class-leading tow ratings will find an ideal travel mate in the 2017 Escape.
Save for personal styling preferences, there’s not a great deal to ding in this latest iteration of the Escape. The Mazda CX-5 has more sporting character and the Honda CR-V offers marginally more cargo space, but Ford’s highly adaptable hauler makes an impressive case for itself on every functional front.
KBB Expert Ratings
Ford’s most popular SUV model has received a comprehensive mid-cycle update for 2017. More sophisticated exterior styling is complemented by a major interior redesign that introduces its latest Sync 3 infotainment package. New EcoBoost engine choices and a full complement of active driver-assist systems round out the roster of changes.
Ford’s latest Escape continues to be an attractive choice for the subcompact-crossover-SUV set, thanks to its driver-accommodating cabin rework and a well-sorted suspension that serves up a commendable mix of...
... comfort and confidence. While not as overtly sporty as the Mazda CX-5, body roll in the twisties is fairly well controlled, abetted by the Escape’s standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control. A high nose, prominent A-pillars and relatively large turning circle do impact its abilities in super-tight confines but have little effect on busy city streets or freeways where new available features like Lane-Keeping Assist/Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Warning with brake support complement existing Blind Spot Information and Hill Start Assist systems. Both new EcoBoost engines smoothly and swiftly serve up impressive power, while the Escape’s optional Intelligent 4-Wheel Drive on-demand system seamlessly but efficiently adds more capability on slick road surfaces or when the pavement ends.
SYNC 3 INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
Standard on Titanium and available on SE, the 2017 Escape debuts the most sophisticated form of Ford’s Sync 3 system to date. It now includes support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay while offering a new Sync Connect feature that lets owners remotely control various vehicle functions using their smartphone.
ADVANCED DRIVER ASSIST SYSTEMS
Ford has materially elevated the Escape’s selection of available driver assists for 2017 by making Lane Keeping Alert/Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with brake support, Automatic High Beams and Enhanced Active Park Assist new options on the top-line Titanium model.
The 2017 Escape benefits from a wide-ranging remake that imparts a new level of visual and functional sophistication. Virtually every touch surface has been revised to create a more premium look and feel. The Escape’s new electronic parking brake and repositioned shift lever ease access to the climate controls and new center-stack media bin with USB port and 12V power point. Other key revamps include a more user-friendly multifunction steering wheel, re-contoured front buckets, a larger center armrest and bigger covered console bin. Dropping the 60/40 fold-flat rear seat doubles the usable storage area from 34.0 to 68.0 cubic feet.
While its basic bodywork is unchanged, the Escape gains more visual refinement for 2017 thanks to a well-focused facelift and tail tweak. The recast nose boasts an edgier character defined by a new soft cap, more prominent hexagonal grille – which conceals active shutters on any Escape with an EcoBoost engine -- sleeker LED-infused headlights and larger outboard air intakes along with a redrawn aluminum hood. The rear redesign nets a new tailgate stamping, reshaped LED lights and more tasteful detailing. There’s also a new Sport Appearance Package that brings blackout trim accents, halogen headlights and 19-inch Ebony Black alloy wheels.
Ford has upped the Escape’s features roster across the board for 2017. The entry S model offers a full complement of power assists, tilt/telescoping steering column, keyless entry, a rearview camera and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Torque Vectoring Control, while the SE ups that ante with dual-zone climate control, steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles, a power driver’s seat and alloy wheels. The top-line Titanium model upgrades from cloth trim to full leather and gets dual power front seats, a 10-speaker Sony premium audio system, Sync 3 with Sync Connect, push-button/remote start, a 110-volt rear power outlet and hands-free power liftgate.
While the extras roster on an Escape S is limited to things like remote start and alloy wheels, SE buyers can add leather, a hands-free power liftgate, Cold Weather/Technology/Sport Appearance packages, the latter -- along with a Towing Package and Glass Panoramic Vista Roof -- also can be fitted to the Titanium. The top-line Escape also brings its own Technology group that includes bi-xenon HID headlights as well as the Escape’s full suite of new advanced driver-assist systems: Lane Keeping Alert/Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with brake support, Automatic High Beams and Enhanced Active Park Assist.
The Escape offers three engine choices for 2017, each backed by a 6-speed SelectShift automatic. Sole carryover is the 168-horsepower 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that’s confined to the front-drive-only Escape S. Whether FWD or AWD, the SE and Titanium can be had with two new smooth, responsive and more powerful 4-cylinder EcoBoost alternatives, both fitted with efficiency-enhancing start/stop systems. The standard force-fed 1.5-liter makes 179 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, sufficient to up the tow rating from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, while the optional 2.0-liter cranks out 245 ponies and 275 lb-ft of torque and ups trailering capacity to a class-leading 3,500 pounds.
168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (FWD)
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
179 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD), 22/28 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
245 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (AWD)
Ford has adopted a more aggressive pricing policy for the 2017 Escape to make it even more competitive in a segment that now accounts for 17 percent of all new-vehicle sales in America. While the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the low-volume Escape S has risen by $500 and now opens under $24,000, the high-volume SE and range-topping Titanium variants have been trimmed by $200 and $405, respectively, to just under $26,000 and $30,000. Upgrades like the 2.0-liter engine, AWD, panoramic glass roof and Tech Package can bring those numbers to just under $35,000 and $37,000. KBB has not yet released a 5-Year Cost to Own figure for the 2017 Escape, but historically, the Escape’s residual value percentages have been average and well below the class-leading Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. To see what others in your area are paying for their new Ford Escape, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price.