2016 Ford Escape Review

2016 Ford Escape - The 2016 Ford Escape compact SUV generally gets high marks and a new communications and entertainment system.


The popular Ford Escape is sleeker than the previous-generation boxlike 2013 and earlier models and is a four-door hatchback with front- or available four-wheel drive (4WD).

Ford says there's seating for five, but the center of the rear seat is too stiff for a fifth occupant. It's best to use it for the fold-down center armrest, which contains two cupholders.

The interior is quiet, with supportive front seats, and  ice-blue gauge lighting for the speedometer and tachometer needles is attractive. The digital speedometer tucked in the middle of the regular analog  speedometer is a good touch.

The step-up to slide inside calls for a little extra effort, but occupants sit high and have a good view of surroundings in the quiet, nicely done interior.

However, rear door openings are a bit narrow, and door storage areas are best suited to holding a beverage. But there's  a roomy, covered console bin and nicely placed console cupholders.

The cargo area is impressive for a small SUV, and rear seatbacks flip forward and sit flat to greatly enlarge the cargo area. An optional power hatch is handy.

Engines are a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 168 horsepower, a 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine with 178 horsepower or a 2-liter turbo
EcoBoost with 240 horsepower and the highest torque rating.

My test Escape 4WD had the 2-liter EcoBoost engine. It was smooth, responsive and relatively quiet under hard acceleration. The 0-60 m.p.h. and highway passing times were a breeze.

The Escape is agile, and steering is precise. Brakes have a nice linear pedal action. My test Escape deftly handled curves, and the ride was supple on most roads. All that made it enjoyable to drive, although some roads brought out body "bounce."

The biggest news for the 2016 Escape is Ford's new SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system that replaces the heavily criticized MyFord Touch system. Ford says the new system brings "cutting edge" technology to the Escape.

The SYNC 3 gives drivers a new interface that uses capacitive touch screen technology similar to tablets and smart phones. The new One Box Search feature, with the available navigation system, allows users to look up points of interest  or enter addresses in much the way they use an Internet search engine.

The  SYNC 3 system is an improvement and worked well during my limited use of it.

But is this what's it's come to? Must we review a vehicle's technology rather rather than the vehicle?

My 2014 Escape was too new for Ford to release the complete price range or miles per gallon figures for all versions.. But, judging by 2015 Escape data, figure on a list price range of approximately $24,000-$31,500.

Estimated fuel economy is 21/23 miles per gallon in the city and 28/32 on highways. Only 87-octane fuel is needed for all engines, although 91-plus octane is recommended for the 1.6-liter EcoBoost.

Power flows through a six-speed automatic transmission. It's smooth, but one must use an awkward toggle switch on the side of the shifter to allow manual shifting. Toggle switches would be an improvement here.

 A Ford info sheet for my test top-line Escape SE 4WD model listed  at  $27,400, but options including the 240-horsepower EcoBoost engine ($1,195), power tailgate ($495), navigation system ($795) and Chrome Package ($1,445) gave a bottom line price of $33,095, including an $895 freight charge.

The Chrome Package, offered only for the SE, has items including chrome door handles, side-mirror "skullcaps, roof rails, leather-accented seats and 19-inch wheels--up from from the Escape's standard 17-inch wheels.

Standard SE equipment includes air conditioning, power driver's seat, tilt wheel with cruise and audio controls, AM/FM/CD with MP3, power locks,  windows and mirrors, halogen headlights, remote keyless entry, rearview camera and a 60/40 split rear seat.

Safety items include a reverse sensing system and perimeter alarm, which I found helpful in tight parking spaces. Air bags include one for the driver's knee.

The Escape naturally gets a sales boost because it's in the hot small SUV/crossover market, but it must continue to be above-average to match or beat its competition

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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