2017 Ford Escape Review

2017 Ford Escape - The 2017 Ford Escape has revised styling, two new engines and more connectivity.


Prices: $23,600-$29,100
The Ford compact Escape is the automaker's second best-selling vehicle behind its mighty F-Series pickup.

The new Escape is improved because it's up against two strong rivals--the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. They outsell it, but not by huge amounts.

The 2017 Escape has new front and rear fascias that make it look more imposing. It comes as the S, mid-range SE and top-line Titanium with front- or all-wheel drive. I tested the Titanium with front drive, which had occasional torque steer under hard acceleration.

List prices are $23,600 for the base S, $25,100 for the SE and $29,100 for the Titanium. Front-wheel-drive is standard. All-wheel drive is an extra $1,750.

The new engines are an EcoBoost turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 179 horsepower and a 2-liter EcoBoost with a twin-scroll turbo that generates 245 horsepower and costs an extra $1,295.

Carried over is a  2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 horsepower.

I recommend either of the new engines. All three work with a responsive six-speed automatic transmission, with responsive paddle shifters near the steering wheel.

Estimated fuel economy with the carryover engine and front-drive  is 21 city and 29 highways. The EcoBoost engines with front-drive deliver in the low 20s in the city and the high 20s on highways. Fuel economy is a few miles per gallon less with all-wheel drive.

The fuel-saving Auto start-stop feature is standard with either EcoBoost engine. It shuts off the engine when it senses that the Escape is sitting idle. The engine instantly starts when the brake pedal is released. I soon became used to the feature and found it to be a good one.

Getting in or out of the Escape doesn't call for much more effort than entering or leaving a car, although occupants sit higher than in an auto.

The interior is quiet, backlit gauges can be quickly read and controls are easy to use, although there is almost too much of a small and large mixture of them.

There are lots of connectivity and technology options. They include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and Sync Connect. Among other things, Sync Connect lets you lock the Escape from a distance and, when properly equipped, start the vehicle.

My test car's front seats provided good side support in curves, which could be taken in almost a sporty manner. The steering was quick and precise, if a little rubbery, and  the ride was firm, but not punishing. The brake pedal has a nice linear action.

There's a good amount of cargo space, and the hatchback has a low, wide opening for easy loading. Flipping the rear seatbacks forward greatly increases cargo space. The cabin has a decent number of storage areas.

The interior is somewhat tight, but not cramped. After all, this is an easily maneuvered compact SUV, not a big one. But a tall passenger behind a long-legged driver doesn't have much legroom to spare, and the center of the rear seat is too stiff for comfort. Thus, we've got a comfortable four-seater here, not a five-seater, as Ford claims.

Changes to the new Escape promise to keep it among the leading small SUVs. It fits nicely into today's booming small SUV and crossover markets.

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.

For more reviews from Dan, visit Facebook.