The Ford Escape moniker has only been around for a short 16 years, but in that time the model has seen the changing of the times reflected in its own design, largely thanks to technological advances in Ford’s corner.
Up until the 2017 model, the third generation Escape was available with a base 2.5L naturally aspirated inline-four engine and two EcoBoost options: a 1.6L and a 2.0L. In 2017, the 1.6L was replaced by the 1.5L EcoBoost found in the test car seen here.
While some SUV/CUV owners might scoff at the idea of an engine with less than two liters of displacement, one would be foolish to discount the prowess of the Escape’s tiny EcoBoost. Admittedly I was skeptical at first, but a short drive from pick-up location to the office proved that this little engine had ample power. Having maximum torque (177 lb-ft.) at 2,500 rpm certainly lends to the peppiness of the platform.
The Ford Escape has become Ford’s second-best selling model in North America, and even the best-selling SUV / CUV in Canada in 2015 for good reason. The Sync 3 infotainment system combined with Sync Connect, offers drivers a level of creature comforts and amenities that at one time were exclusive to luxury brands, all accessible via an optional voice-command system if you so desire.
The interior is comfortable, and as a year-round CUV driver myself, it feels oddly familiar for a car so different than my own. Should you choose not to opt for the voice-command function, every control for driver comfort is easily reachable and user-friendly. The touchscreen infotainment hub is easy to navigate, and allows driver and passenger alike to view navigation and audio output information simultaneously.
Exterior aesthetics have been upgraded as well, thanks to reshaped LED taillights and a new hexagonal front grille, like the Ford Edge. The face-lift isn’t purely for looks, either. Improved aerodynamics, coupled with insulated doors and B-pillar, make for a smooth ride free of excess wind and road noise.
If I was in the market to upgrade my current CUV to a newer model, it would be foolish of me to leave the Ford Escape off my list. After spending a week with the car, it’s hard to imagine anything else in the category proving more practical, efficient, and fun all at the same time. The Escape has certainly proven to be an enticing option for any potential CUV buyer.
SPECIFICATIONS – 2017 Ford Escape SE 4WD
BASE PRICE / AS TESTED: $29,399 / $38,139 (incl. 1,690 destination)
ENGINE: 1.5L EcoBoost I4
HORSEPOWER: 179 @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE: 177 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 1,668.3 kg
CONFIGURATION: Front engine, 4-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic w/ SelectShift
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (L/100 KM – CITY / HWY / COMB.): 10.7 / 8.3 / 9.6
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM): 36 / 60,000
ALTERNATIVES: Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4
Photography by Adam Gordon